Santa Monica’s sleepy beach vibe extends beyond the sun-soaked days and well into the evening. You won’t find any thrumming nightclubs here, but there are plenty of culinary delights, tantalizing drink menus, and of course, an amazing view to enjoy as the sun sets. Come spend the night at the historic Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows and check out these Santa Monica nightlife hot spots for a relaxing but unforgettable evening out.
The farm-to-table communal dining experience at The Fig Santa Monica exudes fresh and relaxed. Tucked in next to the pool at the quiet beachside oasis that is the Fairmont Miramar, this culinary hot spot features a fresh, organic menu sourced locally from the weekly Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. Grab a seat at one of the casual cafe tables facing the pool in the open, airy dining hall. Go all in and order the Feed Me!, leaving the decisions entirely up to the chef for a dinner of favorites and off-menu dishes like tempura squash blossoms and crispy crayfish fritters. Top it off with one of their signature cocktails—perhaps the jalapeño margarita for a little extra kick? You might want to book a room at the Fairmont just so you can eat here every night.
Drinks With a View
The Santa Monica nightlife wouldn’t be complete without its gorgeous sunsets. At the Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel, you can make happy hour truly spectacular with a picture-perfect view. The 18th story bar and restaurant is fitted with cozy chairs, panoramic views of the sparkling Pacific, and a chill vibe. Grab a seat in the lounge area in front of the windows and order one of their handcrafted signature cocktails, like the Gold Rush—Elijah Craig 12-year-old bourbon sweetened with house-made clover honey and a lemon twist—to sip on while you watch the sun melt slowly into a syrupy pink and orange dream.
Much like its name suggests, The Bungalow Santa Monica reminds you of a cozy beach cottage from a bygone era. Inside, there’s a relaxed lounge bar with oakwood floors and lofty rafters. Order drinks at the candlelit bar and take them out to the back patio. Snag a seat around the fire pit or on one of the inviting couches, and gaze up at the swaying palm trees silhouetted by the darkening sky. It may be too bright to spot stars in LA, but the twinkling lights sprinkled among the deck’s shady trees give you the impression that you’re a million miles away from the city.
The beach may cool down at night, but you can heat things up with some sultry sounds at Harvelle’s Santa Monica. Grab some drinks at the bar then tuck yourselves into one of the dark vinyl booths for a view of the show. Cozy up with your date as the band takes the tiny stage at the back and fills the entire narrow hall with hot jazz rhythms.
There’s nothing quite like letting your legs dangle while you’re 90 feet in the air to make you feel like a kid again. Hop aboard the world’s first solar powered Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier and go for a ride after dark. Lit by hundreds of colorful LEDs, even the sight of the giant wheel spinning in the distance is a magical light show. But you don’t see the best view until you finally reach the top. Snuggle your date a little closer as you feel the cool ocean breeze, and look down at the crashing surf below.