A Guide to Santa Monica’s Hotel Bars

Posted July 19, 2019

Hotels aren’t just places for guests to rest their heads for the night. These temporary quarters can also provide culinary highlights, wondrous views (at least in Santa Monica) and endless excuses to socialize with families, friends and even that special someone. Learn about some spots to enjoy multi-faceted experiences, centering on lively hotel bars. By Joshua Lurie

Sandbourne Santa Monica’s Lobby Bar

Sandbourne Santa Monica’s Lobby Bar is the epitome of sophistication, offering handcrafted cocktails, a curated selection of wines and delectable small bites. Nestled within their elegant lobby, this refined space invites you to unwind and indulge in artisinal beverages and culinary delights.

Longitude Bar + Bistro

Longitude Bar + Bistro resides within Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica, across from Santa Monica High School and uphill from the beach. The large lobby contains chandeliers that resemble grapes in gauzy globes, a grey bar with swiveling stools and flat screen TVs for watching sports and a sunny corner library. Longitude also provides pool service to hotel guests. Notable “petit plates” include crispy calamari steak strips served with Meyer lemon thyme aioli and creamy chicken croquettes plated on jalapeño-lime aioli. People playing for keeps will appreciate the sizable braised short rib plate and Longitude’s indulgent banana croissant pudding. Happy hour runs daily from 3 – 6 pm and features six plates for $7 apiece. Chicken pesto flatbread and beef sliders with cheddar and mustard aioli stand out. To drink, Longitude pours 16 wines by the glass, craft cocktails and a fairly robust craft beer program that features local LA breweries like Three Weavers and Smog City. No matter what, guests receive complimentary, sinus-clearing wasabi peas.

Charcuterie board and cocktail from Longitude Bar + Bistro

The Coco Club

The Coco Club resides atop Sonder The Beacon Hotel, a white edifice with ship-shaped curves. The Coco Club is a great place to catch the sunset or Pacific view with friends or to enjoy an after-hours date.


Proper Hotel’s hotly anticipated Santa Monica outpost started hosting guests in June. Their fashionable Palma lobby lounge is a curved space featuring earth-hued couches, potted palm trees, an intimate library and wood arches that frame a full bar. Seating is almost entirely low-slung or communal, best suited toward business meetings or a light snack. Palma’s all-day menu includes a tuna poké bowl with hearts of palm kimchi, a “proper” chopped salad and a signature cheeseburger starring grass-fed beef. Crispy grilled King salmon co-hosts market vegetables and coconut green curry jasmine rice folded with sprouted lentils. Palma divides specialty cocktails into two categories: refreshing and aromatic. Drinks include the Cherry Red Bicicleta, a blend of Avuá Amburana Cachaça with Bertroux Brandy, cherry, lemon and coconut. Too many Bicicletas may lead to a Broken Limb, another cocktail, not the malady. Palma also pours 14 wines by the glass, though bottles may make more sense in such a lounge-worthy setting. Perhaps a bracing txakolina from Antxiola, Spain?

Crispy grilled King salmon with market vegetables and coconut green curry jasmine rice folded with sprouted lentils from Palma

The Penthouse

Hotels typically dedicate penthouses to high rollers, but The Huntley Hotel devoted their prized 18th floor to The Penthouse, a restaurant, bar and lounge that overlooks the beach, pier and Santa Monica Mountains. Even restrooms have beach views! The sun-soaked space contains a round bar with copper accents. Booths and tables line the north and south windows, partitioned with translucent curtains. A lounge area teams tan cushioned banquettes and marble hexagon tiles. The Penthouse is a great choice for a sunset drink and small bites or a light dinner date, particularly during happy hour. From 5 – 7 pm, they offer a sizable selection of appetizers and cocktails for $8. They also offer 36 wines by the glass. To eat, Ora King salmon crudo co-stars black garlic shoyu, tart green apple, crispy skin “chips,” salmon roe, an avocado swoosh and crispy quinoa. A heaping pile of fried calamari sports light, lacy batter and comes with spicy tomato jam (basically marinara). They also serve comfort food classics with signature tweaks like avocado toast and cheeseburger sliders. Ryan Magarian, a Portland bar star, crafted a menu that balances “signatures that have stood the test of time” like his watermelon cucumber mojito with seasonal cocktails like the hibiscus spritz.

Ora King salmon crudo with crispy skin chips from The Penthouse

Hotel Restaurants To Note

While we’re on the topic of  tasty things to find in a hotel we can’t help but mention some hotel restaurants. With top-rated restaurants and farm-fresh local chains, Santa Monica’s diverse restaurant scene makes it one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. Plus, many of the city’s most coveted restaurants lie within the grounds of its top hotels, meaning you don’t have to venture far for a memorable meal. From quality beachside dining to sunset cocktails with sky-high views to exclusive breakfast buffets with ocean vistas, there are some delicious in-hotel restaurants not to miss.

If you’re looking for something on the beach, 1 Pico at Shutters on the Beach offers a stunning location along with a seasonal, market-driven menu and impressive Californian wine list. Feast on the seasonal heritage-inspired menu of fresh California produce at FIG Restaurant – the light-filled bistro at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. Or, try out their daily happy hour, FIG at Five, for half off all items. This serene and inviting eatery will help you indulge your taste buds with some of SoCal’s best seafood.


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