Santa Monica may embody most Southern California stereotypes—babes frolicking on beaches, hippie moms strolling through farmers' markets—but it's also known for its fledgling start-ups and tech giants (what's up, Google). To sum up: It's all about working hard and playing hard here. We rounded up the nine best happy hour spots in Santa Monica to unwind, whether you're finishing up your work day or just taking a break for beer. Because, hey—you deserve it.
RECOMMENDED: The top 10 happy hour deals in LA
SaMo's best happy hour spots
What: Half-off entire menu
When: Mon-Sat 5-8pm, Sun 5pm-close
Why we love it: So you like the idea of a half-off happy hour menu, but you don't want to limit yourself to FIG's one-hour deal. Head to the Basement Tavern at the Victorian, and your problem is solved. From 5-8pm every night (except Sunday, when happy hour is all.night.long.), both food and drink prices are neatly slashed in half. Craft cocktails, usually $12 each, are now only $6—we recommend the Purple Rain, a refreshing libation featuring gin, citrus, blackberries, cucumber and agave. But you need a little sustenance too, which is where the Tavern's burgers, fries, cheese boards and more come in. A plate piled high with calamari for only $7? Pinch us, we're dreaming.
What: $3 beers; $5 wine and appetizers; $6 soju cocktails; $7 pizza
When: Mon 5pm-close; Tue-Fri 5-7pm; Sun-Thu 10pm-close
Why we love it: Is there a night when there aren't specials happening at Bodega Wine Bar? In addition to regular happy hour prices—where you can knock back a beer for $3 alongside a $7 pizza—there are also nightly specials that happen on the reg. Stop by on Taco Tuesdays ($2 tacos and half-off all beers) or Andrew Jackson Wednesdays, where bottles of red and white wine are just $20. Quality wine and tasty bites—aw hell yeah.
What: $5 beer, cocktails, bites; $3.50 tacos
When: Mon-Fri 4-7pm; Fri, Sat 9-11pm; Sun all day
Why we love it: Before there was STREET and Mud Hen Tavern, there was Border Grill, Susan Feniger's Mexican restaurant that has been a Santa Monica staple since 1990. They've clearly had enough time to perfect happy hour. For a few hours Monday through Saturday—and all day on Sunday—quality Mexican draft beers and select cocktails are reduced to a measly $5. But the best part? Tacos are only $3.50. We love the Al Pastor, the Lamb Adobo and the Avocado with red quinoa, but really, for a couple bills and some pocket change, you can't go wrong with any of them.
What: 2-for-1 drinks
When: Daily 4-8pm
Why we love it: Let's be honest: Cabo Cantina can get a little sloppy. The scene is definitely heavy on the bros, and this location—in the middle of the Third Street Promenade—makes it all the more chaotic. Embrace Cabo Cantina for what it is, and you'll love their happy hour: 2-for-1 drinks, seven days a week, meaning you won't have to explain to your server that yes, both of those margaritas are for you, thankyouverymuch. Try a couple of Mamasita Mojitos, a couple of Siesta Sangrias, and soon you'll learn that the adage is true: It is so much friendlier with two. Want to feel more like a baller? Double up on the deals on Taco Tuesdays, when all-you-can-eat tacos are $5. Sweet, bro.
What: $5-$6 cocktails; $4 beer; $5 wine; discounted food
When: Mon 5:30pm-close, Tue-Sat 5:30-8pm
Why we love it: Copa D'Oro may be better known as a wine bar, but happy hour here is all about the craft cocktails—at $5-$6 a pop. Normally $10, these babies aren't your run-of-the-mill G&Ts and vodka cranberries. Each libation includes ingredients sourced from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers' Market. Try the Mayan Collins, featuring gin, lime juice and fresh pressed cucumber juice. Small plates are offered on the cheap, too, like paninis for $8 and dips for $7. As is usually the case with happy hour, this one lasts a few hours after work—except for Mondays, when you can order cocktails for a crisp Lincoln all night long.
What: Half-off everything
When: Tue-Sat 5-6pm
Why we love it: We know what you're thinking. A place that only has happy hour for one hour is making this list? But it's what happens in that one hour that makes FIG special. To start, everything is half off. The Carlsbad mussels, originally $21? Now $10.50. The plate of prosciutto for $12? Now $6. The $14 cocktails, like the popular Bartender's Ball? All $7. Ok, so the steaks aren't half-off, but if you're complaining about paying full price for a steak when every other dish is a steal, you can take your business elsewhere. We'll enjoy our premium liquor and gourmet plates on the poolside patio. The cherry on top? Valet is free for two hours.
What: $3-$4 beer; $5 cocktails, wine, sliders
When: Daily 4-8pm
Why we love it: Walking into The Craftsman is like walking into a friend's living room, but at any other bar, that friend would charge you $12 for a cocktail. Not here, buddy. The Craftsman's happy hour doles out beer, wine and cocktails for $5 and under, along with juicy sliders for the same price. Try the Bee's Knees (a sweet mix of vodka, lemon juice and honey), or a classic margarita for no more than a Lincoln. Bonus: There's free live music every night.
What: $6 beer, wine and cocktails; $4 sangria
When: Daily Noon-7pm
Why we love it: We're already thrilled about The Misfit's discounted drinks, but take a look at their happy hour: Noon to 7pm daily? That's seven straight hours of affordable boozing. Stop by during their weekday lunch hour and you'll get an even better deal: $5 for the lunch of the day, ranging anywhere from an Ahi burger to an heirloom brown rice bowl. The bar is usually packed, happy hour being one of the main reasons, and here's another: after you've gotten the bill, your server will offer you a homemade chocolate chip-French sea salt cookie. Take two. Good food, cheap drinks and free cookies—we're sold.
What: $5 wine, beer, well drinks and bar bites
When: Mon-Fri Noon-7pm
Why we love it: The view at Sonoma Wine Garden, which sits on the rooftop dining deck at Santa Monica Place, is almost as notable as the happy hour menu. Almost—because it's hard to pay attention to the sunset when truffle fries and polenta bites are just $5. Pair a plate of arancini—traditional Italian rice balls—with a glass of sauvignon blanc, or a melt-in-your-mouth flatbread with an earthy malbec. Everything is $5 from noon to 7pm (well, everything except PBR, which will cost you a cool $3), and if you're not a big drinker, they have refreshers on the menu as well. You know, because nothing screams happy hour like a citrus spritzer.