A Guide To Santa Monica Bars

With everything from dive bars to upscale lounges and live music venues, Santa Monica’s nightlife scene has something for every kind of nightlife-goer. Unlike other parts of Los Angeles nightlife, where table service and being on a club promoter’s list determines where you’re going and when you’re getting in, Santa Monica’s nightlife scene is much more relaxed, both in atmosphere and expectations for dress. The dress code, in general, is much more casual (it’s the beach!), and getting in depends less on who you know and more on what time you arrive.

Discover the Best Bars in Santa Monica

For a list of all after-hours nightlife activities available in Santa Monica, search our Santa Monica nightlife listings. Turn a night out into an extended stay with a list of Santa Monica hotels and restaurants.

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Upscale Santa Monica Lounges

The Bungalow

Stepping into The Bungalow at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel is like stepping into the coolest California house party you’ve ever seen. From the cozy décor to the ping pong tables and readily available board games, it’s easy to feel comfortable here. Stop in early to avoid a long line (before 8pm), grab a Bungalow Margarita or Lychee Gimlet and let the night unfold in front of you. The crowd here is young and very trendy.

The Penthouse

For unparalleled views of the Pacific, a staple in Santa Monica is The Penthouse, located at the top of the upscale Huntley Santa Monica Beach. Enjoy California cuisine alongside signature craft cocktails in one of their swanky restaurant cabanas all while you soak in the 360-degree views of the city, beach and Pacific Ocean.

Can’t-Miss Happy Hours

There are a number of great happy hours around the city.

The Misfit Restaurant & Bar

Regularly voted one of the best West Side happy hours by publications in Los Angeles, The Misfit Restaurant & Bar’s Happy Hour is hard to beat. Running every day, this shindig includes discounts on cocktails, sangria, mimosas, wine, and beer.

FIG Restaurant

Housed inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Fig Restaurant offers a weekly happy hour alongside it’s seasonal and locally-sourced ingredient driven menu.

The Victorian

Known for its nightlife on the weekend, see The Victorian during the week for a happy hour covering an extensive wine offering, plus handcrafted cocktails and delicious bites.

Santa Monica Brew Works

Santa Monica’s first and only brewery, Santa Monica Brew Works crafts California-inspired beers brewed right onsite, including multiple vegan options! Grab a bite from Emmy Squared and brush shoulders with the locals on their outdoor patio. Well-behaved pets are allowed in their outdoor seating area and families can enjoy the brewery with children until 8 pm.

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Santa Monica Dive Bars

When you mention dive bars in Santa Monica, Chez Jay is inevitably going to come up in conversation. Known as the “celebrity dive,” Chez Jay has been serving Santa Monica nightlife for more than 50 years. Grab a seat at the bar and rub elbows with locals while enjoying a glass of wine or pint of beer. Chez Jay also has a happy hour, running from 4-6 pm Tuesday – Friday, with specials on wine and a few food items.

Consider The Daily Pint for another Santa Monica nightlife go-to dive bar. With pool tables, shuffleboard, darts, plenty of big screen televisions, and a hefty selection of draft beers and whiskey, it’s a great place to crack open a beer and have a great time. Whether it’s to watch a big game or just unwind after a long day of sightseeing, this offbeat Santa Monica bar on Pico Boulevard near the 10 Freeway is a low-key hideaway. They even have a craft beer and whiskey club with specials and discounts for the true connoisseur.

Santa Monica Live Music Bars

Several restaurants and bars offer live music and DJ’s throughout the week.

TRiP Santa Monica offers something unique every night of the week, from live music to open mic nights, and burlesque shows to trivia, there’s something for everyone! No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find a live performance 7 days a week, as well as dancing, art, 16 beers on tap, and craft beers from around the world.

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Santa Monica Dance Clubs

Harvelle’s Blues Club

Harvelle’s Blues Club, the oldest live music venue on the West Side, is a small, dimly-lit venue hosting live music and dancing nightly. Check the club’s calendar online before you go; with blues, jazz, rock, funk, and burlesque on the agenda, there’s something different every night.

The Room Santa Monica

The Room Santa Monica is where locals head for a night out dancing. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in here, the crowd is a mix of people and they’re all there to dance the night away with friends.

Santa Monica Wine Bars

For a more romantic take on Santa Monica nightlife and fit for a special date night, Bodega Wine Bar is one of those places where you can enjoy a nice glass of wine and have a conversation without yelling. The lounge stays open late every day, and offers a simple menu of small bites and pizzas (including a gluten-free option) that are perfect for sharing, and a happy hour every day from 5-7pm.

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Esters Wine Shop & Bar

Shop, sip, and nibble at Esters Wine Shop & Bar, a local favorite housed in a beautiful 1937 Art Deco building. Eats range from snacks and charcuterie to a full menu after 4pm.

Rooftop Bars In Santa Monica

Discover The Coco Club, a newly renovated haven atop the Beacon Hotel, seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor allure. Whether indulging in artisanal delights on the terrace or basking in the intimate opulence of the lounge, guests are treated to breathtaking sunset views, available from both inside and out. Experience the epitome of sophistication against the backdrop of Santa Monica’s skyline at The Coco Club.

The Calabra rooftop bar and restaurant is located at the top of the Santa Monica Proper Hotel. It features a Mediterranean and California cuisine menu and a circular bar, complete with a sundeck and an indoor lounge. If you need a late-night snack, dinner is served until midnight on Fridays & Saturdays.

Élephante Beach House

When it comes to rooftop bars, few do it better than the buzzing Élephante Beach House, with a vibrant nightlife scene, unique cocktails, custom furniture and unbeatable atmosphere.


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