Every weekend for me is something new- at least I hope. A little old mixed with new. There’s nothing I love more than my weekends at the beach. I am lucky to live about four blocks from the Santa Monica strand, so I’ve done my due diligence in exploring the strand from Santa Monica down to Marina Del Rey. If you want to really explore the locals way, I suggest you grab some beach cruisers and start no more north than Wilshire and make your way down about 7 miles to the last point in the Marina. These are some of my FAVORITE go to bars on the Westside to catch up, enjoy the sunshine and of course before you kick off date-night.

 

Loews Hotel
1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-6700

Definitely not known by any means for their drinks, Loews has a decent menu and a happy hour, however the big secret is their view from the pool and the fact that by ordering drinks from the pool makes you my friend, a “hotel guest” meaning, pool and hot tub rights. So grab your bathing suit and head over for a few drinks by the pool or for a nighttime tub sesh.

 

Big Deans
1615 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401

LOVE LOVE LOVE Big Deans. It’s less than a mile and a half walk from my apartment so this is one of my top favorite pics. A great place for a massive beer on a hot day, outdoor dive to watch football and one of my top picks for catching up with friends. Make your way to the back where you can grab a large picnic table. It’s super old school but always the best time.

 

Lula Cocina Mexicana
2720 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-5711

Let me just start by saying this – best margaritas on the westside. Lula’s Mexican Cocina is kind of a random colorful hole in the wall, but it is all authentic Mexican food and drinks. Their service is awesome and the margaritas flow strong. If you really want to be a winner you will stop by during their happy hour, where they host tons of food plates and margaritas for only $5.

 

The Lobster
1602 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-9294

I discovered The Lobster one night with a girlfriend on the hunt for a nice adult libation while jamming to the fresh beats of our silent frisco headphones. Their margaritas are a little more bougie than say, Lula’s but you’re not only sitting over the water, but you also have the largest menu of the best seafood and wine to choose from. Also for you guys out there, this is a sweet spot for a first date drink or two ;).

 

Brilliantshine
522 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-0045

If I were to tell you the drinks at Brilliantshine were just delicious, I would be doing absolutely no one any favor here. This place opened a couple of months ago across from where I live and everything about Brilliantshine is just out of this world. This is one of those bars where the cocktails are actually gourmet, luxury cocktails. The bartenders go through a highly selective process because let’s face it, they aren’t just bartenders. They are like the Gordon Ramsey of alcoholic beverages. Typically my boyfriend and I end our nights here – a slight nightcap, before we continue walking home. Make sure you head all the way back in so that you don’t get confused getting a drink at the front end taco / horrific bar.

 

Hotel Erwin
1697 Pacific Avenue, Venice, CA 90291
(310) 452-1111

Hotels for drinks are tricky. Usually they yield a weirdo type of crowd with overpriced drinks. Or you hit them up off-season for the same overpriced beverages and a dull atmosphere. Hotel Erwin is far from the typical hotel bar. To start it is a rooftop hotel bar, so they get everyone from locals to the usual hip travelers alongside at random will have a crowd come in for a DJ booked during the weekend. Their drinks and yummy and crowd, maybe because it is in venice is not yippy and pretentious like say… The Bungalow.

 

Venice Whaler
10 West Washington Boulevard, Venice, CA 90292
(310) 821-8737

And finally your most south point on your mini drinking tour or day out. The Venice Whaler. This is hands down, in my top five favorite places to crash on the weekend. Or weekday, depending on my mood. I’ve gotten drinks after work here on the regular and it is almost always a good option as a meet up spot with local friends on the weekends. When you go in, I’m typically more fond of the upstairs unless it’s so packed you get bumped to the downstairs bar. Located at the very end of the strand before you hit the Marina, the outdoor deck alongside a pitcher of beer is the perfect topping to any weekend plans.