It’s been another grueling day of waking up by the beach and playing frisbee with your best friend who is also a dog. Life in Santa Monica isn’t the worst thing in the world, but long days happen to everybody, and when they do, it’s time for a drink. Good news - Santa Monica has an excellent Happy Hour situation. You won’t have to look hard to find a place that’s selling discounted cocktails, but just because there’s a $5 margarita on a menu doesn’t mean you (and your dog friends) should be drinking there at 5pm. Here are our 17 favorite places for Happy Hour in Santa Monica.
The Craftsman is laid-back but modern, and one of the best neighborhood bars in downtown Santa Monica. They have solid bar food, (not obnoxious) DJ’s on the weekends, and tons of board games to keep you and your co-workers’ minds off of the fact that there are still four more days left in the work week.
Happy Hour: 4pm - 8pm, daily. $6 featured cocktails, well drinks, champagne, house wine, and tons of food discounts.
You’ve spent most of your Tuesday arguing in meetings with people you genuinely despise and you need wine. A lot of wine. Head to Bodega, the massive wine bar at Broadway and Lincoln with a good bottle list, a food menu that’s better than it needs to be, and an atmosphere far more lively than your average wine bar.
Happy Hour: 5pm - 7pm, weekdays. $6 wine and appetizers, $4 beer.
FIG is the all-day restaurant inside the Fairmont Miramar Hotel. They have a great Mediterranean menu and the kind of calm poolside setting you want after a day of taking iced coffee orders from your boss who still doesn’t call you by the right name. FIG’s Happy Hour might only be an hour long, but at 50% off everything on the menu (except steak), you won’t find a better one in the area.
Happy Hour: 5pm - 6pm, daily. 50% off entire menu.
The Misfit is located uncomfortably close to the 3rd St. Promenade tourist hellzone, but when it comes to this laid-back restaurant, we grin and bear it. The food is solid, the crowd is mostly locals, and the cocktails are the best in downtown Santa Monica. Also, there are free cookies.
Happy Hour: Noon - 7pm daily. Discounts on beer, wine, sangria and cocktails.
Mercado isn’t the best Mexican food you’ll ever eat. It is, however, as good as you’ll find in the immediate downtown Santa Monica area, and after a day of walking around the pier with your out-of-towner cousins, that’s good enough. The space is also more relaxing than you’d think.
Happy Hour: 5pm - 7pm, weekdays. 4pm - 6pm, weekends. $4 select beer and $8 margaritas. Food discounts.
For some unknown reason, Santa Monica has more than its fair share of traditional English pubs, and Ye Olde King’s Head is one of the best. In operation since the 1970’s, this place can definitely get touristy, but ultimately you don’t mind because the kitschy interior is fun and welcoming, the fish and chips will cure your blackened soul, and everyone’s screaming at rugby on TV.
Happy Hour: 4pm - 7pm, weekdays. $2 off draught beer, $5 well drinks, wine, and margaritas. Food discounts.
You’re sick of the rabid hordes of tourists on the promenade and need to feel like an aspiring reality star for a few hours. Head to The Penthouse. The top-floor restaurant/lounge/housewife-swapmeet of The Huntley Hotel is definitely a scene, and that’s exactly why you’re here. And also those views - which have something to do with the high cost of alcohol here.
Happy Hour: 4pm - 7pm, weekdays. Beer, wine, and food specials.
M Street Kitchen is an all-day spot on Main Street with tons of comfort food, a pet-friendly patio, and a big space for when your solo Happy Hour trip becomes half of the floor from the office.
Happy Hour: 4pm - 6:30pm, daily. $2 House beer, $3 sangria, $5 wine, $6 cocktails. Food specials.
Brick + Mortar is definitely a sports bar, but unlike most others along Main Street, they appear to actually mop the floors here. The space is big and modern, and there’s a patio as well as a bar food menu that’s better than it needs to be. If you can’t find the place at first, it’s hidden away in a courtyard behind a Peet’s Coffee and a Ben & Jerry’s.
Happy Hour: 12pm - 7pm, daily. $2 off draught beer, $5 well cocktails and wine.
Upper West is one of those restaurants in inland Santa Monica you always forget about, and then go there and realize it should be in your rotation. The food is good, and the space is great for big groups of people who never know what to order.
Happy Hour: 5pm - 7pm, daily. $5-$6 beer, $6 cocktails. Food specials.
Chez Jay is an LA classic and one of the few remaining old-school joints in Santa Monica that hasn’t been bulldozed for condominiums. Located right on Ocean Ave., walking into this nautical-themed bar is like walking through a time portal -- on the other side are dirt cheap drinks, grouchy bartenders, and a steak and lobster for $15.
Happy Hour: 4:30pm - 6pm, daily. $6 beer, wine, and appetizers.
Though the Santa Monica location doesn’t have quite the magic of the original Ktown spot, El Cholo still serves the kind of old-school Mexican food and margaritas that taste great after a day from hell. Big groups extremely welcome.
Happy Hour: 3pm - 6:30pm, weekly (and all day Tuesday). $4 draft beer, $6 margaritas, $5 appetizers.
Best known as that place you drank too many tequila sodas at a few weekends ago, this popular Main St. bar calms down mightily during weekday happy hour. The cocktails are strong, there’s live music some nights, and those couches are perfect for burying yourself and your midweek feelings in.
Happy Hour: 5pm - 8pm, Monday - Saturday. 5pm - close, Sunday. $4 wine, $4-$6 craft beer. Food specials.
Since 1939, Santa Monica Seafood has been one of the better fish markets on the Westside, but the power move is to head over to the restaurant side, pull up to the bar, and go to town on some oysters, housemade sandwiches, and all the wine you can drink before 5pm.
Happy Hour: 2pm - 5pm, weekdays. $2 oysters, $4 House Beer, $7 wine
If you’re wondering where that weird little Polish restaurant on Lincoln you liked went, the answer is it’s still there - it just changed names. Formally Warzawa, the place is now called Solidarity, and as terrible of a name as that is, the restaurant itself basically hasn’t changed otherwise. It still has the old-school mom and pop charm to cure your soul after another day of corporate hell.
Happy Hour: 5pm - 7pm, Tuesday - Friday. $5 draft beer and wine, $6 house cocktails. Food specials.