bars in santa monica for sunset sips

Eat + Drink

Sunset Sips: Santa Monica’s Most Scenic Drink Spots

The best bars in Santa Monica have the best views. (Photo: Getty Images)

Santa Monica sprawls alongside one of California’s prettiest stretches of coastline. The town’s western edge is lined with cliffs, swaying palm trees, and an expansive shore perpetually lapped by thundering waves. Thanks to an iconic amusement pier jutting dramatically into the Pacific Ocean and unparalleled views of the horizon, Santa Monica is also a prime place for sunset watching. Up the ante on your sunset spectacle by pairing it with drinks at one of these outdoor bars and restaurants.

The Lobster

Since 1923, The Lobster has enjoyed the ultimate sunset-scoping location overlooking the 100-year-old Santa Monica Pier. Order the truffle fries, keep an eye out for local celebrities, and sip discounted drinks from its “Happiest Hour” menu Monday-Friday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The Penthouse

The 18th-floor views from the Penthouse bar at Huntley Hotel will leave you agape — you’ll see the sparkling ocean to the west, Malibu Beach’s famous cliffs, and even glimpses of Hollywood in the distance. Try to sit in a cabana and warm yourself by fire pits on chilly nights. Arrive Monday through Friday between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and enjoy happy hour deals as you watch the sky blaze pink and red.

Mariasol Restaurant

At Mariasol Mexican restaurant on the tip of the Santa Monica Pier, with unobstructed horizon views. You’ll sip signature “Mega” margaritas as you take in the views of the Pacific coastline from Malibu to the South Bay. Want to spice things up? Try the Sweet Heat margarita, a fiery mix of jalapeno-infused tequila, lime, pineapple, and agave.

Sonoma Wine Garden

Settle into a table on Sonoma’s sprawling patio and feel transported into the gardens of California’s wine country — only with the added perk of sparkling ocean views. As you might expect, the wine garden offers a long and varied list of wines by the glass to sip as you watch the sky shift colors toward evening.

Rusty’s Surf Ranch

Make like a proper Cali beach bum and head to ultra-chill Rusty’s for prime Santa Monica beachfront views. Chow down on casual bar fare and gear up for sunset with happy hour specials like $5 margaritas and $3 barbecue pork sliders from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.