There’s nothing like picking the brains of a local – or locals (plural in this case) when you really want to know what’s what. I was on the hunt for the best rooftop bars within cooee of Santa Monica and here’s where the girls who know told me to go:
1. ABH at the Thompson. Just over in Beverly Hills, some said this is the city’s sexiest roof top bar around. All decked out in 70s style furnishings, it’s good by day or by night. Dine on sushi and fingerfood from the Bond Street restaurant below. Unless you’re Lindsay Lohan you have to stay in house to get to swan about upstairs around the Swarovski pool that now adorns the former Best Western Hotel. Lounge in luxury cabanas with flat screen TVs or cast your eyes over the 360 degree views of Los Angeles. Advice: get a room.
2. Shangri La. The newly refurbished and totally styly art deco hotel has a wicked rooftop bar with views of the Pacific Ocean right across the road. It’s only a stone’s throw from Santa Monica Pier and a great spot for sunsets. Furniture is made from suiting fabric (yes like men’s business suits) and leather. If the rooftop is a bit breezy go back down to the ground floor pool bar and hang out under and umbrella to watch the beautiful people watching each other.
3. High Bar at Hotel Erwin. On Venice Beach, where medical marijuana is sold on the beachfront, the restaurant’s called Hash and the bar High. Hmm, a little theme here? It’s about 200m from the sand and 2 miles from Santa Monica and has just been voted in the Top 20 rooftop bars in America. Views of Muscle Beach make this a great spot for perving, not to mention the cool vibe and the arty techies from Pixar and the like. (Yes geeks can be groovy!)
4. Penthouse at Huntley Hotel. Don’t you just love a bar with a Mixologist on the payroll? Say hi to Ryan Magarian and get him to whip you up his specialty drink while you enjoy your 18-storey 360 views from the Pacific Ocean to the Malibu Beach Cliffs and over to Hollywood. Intimate cabanas and fireside hangouts for those chilly LA nights. This is what you call an Ultra Lounge – a signature LA experience. It’s also where you want to come to meet a rich suit, so I’m told.
5. The Lobster on Santa Monica Pier. This place, established in 1923, brazenly promotes itself as being a great location for film shoots with its iconic view of the Pier. It’s famous for its truffle fries (I was reliably told they are best on earth – even described as crack!) The patio overlooks the 100-year old pier with its gigantic ferris wheel and this place is cool with the local celebs for whole Maine lobsters.
For the full run-down on Santa Monica bars, click here to Santa Monica Nightlife