Santa Monica Night Clubs:
Top Beachside Hot Spots

Santa Monica night clubs are more laid-back than those in downtown Los Angeles or Hollywood - and that's a good thing.

We keep it real here, for the most part, and Santa Monica nightlife reflects that.

Sure, you'll still need to que-up occasionally - is there anywhere worth going to that isn't going to attract a good crowd?

Whether you're looking for a rooftop bar, a happen' live music venue, or a dance club that vibrates into the wee hours, Santa Monica nightlife delivers. Without further ado, here are some the best spots in Santa Monica under the stars.

Upscale Santa Monica Nightlife

West End, Santa Monica's newest nightclub. With its sleek industrial design, West End - formerly club Zanzibar - is a venue where music, art, and fashion create culture.

Featuring DJs, bands, and both local and international artists, West End's ever-changing entertainment lineup keeps guests coming back for more (along with its signature cocktails).

Cameo Bar at Viceroy Santa Monica is a Santa Monica hotel bar that can always be counted on to play host to a happening scene with a noteworthy crowd. 

The midcentury-glam bar and lounge plays host to a nightly cast of interesting characters, ranging from trendsetting travelers staying at the hotel to fun-loving locals. 

Not to be outdone, the Bungalow Santa Monica at the Fairmont Hotel & Bungalows also draws a hip, eclectic crowd who come in droves to savor the beach house party vibe under the stars.

This is one place you can regularly expect to que-up to enter - unless you arrive before 8 p.m., that is.  

If You Want to Be Above It All, These Rooftop Bars Deliver

Looking for a rooftop bar in Santa Monica? Onyx Santa Monica is the place you want to be. Located atop the Art Deco-style Hotel Shangri-la, you can expect stellar views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Pier, and beyond to savor along with signature cocktails and small plates.

If you're lucky enough to get seats around the fire pit, you're set for a memorable night.

The Penthouse on the 18th floor of the Huntley Hotel is an indoor rooftop bar that can always be counted on to play host to an eclectic mix of upscale travelers and fun-locals. The DJ here usually starts spinning around 10 p.m.

Santa Monica Nightclubs & Dancing

Where do Santa Monica locals go for a dancing night out? 

The Room Santa Monica is a popular gathering spot. It's a lounge that features classic libations in a swanky, dark setting with cozy booths and regular DJs. 

Santa Monica Night Clubs with Live Music

It's evident that Santa Monica is a city for live music when you step into these four venues:

  • Basement Tavern Most night feature live music from local musicians, featuring everything from DJs to bluegrass bands to reggae.
  • Craftsman Bar and Kitchen The house band, The Old Fashioned, takes the stage every Friday night, and on Monday through Thursday nights, you can expect to find an array of other local acts.
  • Harvelle's Santa Monica This dark, sexy room is the perfect spot for dancing and enjoying cocktails while listening to the best local, national, and international musical acts.
  • TRiP Santa Monica One of the Westside's leading musical hot spots, presenting an impressive variety of rock, world, acoustic, indie pop and other live music.

Dive Bars Worth Diving Into

When you mention dive bars in Santa Monica, Chez Jay is inevitably going to come up in conversation. 

Known as the "celebrity dive" or "classy joint", Chez Jay has been serving up eats and drinks in Santa Monica for more than 50 years as one of the premier steak and seafood neighborhood restaurants in all of Southern California.

There's also the Daily Pint, a great place to crack open a beer and have a good time.

Whether it's to watch a big game or just unwind after a long day of sightseeing, this offbeat bar on Pico Boulevard is a low-key respite.

Santa Monica Happy Hours

There are plenty of great happy hour venues in Santa Monica to get the night (and party) started.

Check out the Top 10 Happy Hours in Santa Monica here; and if Main Street Santa Monica is your destination, you can find the best Main Street happy hours here.


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