DISCOVER THE BEST BARS IN SANTA MONICA
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.
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.
UPSCALE SANTA MONICA LOUNGES
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.
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 Wednesday through Sunday, this shindig includes discounts on cocktails, sangria, mimosas, wine, and beer.
Located on Montana Ave, Forma, a restaurant and cheese bar, offers special daily at the bar.
Housed inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Fig Restaurant offers a weekly happy hour alongside it's seasonal and locally-sourced ingredient driven menu.
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.
The Daily Pint
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.
TR!P Santa Monica
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.
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
Bodega Wine Bar
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.
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
ONYX, the rooftop bar perched atop the Hotel Shangri-La, is an iconic rooftop bar in Santa Monica known for its carefully curated menu of small plates and exquisite drinks. The views at this open-air bar experience can’t be missed, and neither can the DJ sets every Saturday from 8pm until midnight!
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.
Elephante Beach House
When it comes to rooftop bars, few do it better than the buzzing Elephante Beach House, with a vibrant nightlife scene, unique cocktails, custom furniture and unbeatable atmosphere.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
Tourists can use our public transportation guide to learn about bus, bike and walking options in Santa Monica after enjoying Santa Monica’s nightlife.