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From Happy Hours to Club Culture - Nightlife in Santa Monica

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Santa Monica may sleep earlier than its Hollywood neighbor, but it still parties after sundown. Happy hours are found in nearly every corner of the city, from beachfront cafés and swanky wine bars, to neighborhood taverns and upscale lounges. Those with stamina can enjoy live music joints and dance clubs pumping into the wee hours.

Happy hours


An early evening wander along downtown's Third Street Promenade rewards with discounted glasses of wine, beer, and cocktails, along with snacks like fish tacos and wings. Enjoy a tropical drink paired with the setting sun at an oceanfront café, a craft microbrew at an old-school bar, or sangria at a ritzy restaurant.


The Misfit Restaurant + Bar


If you fancy hanging with gastropub-loving hipsters, saunter into this clock tower building dating to the 1920s, decorated with retro-chic flair.


225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 90401Tel: +1 310 656 9800


The Misfit Restaurant + Bar website




Named after author Charles Bukowski, the 1960s-style bar has a vibe that's at once cozy, dark, and a little loungy.


2819 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica 90405. Tel: +1 310 998 0069


Barkowski website

Main Street scene


While Third Street dominates the happy hour arena, Main Street claims the nighttime crowd. Along the mile-long stretch you'll find handcrafted cocktails at fashionable lounges, artisanal beers at neighborhood bars, and Irish pubs with large whiskey menus. Modern dance clubs are busy late into the night, while live bands rock time-honored hangouts.


Finn McCool's


The Emerald Isle went west when proprietor Geraldine Gilliland shipped the contents of her stepfather's Irish pub to Santa Monica. Finn McCool's serves draft beers, 200+ whiskeys, and traditional grub.


2702 Main St., Santa Monica 90405. Tel: +1 310 452 1734


Finn McCool's website


Circle Bar


In its heyday, Circle Bar served to famous hard-drinking artists like Jim Morrison and Truman Capote. Today, it's packed with a younger crowd, enlivened by DJs on weekends.


2926 Main St., Santa Monica 90405. Tel: +1 310 450 0508


Circle Bar website


Live music


Not all L.A.'s live music venues are in Hollywood. Around Santa Monica's downtown, you can dance up a sweat to blues, rock, or reggae at cozy joints that have been hosting bands for decades. DJs rally up high-energy parties at cutting-edge clubs with pulsating light shows, as well as at seaside-chic lounges.


Harvelle's Nightclub Santa Monica


Since 1931, Harvelle's Nightclub has been hosting local and international artists, with funk, jazz, and rock bands taking the stage.


1432 4th St., Santa Monica 90401. Tel: +1 310 395 1676


Harvelle's Nightclub Santa Monica website


The Room Santa Monica


Listen to DJs spin while sipping a cocktail in a cozy booth, or join locals on the dance floor at this low-lit nightspot.


1323 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 90404. Tel: +1 310 458 0707


The Room Santa Monica website


Wine bars


A few hours' drive from California's wine country, Santa Monica stocks some of the best vintages in the state. Both at Third Street Promenade and farther inland, you can enjoy a glass paired with tapas, or small farm-to-table dishes. Wine selections range from international labels to small producers, as well as handcrafted cocktails and small-batch beers.


Bodega Wine Bar


This self-described "anti-wine bar” is an casually comfortable lounge with a crowd ranging from Millennials to 40-something professionals. Pours are moderately priced.


814 Broadway, Santa Monica 90401. Tel: +1 310 394 3504


Bodega Wine Bar website


Sonoma Wine Garden


On the rooftop deck, ocean views are paired with a huge menu of California wines, along with international vintages, cocktails, and sangria.


395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica 90401. Tel: +1 424 214 4560


Sonoma Wine Garden website