This casual, loft like Santa Monica restaurant has a New York City feel without Manhattan price tags. A large, square room, it feels like your coolest friend’s apartment, with loungey music and flatscreen TVs and a projector broadcasting hoops (when there’s no game, they show Bruce Lee movies).
Overwhelmingly helpful servers guide you through a list of $10 cocktails, like a Bubblelicious-flavored Zentini (Absolut Berry, muddled lime, and grated cinnamon), or the now standard Lychee Martini, mixed about as perfectly as they come.
Waiters suggest pairings from a solid wine list, with many available by the glass. They’ll even bring over some samples to test out. Beers ranging from ironic (PBR) to excellent (Allagash) flesh out the bar’s offerings.
No one does classic American comfort food like this place. Shells and cheese is satisfying and over-the-top, with a mix of asiago, goat, Irish white cheddar, and mozzarella covered by a crunchy parmesan crust. The BLT is the best you’ll ever have: thick cuts of pastrami-spiced bacon, butter lettuce, and green tomato, with sweet corn aioli on focaccia. Beef carpaccio is another winner.