For Great Bars In Santa Monica, Try These 8 Locations
Santa Monica is a very upscale and welcoming area of Los Angeles. Here is a selection of some of the top bars in Santa Monica where you can chill out in this friendly beach town.
Santa Monica is a great place to visit. The huge attraction is the amazing beach, with it's white sandy beach, vibrant pier, and endless ocean. It is also a wonderful place to relax for a while and enjoy a drink or two in one of the many bars in town. There is something here for everyone. From small dive bars, to gastropubs, to British pubs, and stylish places where the beautiful people go to enjoy a cocktail. Here is our selection of some of the very best bars that Santa Monica has to offer.
The Library Alehouse
The Library Alehouse has been welcoming happy customers in Santa Monica for over 20 years. This ecologically conscious alehouse serves great craft beer and wine. The interior has a large bar, and there is also a comfortable outdoor seating area. The indoor bar has a beautiful cherry wood interior. The outdoor area has a retractable canopy, just in case the sun ever stops shining in Santa Monica.
This is a very popular place which has a welcoming and lively atmosphere, particularly on Friday and Saturday night.
If you enjoy craft beer, you will love The Library Alehouse. They take their beer very seriously here, and even have a Certified Cicerone Specialist. This is a nationally recognized certification for those who want to provide a high quality of service to customers who enjoy beer. They have a huge variety of crafts beers. If you want to sample different types you can order a beer flight, and sample eight different types.
They have a Happy Hour, but amusingly call it Study Break and Afternoon Recess. Study Break is every Monday to Friday from 3 pm. until 6 pm. Afternoon Recess is from 4 pm. until 6 pm. on Saturday and Sunday. Select wine and beer have $3 discount during these times. If you want a light bite during this time choices include Nachos for $4.50, Calamari for $6, Beer Braised Mussels for $7, and Mango Goat Cheese Quesadilla For $4.50. If you want something a little more substantial you could try Ahi Tartare for $14.95, Sweet and Spicy Wings for $10.95, Pulled Pork Sandwich for $12.95, or the All American Burger for $14.95.
They serve a good selection for Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am. until 4 pm. Choices include Alehouse Eggs Benedict for $12.95, Caprese Omelet For $11.95, Sourdough French Toast for $11.95, and Alehouse Pancakes for $8.95.
The dinner menu also has typical American style bar food. The Alehouse Burger is $14.95, Creamy Mushroom Risotto is $13.95, and the Cali Burger is $13.95. Desserts include Bread Pudding for $8, or Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is also $8.
If you want something a little different for dessert you should try the Salted Chocolate Gourmet Beer Cupcake for $5. This is a chocolate cupcake which is infused with Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter. The topping is chocolate ganache, milk chocolate buttercream frosting, and Hepp’s applewood smoked salt.
The Library Alehouse
2911 Main St
Phone number (310) 314-4855
There probably aren't too many bars in the country which pay homage to a poet, but that is exactly what Barkowski Bar in Santa Monica does. The bar is named after Charles Bukowski who was a German born poet and novelist, who settled in Los Angeles. He loved his adopted city of Los Angeles, and wrote about the lives of working Americans. He was a very colorful character, known for his talent, and his drinking. Some even say that the character of Hank Moody in Californication was based upon Barkowski. Whatever the inspiration behind the name of the bar, Barkowski is a very popular place for Santa Monica locals.
Some would say that Barkowski in Santa Monica is best described as a dive bar. Whatever description you want to give, it is a place where people enjoy gathering to meet with friends and have a good evening. The interior is dark, but welcoming. The bar is large, and there are plenty of red leather chairs to sit in, relax and enjoy a beer. The walls of the bar are decorated with numerous pictures of Barkowski.
Unlike many dive bars, Barkowski is very clean. The bar staff are friendly and professional. If you enjoy pool there are a couple of tables to play on here. They even have a dart board. The atmosphere is friendly, and not too loud. You can actually enjoy a conversation with friends in the bar.
They serve a large selection of beers, wine and cocktails. They also serve food, with a menu which changes often.
2819 Pico Blvd
Phone number (310) 998-0069
Barkowski, A 1960's retro themed bar paying homage to Charles Bukowski
The Daily Pint
The Daily Pint is a well established bar in Santa Monica, having been part of the local scene on Pico Boulevard for more than 25 years. This very popular dive bar is known not only for it's great beer selection, but also the very extensive choice of whiskey which it offers. It is very rare to see such a huge choice of whiskey in any bar in the country.
They have a huge variety of beers available including 33 on tap and three cask beers. If that isn't enough choice you can also make your way through their collection of over 100 bottle beers. Beers on tap include Ballast Point Navigator Doppelbock, Boddingtons Pub Ale, Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale, New Belgium Hop Kitchen Hop Stout, Speakeasy Payback Porter, and New English Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout. The very large selection of bottled beers includes Bitburger Premium Pils, Chimay Cinq Cents Tripel (White), Einstock Icelandic White Ale, Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale, and Modern Times Fruitlands Cherry Gose.
This really is a whiskey lovers paradise. They have more than 400 choices of whiskey. Each month they have a whiskey tasting with a different distillery presenting their creations, and talking about how they are made.
They have whiskey from all over the world including Australia, France, India, Ireland, Canada, Japan, and Scotland. American choices include Black Maple Hill Premium Small Batch, George T Stagg Barrel Proof, William Larue Weller Barrel Proof Bourbon, and Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey. If you want to try something that you may never have experienced before you could go for Amrut Fusion from India. Australia is better known for it's beer and wine than it's whiskey, but The Daily Pint has a couple of interesting offerings. Sullivans Cove Small Batch Dbl Cask Malt is worth a try.
As you would expect, the Scottish Whiskey collection is very extensive. Choices include Balvenie Founders Reserve 10yr, Macallan Cask Strength (Red Label), Old Malt Cask Macallan 13yr, The Exclusive Cask Glen Grant 20yr 1992, Tomintoul Stillmans Dram 33yr, and Charles Mackinlay Rare Old Highland Blend.
If you like watching the game in a bar, The Daily Pint has you more than covered. They have seven television screens as well as a twelve foot large projector screen. If you want to play pool they have a couple of tables available.
The Daily Pint doesn't serve food. If you find yourself in need of something to eat, you could check out one of the excellent food trucks which set up nearby.
The Daily Pint
2310 Pico Blvd
Phone number (310) 450-7631
If you are visiting Santa Monica, you really must experience Chez Jay. They are proud to be known as a dive bar, and have been serving customers here since 1959. Really it probably isn't your usual picture of a dive bar, but it is most definitely worth a visit.
The founder of this Santa Barbara favorite, Jay Fiondella, bought the original bar premises for just $1. It soon became a favorite of Hollywood's most famous, and gained a reputation as one of the best bars in town. The opening was certainly an entertaining event. Jay Fiondella knew how to put on a show, and brought an elephant and show girls to the opening celebration. The elephant hit the bar with it's trunk and left a large dent!
They have certainly had some very famous people hanging out here. Back in 1960's Chez Jay was a favorite bar for the Rat Pack, including Dean Martin and Peter Lawford. Famous patrons have also included the very glamorous couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum, Marlon Brando, and Natalie Wood.
Even the Chez Jay free peanuts are well known. You are encouraged to throw the shells on the floor, and one of these famous peanuts even flew to the moon with astronaut Alan Shepherd.
This place is so famous and beloved it was declared a Santa Monica Landmark in 2012. This is the place to be if you want to experience a part of Santa Monica history.
The location really can't be topped either. It is steps from Santa Monica Pier. It is very small and only has ten tables, and a few seats at the bar. You are welcome to just have drinks, or you can order from the food menu.
The interior may be small, but it is also a lot of fun. The peanut shells on the floor are just one part of it's charm. It has red and white checkered table cloths to add to the casual charm and atmosphere. There is also a nice patio where you can enjoy a drink and some food outside in the Santa Monica sunshine. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The breakfast menu is only served on weekends from 9 am to noon. Choices include Jay's Benedict for $13.95, Steak and Eggs for $16.95, Breakfast Burrito for $9.25, and Baked Banana French Toast for $10.25.
The Chez Jay dinner menu has a good choice of American favorites. Appetizers include Scampi with Fresh Garlic and Shallots for $14.25, Shrimp or Crab Cocktail for $14.25, Caesar Salad with Chicken for $10.75 and Scampi with Fresh Garlic and Shallots for $14.25. If you enjoy steak and seafood you will certainly like the entree choices. These include Bone-In Chicken Marsala for $23.25, Herb’s Shrimp Curry with Onions, and Peppers for $23.25, Top Sirloin and Shrimp Combo for $25, and Angus Steak au Poivre, Comme Chez Maims for $27.50.
There is a small desert menu with three choices, each of which are $6.25. Which will you try? Cheesecake Chez Jay, Sticky Toffee Pudding, or Chocolate Chip Cake?
1657 Ocean Ave
Phone number (310) 395-1741
The Bungalow is just about as far removed from the dive bar concept as you can get! It is much more of a lounge than a bar. This sophisticated place, overlooking Santa Monica Beach, is very upscale. The Bungalow is part of the very luxurious Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
The concept is that visitors should feel like a guest in a house party by the ocean. The crowd tends to be a younger one with most guests being in their 20s and 30s. This is very much the place to see, and be seen in Santa Monica.
There are a number of different spaces in The Bungalow. The Study is a large room which can seat up to 50 guests. The State Room is smaller, and is sometimes used as a private dining room. The State Room leads out to the secret garden. The main bar is beautifully decorated and has solid oak floors, cathedral ceilings, and a wood burning stove. A very popular space is the patio. The wooden deck has upscale patio furniture arranged into small dining spaces. It is a very upscale, luxurious place to enjoy a drink and some food with friends. If you can time your evening here to include a sunset, it is a beautiful sight.
To say that The Bungalow is a busy place is an understatement! On the weekends the wait can be up to a couple of hours. Many think that it is worth it to visit one of the premier lounge bars in Santa Monica. Only you can decide if you are one of those people!
101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone number (310) 899-8530
Bodega Wine Bar
Bodega Wine Bar is the place to go if you are looking for a sophisticated but friendly place to enjoy a glass of wine with friends. The concept which the owners had was to create a place where it felt like enjoying drinking wine with some friends in your own home. No need to understand wine. Just enjoy a good glass of Chardonnay, Merlot or Carbernet, without having to know anything about the vineyard or the vintage.
The Wine Menu is divided into Light, Medium and Full. All wines are available by either the glass, carafe, or the bottle. If you want a light white wine they suggest the Pinot Grigio from Castellani in Italy. This is available for $7 for a glass, $19 for a carafe and $25 for a bottle. If you prefer a full bodied red they have Hearst Ranch Chardonnay for $11 for a glass, $29 for a carafe, and $39 for a bottle.
Sparkling Wine is available by the bottle or the glass. Choices include Prosecco from Valdo in Italy for $9 for a glass and $32 for a bottle, Cava from Spain for $9 for a glass or $32 for a bottle, or Champagne from France for $18 per glass or $54 for a bottle.
If wine is not your first choice, they also have Sake and Beer on the menu. Saki starts at $15 for a bottle. Beers include Chimay Grand Reserve for $10, Lindemans Framboise for $9, Guiness for $9, and Black Butte Porter for $6.
They have a good selection of food at reasonable prices on their menu. This is Santa Monica so there have to be Brussels Sprouts included! The Roasted Brussels Sprouts are available for $9. The Three Cheese Plate is $13, and of course is particularly tempting with a good glass of wine. The Fig Challah and Brie Grilled Cheese is $11, the Artichoke Tapenade and Tomato Bruchetta is available for $9, and the BBQ Slow Braised Beef Sliders are $10.
There are a number of different pizzas on the menu, and all are available with a gluten free base for an additional $1. The Margherita is $9, and the Garden, which has artichoke hearts, mushrooms, red onion, and mozzarella is $10. If you want something a little more unusual you could try the Brie and Apple for $12, or the Everything's Better With Bacon for $10.
If you have room for dessert you have a choice between either the Brownie Sundae or the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. Each are available for $8.
Bodega Wine Bar has some great offers for Happy Hour. It runs Monday to Friday from 5 pm. until 7 pm. and 10 pm until close Sunday to Thursday. They have a selection of $6 wine, $4 beers, $6 soju, $6 appetizers, and $8 pizzas. They also have some nightly specials including Happy Monday where they have Happy Hour prices all night. Taco Tuesday has $2 tacos and half price beer. The Andrew Jackson Wednesday is great for wine lovers as they have a special where all bottles of red or white are just $20.
Bodega Wine Bar
Phone number (310) 394-3504
The Brixton is an excellent gastropub which is well worth checking out if you are in Santa Monica. The decor is very modern, and upscale.
They have a large selection of wine and beer. Wine is available by the glass or the bottle. Prices for a glass range from $8 to $14. OneHope Bottled Wine is featured by The Brixton. Prices are reasonable with Merlot for $31, Zinfandel for $34 and Chardonnay for $32. Draft and Bottled Beer is available. Choices include Coronado Wit for $7, San Adams Seasonal for $6, Crazy Mountain Red for $6, and Petrus Aged Ale for $10.
If you want a cocktail why not try The Perry which is a delicious mix of Beefeater Gin, Vrosemary, Lemon, Strawberry and Serano Pepper. The Manhattan Mule is another great choice with Buffalo Trace, Carpano Antica, Ginger Beer and Lime. These cocktails are both available for $10 per glass.
The menu consists of small plates, so the concept is that you can easily have a variety of food. Choces include Short Rib Melt for $11, Fried Chicken and Biscuit for $11, Duck Confrit Fritters $11, Flank Steak $16, Romesco and Goat Cheese Dip for $9, and Grilled Veggie Salad for $13. Desserts include Rocky Road for $7, Tiramisu Mountain for $7, and Apple and Currant Bread Pudding for $8.
2827 Pico Blvd
Phone number (310) 449-4567
Cock ‘n Bull
The Cock ‘n Bull is as close as you can get to a traditional British Pub in Santa Monica. There are many pubs which claim to be like the ones in Britain, but few are actually as accurate as this one. It takes more than a Guiness and some fish and chips to be authentic, and the Cock 'n Bull gets our vote as one which actually does remind us of the ones back in our English home.
They have a good selection of beers, most of which you would easily find in a British Pub in the UK. These include Bass Ale, Boddingtons, Karlsberg, Guinness, Kronenberg, Newcastle Brown Ale, Stella Artois and Strongbow Cider. These selections are definitely British favorites.
They have a small selection of wine available by the glass and by the bottle. It is $6.50 for the glass, and $25 for a bottle. They also have some cocktails including Cinco Smash for $9 which is a mix of Cinco vodka, grapefruit and lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters.
The Happy Hour prices are very attractive at $3 for bottle domestic beer, imported draft beer is $4, and well drinks are $4.
This is the place to go if you enjoy a good old traditional British Breakfast. It is very important for authenticity that they have real Heinz Baked Beans, and they do here! There are various choices available. The British Breakfast is English sausage, Irish bacon, Heinz baked beans, grilled tomatoes, two fried eggs, and toast with butter. This is available for $8.75.
If you have a larger appetite you will enjoy the King Size Breakfast for $10.75. This includes English sausage, Irish bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, Heinz baked beans, tomatoes, two fried eggs and toast. If you have to ask what black pudding is you probably need to avoid it!
The lunch and dinner menu has all the usual British pub favorites. Fish and chips is the classic British dish. Tasty fish is fried in Guinness batter and served with tartar sauce. A half order is $9.75 and a full order is $12.75. This isn't quite authentic enough for us (but we are very picky about this kind of thing) as it doesn't have the option of being served with either garden peas or mushy peas, but we know we are being rather choosy.
Great Britain is also famous for great pies. The Cock 'n Bull has a good selection including a traditional Steak and Kidney, Beef and Mushroom, Curried Vegetable, and Beef and Mushroom. You can also choose the Guinness Pie which has steak, mushrooms, sausage and onions which are cooked in red wine and Guinness. All pies are priced at $10.50, and are served with fries and vegetables. The fries are English style chunky chips, which is just as it should be!
Another very traditional British dish is the Mixed Grill. This is a lamb chop and a pork chop, with English sausage, grilled tomatoes. This is topped with a fried egg and is available for $13.50.
Indian food is very popular in England, so there is a Chicken Curry served with rice for $10.50. If you like sausages you will enjoy a traditional Bangers and Mash. This is English sausages served with mashed potatoes, gravy and grilled onions for $11.25.
If you are there on a Sunday you can order a traditional Roast Dinner for $12.75. This includes either roast beef or lamb, served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, peas, carrots, turnips and topped with gravy. It is served with traditional mint sauce and English mustard for $12.75. A children's portion is available for $8.
The menu is a little short on dessert options, and offers only Apple or Rhubarb Crumble. This is served with Bird's Custard. You really have to try it! Each dessert is $5.50.
Cock ‘n Bull
2947 Lincoln Blvd
Phone number (310) 399-9696
British food and beers, European football and EPL shown live. Live entertainment. Happy hour 4 - 7 Monday to Friday.
Santa Monica, CA December 2010 4:05 pm
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