As road weary Angelenos, it’s not often we use the words “destination bar.” But if such a thing exists, The Misfit—located just off Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade—is it. Those in its proximity will likely be aware of this local hot spot, but for the rest of us, be assured—this place is worth the trek. With its high, tinned ceilings, vintage tiled floors and columns, and ambient globe lighting, you could almost mistake The Misfit’s interior for 20th century Paris, were it not for the startling presence of crop tops (apparently in compliance with the bar’s “proper attire” requirement). An antique card catalog and books on the shelves behind the bar bring a literary feel to the place, while vintage barware enthusiasts should look out for the envy-inducing display of classic cocktail shakers on the way to the restrooms. It’s rare that a bar succeeds in nailing atmosphere, food and drinks, but with a stand-out menu and excellent cocktail program, The Misfit gets top marks across the board.
Good for: While an obvious shoe-in for date night, The Misfit is also the perfect spot for classy day drinking, with one of the best happy hours in town. From noon to 7 daily, all but three of the bar’s specialty cocktails are half price, so you can easily lose yourself in a Saturday (or Sunday) stupor if you’re otherwise engaged throughout the week. Several cocktails in, you’ll find yourself in need of sustenance. With the money you save on drinks during happy hour, it’s worth splurging on The Misfit’s tapas style food menu. Snack on lobster nik niks ($16), the crispy chicken sandwich ($14) with fennel-apple slaw, or the healthier (but no less delicious) kale and quinoa salad ($12). Weekdays, the Barfly Lunch deal offers a rotating selection of popular menu items for $5—IF you’re sitting at the bar.
The scene: A bustling crowd of the Westside’s finest: young, beautiful, bright-eyed people with perfect hair; stylish professionals; and polished beach bros. The person to your left works in advertising or PR; the one to your right is a trust fund baby or an aspiring actor/singer/dancer/model, as is (probably) your mustached bartender. Despite overcrowding and sometimes diabolical wait times on evenings and weekends, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves immensely. Perhaps it’s the sea air, or the mutual consensus that we’re all on to a good thing.
The playlist: A well-tempered mix of indie rock, folk and inoffensive down-tempo EDM that blends into the background while reflecting the bar’s eclectic clientele.
The bartender says: “Are those both for you?” Yes. Don’t judge me.
Drink this: The Jumping Jack Flash ($10) packs a well-rounded punch with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cocchi vermouth and a kick of ginger that sneaks in at the back, while the refreshingly herbaceous Goodnight Emily ($10) balances Fords gin and grapefruit with Peychaud bitters and a healthy but subtle presence of mint. A fellow patron called the signature (and bartender recommended) Misfit Cocktail ($10) a “grown-up drink,” which is fairly accurate. A bit like a gin old fashioned with Hayman’s gin, Carpano vermouth and orange bitters, it’s smooth, aromatic and potent—a few of them may leave you in need of a sobering walk on the beach.