Santa Monica Night Clubs:
Where to Play When the Stars Are Out

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 night clubs deliver.

Here are some of the best venues under the stars in Santa Monica.

Upscale Santa Monica Nightlife

West End  is a venue where music, art, and fashion combine to create a culture all its own.

Featuring DJs and live local and international bands, 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 that comes in droves to savor the beach house party vibe under the stars.

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

If You Want to Be Above It All, These Venues Deliver

Are you looking for a rooftop nightspot in Santa Monica? 

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 DJs here usually start spinning around 10 p.m.

At Onyx Santa Monica, atop the Art Deco-style Hotel Shangri-la, you can expect stellar views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Pier, and beyond while savoring signature cocktails and small plates. 

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

For a dancing night out, The Room Santa Monica is a popular gathering spot. Here you'll find classic libations in a swanky, dark setting with cozy booths; and nightly DJs who keep patrons dancing the night away.

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 swanky spot is the perfect place for enjoying cocktails while listening to local, national, and international bands.
  • 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 nightly.

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. It's also 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 while enjoying live tunes.

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


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