Ashland Hill

Bars, Beer bars Santa Monica
 (Photograph: Anne Fishbein)
1/5
Photograph: Anne FishbeinBeers at Ashland Hill
 (Photograph: Anne Fishbein)
2/5
Photograph: Anne FishbeinCrispy cauliflower at Ashland Hill
 (Photograph: Anne Fishbein)
3/5
Photograph: Anne FishbeinPork belly tacos at Ashland Hill
 (Photograph: Anne Fishbein)
4/5
Photograph: Anne FishbeinAshland Hill
 (Photograph: Anne Fishbein)
5/5
Photograph: Anne FishbeinAshland Hill

Generous pours, unabashed comfort food, and a block from the beach: That’s Ashland Hill, a Santa Monica Cheers in the making. Anchoring the old Wildflour Pizza space on Main Street is a sprawling, pet-friendly back patio. At picnic tables blanketed in twinkling lights, patrons graze on pork belly tacos and crispy truffled cheese curds between sips of international vino and serious high-alcohol brews. The 20-tap lineup at this biergarten-wine bar hybrid includes 9-percent Belgian tripels, Mexican lager and Central Coast wines—plus another 14 bottles of red, white and bubbly. Bartenders here gleefully fill glasses to the brim, which double-fisting imbibers shamelessly spill all the way to their seats. Ample space, friendly servers and plenty of heat lamps to go around make Ashland Hill no-fuss, al fresco boozing at its finest.

Vitals

Good for: Knocking back pints and sharing bites with friends after a long work week. Ditch that diet for a peanut butter milk stout ($10 for a pint; $30 for the whole bottle), and perhaps your own serving of crispy cauliflower ($15) doused with saffron mayo. You could always walk it off with a stroll down Main Street, but it’s going to take a lot for you to ever leave the patio. Most come early and leave late. For a sure seat, get there before 7:30pm. From that point on, we can’t guarantee you won’t be waiting shoulder-to-shoulder with a crowd of desperate drinkers in the tiny indoor bar.

The scene: All types converge at this wino, beer geek and foodie trifecta: couples young and old, groups of friends, and pet owners. On our last visit, it was dominated primarily by locals. Overall, the vibe is laid-back and homey, like a friend’s backyard BBQ.

The playlist: Given the dense crowd, roaring conversation drowns out any semblance of tunes.

Bartender says: Unlike most watering holes in the area, you won’t find folks hanging around the bar. While the bartenders are definitely knowledgeable about what’s on tap, when there’s a line of thirsty customers out the door, chit-chatting with you about the difference between a saison and a pilsner is not going to be their priority. If you are lucky (and a little sneaky), you might just get away with reserving a picnic table before placing your order.

Drink this: SoCal suds are the specialty here, with gems like the hop lover’s Sculpin IPA ($7 glass; $21 bottle) from San Diego's Ballast Point, and a local easy-drinking Witbier ($7, $21) from Santa Monica Brew Works, the city's only production brewery. Bottled beers don’t stray far from the usual Stella, Corona and Heineken—all $6, but not everyone is a craft drinker. For winos, there’s plenty of goodies. Hailing from Santa Barbara County, the crisp and buttery Di Bruno Pinot Grigio ($12 glass, $44 bottle) is worth the splurge. For the best bang for your buck, snag a bottle of the dark and full-bodied Solar De Estraunza Tempranilla Rioja ($24).

By: Danielle Jacoby

Posted:

Venue name: Ashland Hill
Contact:
Address: 2807 Main St
Los Angeles
90405
Opening hours: Sun 10:30am-10pm; Mon-Thu 5:30-10pm; Sat 10:30am-midnight
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Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

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LiveReviews|2
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tastemaker

This used to be my go-to group dinner restaurant and my absolute favorite mac & cheese in Los Angeles. But recently they switched from the "order and pay at the counter" model to the traditional "order at the table" model, and swapped my shishito peppers for bacon & fresno peppers in the mac & cheese. Ashland Hill used to be unique in a sea of overpriced gastropubs, but now it's just one of the crowd. At least there's a great patio. 

tastemaker

If you work in the Santa Monica area, this is a pretty neat place to grab a drink with a small group of colleagues after you leave the office. The space is not huge, but it still has a welcoming and laid back vibe. The drink options are pretty vast and well-crafted, and there are some food choices that are tasty available as well. I don't think it's a place where you'll want to spend the entire night, but it is pretty close to some other solid bars on main & a good place to start your evening at or have as a stop along the way. Overall, great vibes and great drinks, a very welcome spot in Santa Monica.