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Cocktails w/ ocean view in SM or Venice

Hi All,

I need a casual place to have cocktails with about 8 people with an ocean view in Santa Monica or Venice. More mid-range, not upscale like Shutters or Casa del Mar. Ocean view is a must. Thanks in advance!

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  1. What about Duke's? It's farther north than SM, but they have a great patio with ocean views and it's very casual.

    1. Venice Whaler has ocean views, I wouldn't recommend the food but it's fun.

      8 Replies
      1. re: hrhboo

        Really I think that the Whaler is your best bet if you want both reasonably priced drinks and an ocean view. Like hrhboo says, the food there is not good, but you could go somewhere nearby after if you're hungry like Hinano for their burger or Mercedes' Grill for their shrimp scampi.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Oh my...Hinano has really really great burgers. I second, third and fourth this rec.

          1. re: hrhboo

            how do the burgers @ hinano compare to places like f.o., the counter, etc?

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Apples and oranges. The FO burger is a fantastic gourmet treat, Hinano's is a good old-fashioned dive bar burger. It isn't fancy but it's full of flavour, like the best homemade burger you've ever had. The only options are cheddar or swiss cheese, and it comes with a bag of chips (Dorito's, Lay's etc) and some pickled hot peppers.

              1. re: hrhboo

                got it. thanks for the detailed explanation! of course now i'll have to go find out for myself if it really is like the best homemade burger i've ever had :)

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Well, burgers in my home were never that good! Be warned...it is the ultimate dive with sawdust on the floor and a variable cross-section of Venice locals, beachbums, transients, aging hippies and tourists! Not flash, but when the mood is right there's nothing like it.

                  1. re: hrhboo

                    I think you nailed the description. The Hinano burger is not at all like the other more "gourmet" burgers around town. Part of the fun of it too is eating such a good, no-frills burger in such a random dive!

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      I love strolling in there all sandy after a day at the beach for an ice cold pitcher of beer and a burger. It's especially great when you bite into it and all the contents fall out the back of the bun (usually happens with a double). Awesome greasy fun.

      2. Does anyone remember this place at the top of some restaurant in a hotel building at the top- maybe Mexan place, which had a view of ocean- I went there about 10-12 years ago and cannot remember much but it was a walking distance from the 3rd street promenade

        7 Replies
        1. re: miffy

          Toppers on top of the Huntley Hotel . Now completely remodeled called The Penthouse

          1. re: Densible

            oh yes, that was where I went- I did not know it turned into The Penthouse- thank you for this info- it has been a question in my head forever

            1. re: miffy

              welcome. you should check it out again. the view is still terrific.

            2. re: Densible

              LOVE OVE LOVE Penthouse

              Whist is nice too

              1. re: Emme

                They are both pretty upscale, at least as much as Shutters and Casa Del Mar if not more so. Whist doesn't have an ocean view.

                1. re: hrhboo

                  I guess you're right, but I still really like the Penthouse; it doesn't feel all that upscale to me, but you're right in the classical connotation of upscale. Yes, Whist doesn't have an ocean view per se, but it's so darn right there. My bad.

                  1. re: Emme

                    I totally agree with you, they're both great spots and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either of them! I don't find them super-upscale either, but they're about the same as the ones Turtle07 mentioned.

          2. In the lobby area of the Lowes Santa Monica, there are cozy chairs and you can order drinks fron the bar. I am fairly certain theie is an ocean view. I was there at night so I can't be certain.

            3 Replies
            1. re: zoomchic

              How about Waterfront Cafe?

              http://www.waterfrontcafe.com
              205 Ocean Front Walk
              Venice, CA 90291
              (310) 392-0322

              1. re: pdjy

                I love this place, but they only serve beer, no cocktails.

              2. re: zoomchic

                not really an ocean view from the lobby bar area...you need to be out on the patio, or in the restaurant 'ocean & vine' to see the water.

              3. What about the front porch at The Georgian Hotel (Ocean Avenue, near Santa Monica Blvd)? It's definitely got an ocean view and nice people-watching, to boot. They have very comfortable tables set up and it's not that crowded, so you can easily find seats for 8 people. And the drinks will be pretty reasonably priced. It's a gorgeous patio with a great view.

                3 Replies
                1. re: glutton

                  This was going to be my suggestion as well. It looks out on the ocean and the Santa Monica Pier, I love the view! It porch never seems crowded, and you can see the ocean from inside too if the porch is too chilly.

                  1. re: glutton

                    I tried to stop off at the Georgian one evening when I was in Santa Monica. It seemed like it was going to be a lovely sunset and I wanted to sit down and have a drink and just enjoy. The patio was lovely and almost entirely open, so I sat down at a table. Immediately, the host came over and graciously asked what I would like to have. When I ordered a cocktail, he asked for my room number. I told him I wasn't staying in the hotel and he extremely kindly told me that they were not allowed to serve alcohol to non-guests and offered me a cranberry juice. I'd never heard anything like that before... It put a bit of a damper on my otherwise lovely moment. You know, not that I have to be buzzed to enjoy a sunset, but still...

                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                      That's a total downer... I have gone there before for drinks as a non-guest and it did not seem to be a problem. That was a few years ago, so things may have changed.

                  2. i've never been there so i don't know if they have a separate bar, but what about the lobster?

                    i've heard the food is pricey for what it is, but i don't think the atmosphere is too upscale.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      The bar area is too jammed to be comfortable for 8 people who want cocktails. There is a great oceanview terrace (with firepits) at the Loew's where they serve drinks and hors d'oeuvres, which ought to suit OP's needs.