The Edison’s legend extends far beyond its Los Angeles address. Standing at the forefront of the classic cocktail/mixology resurgence, the bar is proving nightly that classic cocktails can be produced quickly while still retaining refined taste and presentation. The venue serves an average of 1,200 covers a night on Thursdays and Fridays, and it was with the masses in mind that Aidan Demarest, director of beverages and spirits, developed a 35-cent Depression-era cocktail happy hour on Thursday nights and a soup kitchen happy hour on Fridays.
“In 1908 when the building originally opened, the drinks were 35 cents,” explains resident mixologist Marcos Tello (pictured). “On Thursdays from 5 - 7 p.m., we have 40 percent off all spirits. We have a featured sponsor each week, and we pick a classic cocktail or our variation on a classic that runs at 35 cents. Originally you could order that drink in small portions for 35 cents, but it got way too rowdy, and people were ordering 20 at a time. So now we hand everyone who comes in a token, and that token gets you one of the featured drinks for 35 cents.”
On Friday nights from 5 - 7, Soup Kitchen attendees get two tokens. One is for a free sample of mini grilled cheese and tomato soup and the other is for a choice between the 401K cocktail (a Gin Daisy) or a Bailout (a Ward 8).
“We have been doing the Thursday nights for over a year and Friday has been at least eight months, and both nights are packed,” Tello says.
While word of mouth has been the biggest marketing tool for the promotion, fans can join a mailing list on The Edison’s web site. Weekly newsletters are sent out to participating patrons, letting them know what’s going on for the week.
Part of the proceeds from each happy hour event go to the Midnight Mission, which provides service to homeless people in Los Angeles, and the downtown community.