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Place near the water in Santa Monica for drink

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I'm taking my sister in law to Santa Monica for a drink and light snack. I'm from the eastside so I have no idea where to go to impress her with views, service, drinks, comfort and food. Nothing too over the top. Nothing too hipster. But nothing sketchy. I'm thinking something that's a landmark in Santa Monica. Any ideas?

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  1. what time were you going to go? and i was assuming by drinks you meant libations...

    there's loews and shutters right on the beach, but i don't know if you would consider that too pricey...

    it's a bit cliche-ish, but there is something about that sting carousel on the pier that is almost magical just to walk around.... especially holding some kind of snack (i opt for some kind of "carnival" food like popcorn) just to complete the cliche... hahaha seriously though, from an art history point of view, the carousel IS beautiful and i believe it is one of the remaining carousels that have the rings that you can toss into the clown's mouth. and being it's the sting carousel, it is a landmark if i'm not mistaken....

    there is a restaurant at the pier.. but i haven't been there in YEARS.. so i forgot what it was called.. i remember the drinks were good though...

    i would suggest making the walk over to venice beach, but then again you said not too hipster...

    i love the westside... are you set on santa monica? have you thought about going to the getty? they have a cafe there too.... and it never disappoints...

    1. If you just want a drink and an appetizer then give the Lobster a try. Right at the entrance to the Santa Monica pier on Ocean Ave.

      1. Alas, such times are when you wish Toppers still existed for the view, free chips and salsa, and dirt cheap margaritas ....

        You could try Ocean Avenue Seafood at Ocean Ave.(near Sushi Roku at Santa Monica Blvd). If you get a table on the patio, there's a view of the ocean. Otherwise, if you sit at the bar, they have great happy hour specials on food and drink.

        There's also a bar in the lobby at the Georgian Hotel (on Ocean Ave, between Broadway and Colorado) - I've never been, but it has this great patio with seating that would likely offer a fantastic view.

        4 Replies
        1. re: umeakai

          Toppers does still exist -- as Penthouse. It's gorgeous and the perfect place to take your sister in law.

          Also, The Lobster - exactly what you want, right on the water, gorgeous view and room.

          Casa del Mar has history (its a landmark), gorgeous room, great bar menu, great view.

          The Pier is way too sketchy, gross, and touristy at night, I would avoid it completely. It will give her the absolute wrong impression of the area.

          1. re: yogachik

            Oh cool - I was wondering when the remodeling would be done. Looks like they spiced the place up.

            1. re: yogachik

              hahah yeah, that's why i asked what time... haha i would only go during the day... hahahaha ALTHOUGH i did go to a private event that was held at the carousel (apparently you can rent it out) and it was so much fun!

              1. re: yogachik

                good call on casa del mar. that would be my choice here.

            2. I'd recommend the Penthouse at the Huntley.

              I also like Whist at the Viceroy or the Ivy at the Shore for drinks.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Emme

                I second the Penthouse. Beautiful spot 17 floors up -- 360 degrees worth of windows so you can see everything from Malibu to Manhattan Beach to Downtown.

                The bar gets crowded for their Happy Hour, but the view, if you've never seen it before, is totally worth it. Go just before the sunset for the best view. Just remember that once the sun sets, you can't see anything over the ocean.

                1. re: TinyNancer

                  But you can see the colored lights from the Pier, and it's still a gorgeous view of Santa Monica.

              2. I agree that Shutters is nice,a bit pricey for some..BOA on Ocean,Chez J,Rusty's Surf Ranch on the pier is "world famous"-good food and drink. I would avoid Venice unless you are stuck in the 60's hippy mode...Bubba Gump-a bit kitche, but good sunset view

                1 Reply
                1. re: barbara Rose

                  I had the worst shrimp I've ever had in Bubba Gump, just weeks after it opened. Avoid like the plague. Rusty's is much more 'California' - very relaxed with decent food, cold drinks, sunset views and live music at the weekends.

                  And I disagree about Venice. There are some very hip, new places at the bottom of Venice Blvd and Washington Blvd, and also on Abbot Kinney. Give it a go - you'll be surprised!

                2. my vote would be casa del mar...and they often have live piano great views slow service though... you will have plenty of time to enjoy the view

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mmmclapclap

                    I also vote for Casa Del Mar. I absolutely love having a drink or two there, it's the best view. That said, I have not been to the Penthouse at the Huntley yet.

                    1. re: LisaStitch

                      ...the huntley? where's this?

                      1. re: mmmclapclap

                        The Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel
                        2nd Street & California in Santa Monica
                        http://www.thehuntleyhotel.com/pentho...

                        1. re: LisaStitch

                          thanks just checked them out htey look swish