Top 4 Spots In Downtown Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica is already a sight in itself, but venturing into the downtown section to eat, drink, or both is one of the things you must check off your list if you're new to the city. And if you're a local, do it for the convenience! With The Expo line running every 10-15 minutes, consistent busses down major thoroughfares, and bike friendly streets near the city's core, getting here from any spot west of the 405 is pretty easy. Downtown Santa Monica boasts some of the best dining and drinking options in the city, all within walking distance of one another. Here are the some of the best places to do both, in no particular order.

1. West 4th and Jane

Nestled in between Broadway and Santa Monica on 4th St, this unassuming gastropub boasts an excellent beer, wine, and food selection, while checking every requirement for a local neighborhood hangout spot.

Full Bar: No, beer and wine only

Flights: Yes, beer only

Food: Yes

Happy Hour: Yes, Mon-Fri 4p-7p

Coffee: Yes

Theme: New York style gastropub

Get: The house pretzel with an Allagash White

Price: $-$$

2. Esters Wine Shop

Ever heard of Rustic Canyon? This is their French-Asian fusion sister, and its right behind the Santa Monica public library. One of the best features about this well stocked, wine focused bar is their retail portion of the store (there is a 15$ corkage for wine, just a heads up), but the charcuterie and cheese selections should be experienced by any means necessary.

Full Bar: Yes

Flights: Sometimes. Usually happens during an event

Food: Yes

Happy Hour: Yes. 4-6pm daily. Wine is also at a special discount on Mondays

Coffee: No

Theme: French-Asian fusion in a sleek, modern setting

Get: At least five cheeses, three meats, and any glass of wine

Price: $$-$$$

3. Cassia

You know that group I mentioned earlier? Rustic Canyon? This is another one of their sisters. Where is it? Right next to Esters on 7th and Santa Monica! Going for a classic fine dining approach with an Asian-Californian fusion theme, Cassia boasts an equally impressive beverage program and a substantial, family-style food menu. 

Full Bar: Yes

Flights: No

Food: Yes

Happy Hour: No

Coffee: Yes

Theme: Asian-Californian fusion with a nice outdoors-y vibe

Get: Kaya Toast, Charcuterie Fried Rice, and The Central Park Pines (Chinese Black Tea infused Manhattan)

Price: $$-$$$

4. Stout

Situated at the very end of Santa Monica Blvd, just passed The Promenade, is one of the best burger and beer franchises in Los Angeles. With its massive draught selection, and excellent special bottle and wine list, there is a very good chance that Stout will have something up your alley even you are new to the craft beer scene. For the beer geeks out there, they also hold regular tap takeover events featuring well-known breweries, or certain hard to find styles from the best in the business. The burgers are pretty damn good too. 

Full Bar: No, beer and wine only

Flights: No

Food: Yes. Burgers of every kind!

Happy Hour: Yes. 4-6pm, Mon-Fri

Coffee: No

Theme: Modern taphouse/bar combo

Get: The Morning After Burger with a dry, coffee forward stout

Price: $-$$

Tim Maher