Beach Day was a success - all the right people showed up, the temperature actually hit 80 degrees, and you made really good headway on your personal summer tan project. Unlike last time when Kara got fire ants in her swimsuit, the last thing you want to do now is head home. Keep the good vibes going and direct the crew towards post-beach drinks.
But whether you’re in Malibu or Venice or Hermosa, finding a good place to grab cocktails without worrying about how much sand you’re tracking in can be tricky. So here are the 13 best spots to drink after a day at the beach.
Check out the rest of our 2017 Summer Guide here.
When it comes to casual drinks in Malibu, your options tend to be one of the mothball seafood closets some people call restaurants, or hiding under your beach towel at Zuma. But thankfully, there’s Duke’s Barefoot Bar. The low-key offshoot to the full-service (and very boring) restaurant that is Duke’s Malibu next door, Barefoot bar has its own separate space with an ocean-facing patio, a lively crowd, and mai tais that fall under $15. That’s a win in Malibu.
Big Dean's Ocean Front Cafe
If you looked up “beach bar” in the dictionary, you’d probably find Big Dean’s. The Santa Monica classic is weird and rowdy and exactly what your want after a day of not wearing as much sunscreen as your doctor recommends. And despite a prime location adjacent to the pier, the little strip of businesses Big Dean’s lives on is largely bypassed by the mouth-breathing tourists trickling down from the promenade. Meaning this mostly-outdoor bar stays surprisingly local. The drinks are cheap, the bar food is solid, and the people watching is second to none.
Prince O’Whales, or Pee-Oh-Dubs as the locals call it, is the essential dive bar in Playa Del Rey and your one and only drink stop after a day at Dockweiler, a.k.a. the best beach in LA. There’s absolutely nothing special about this ancient spot, and that’s why we (and everyone else) loves it. Two separate patios, TV’s that were clearly purchased in the early 90’s, and probably some old surfer dude sitting in the corner shirtless who’s been drinking since before you woke up. If you get hungry, the chicken wings always do the job.
There are a few beach bars scattered along the Venice boardwalk, but The Whaler is the one you want to be at. The two-story bar has fantastic views of the water, an attractive surfer crowd that’s ready to get weird, and a daily happy hour from 3 - 6pm. Not to mention the solid craft beer list and cocktails that do not skimp on alcohol.
When the co-ed crowd at The Whaler is a little too much for your post-beach vibe, head across the street to Hinano Cafe. This Venice institution has been around since the 1960’s and is the kind of place you go in for one drink and walk out plastered and maybe with a lower-back henna tattoo. There’s a daily 4-8pm happy hour, free popcorn, pool tables, sawdust on the floor (can’t imagine what that’s for), and an absolutely legendary burger. If you’re looking for a low-key spot to grab a few too many drinks amongst people who actually live in the area, Hinano is your spot. Cash only.
The last true dive bar amongst the designer swimsuit shops and people who think they just broke the internet with their Intelligentsia Instagram post, The Brig on Abbot Kinney has been around for over 60 years and has an absolutely lethal 12-7pm happy hour on the weekends. The place definitely gets slammed as the night goes on, but if you’re coming in off the beach before the nightlife rush, you’ll be fine.
Board shorts and flip flops are the local uniform around Manhattan Beach, so finding a post-sand drink spot is never an issue. But nothing beats the atmosphere (and the beer) happening over at BrewCo. Situated right on the main drag in MB, BrewCo looks like every other sports bar in the South Bay, but its secret is a craft beer list that rivals any in the city (and bartenders who know what they’re doing). Their cocktails are pretty damn good too.
You told yourself you weren’t getting into the water today, but one poorly-thrown frisbee later and you’re neck deep in salt water. The ocean is with you for the whole day at this point, and the good news is nobody at Ercoles 1101 gives a sh*t. This is Manhattan Beach’s best dive bar, where the drinks are cheap, the regulars are friendly, and the beachy vibe is straight out of a romantic comedy involving Drew Barrymore losing her memory again.
If you’re looking for a true dive bar in Santa Monica with dirt cheap beer and a high probability of conversing with an actual pirate, Chez Jay is your spot. The nautical-themed bar is an LA landmark and one of the last remaining spots along Ocean Ave. that’s actually authentic. This is the kind of place where the more sand on your feet the better, and where a $14 flatiron steak is the go-to drunk order. If you get there early, take advantage of the back patio as well (it closes at 2:30pm).
Your beach outfit is absolutely killing today and you’re basically Zoe Kravitz in Big Little Lies. Make moves to Shutters, the sceney post-beach spot right off the boardwalk where windswept hair and silk sarongs are the mandatory aesthetic. But as much of a production as this boutique hotel is, nothing beats sitting on that patio overlooking the ocean while sipping champagne and pretending this is your everyday life.
The sun is starting to go down, but that booze you snuck in under your towel is just starting to kick in and you aren’t ready for the party to be over. Get the crew to The Craftsman, the downtown Santa Monica bar where come late afternoon, the party’s just getting started. From 4-8pm everyday, their happy hour gets you cocktails, well drinks, house wine, and champagne for $5 each, and soon after that, the live music will kick in. The Craftsman is a neighborhood bar that knows how to have fun.
You and everybody else with an overpriced picnic blanket knows all about Malibu Wines. But down off PCH right at Topanga Canyon sits another outdoor wine patio with half the crowds/engagement parties. The large outdoor space is open till 8pm on the weekdays and 9pm on weekends, with live music, food trucks, and $14 wine flights. Also, if you aren’t feeling the food trucks that night, outside food is allowed.
At first glance, Tower 12 seems like it would be too nice to roll in with flip flops and swimsuits, but then you remember you’re deep in the South Bay and pants are just weird cover-ups used only for weddings and funerals. This two-story bar/restaurant right on the Hermosa Beach is one of the newer spots around, and has the nightlife crowds to prove it. But head here right after the beach and you’ll find a cool crowd, solid food, and drinks that’ll definitely keep the good vibes going. Their signature is a “Mai Mule” served in a 90-ounce punch bowl with a volcano in the middle. Hello from the other side.