Walk Amongst the Giants of Old in Santa Monica

Stop 1: Cocktails and Apps @ Elephante

You almost miss the tiny entrance to the aptly named Elephante amongst the 2nd street post work, tourist and Birding crowds. With your name on the reservation list you sneak up the elevator in style popping out to the welcomed scene. Stone walls, massive succulents, and perfectly melded furniture grace every inch of your peripherals as you are shown to your table. The beautiful people sipping mezcal cocktails and lounging in the golden hour sun resemble a film set more so than a restaurant. A feeling you mock at first but slowly, and happily, become a part of. Your waitress catches your attention to get your order as you’re lost in the scene. An “Elephante” cocktail paired with acorn squash, farro and candied pistachio veggies plus a margherita pizza easily escapes your mouth as if you’ve been here before. The crowd slowly builds as the music guides the scene into the sunset. Sipping your flower laced concoction between bites of sweet squash and savory pie you become part of the scene that now is more of a home. Time flies while worries are abandoned…then you realize the show is about to begin. Good thing the theater is 25 paces below.

Stop 2: Dip into a Doc. @ Laemmle Monica

Taking the quick U-turn into Laemmle Monica enters you into the pleasantly sized and stylishly welcome theater. Of course you stop at the concession stand to grab a bucket of popcorn and two glasses of wine before scurrying to your dark oasis.. Once inside you realize there’s rooms in mansions not too far away that have copied the aesthetics and furniture. A feeling so welcomed as you plop into the plush lounger chair amongst 30 other fans. The theaters line up is usually an eclectic mix of docs and foreign films, this night you delve into the female warriors of the Nicaraguan Sandinista and Contra revolutions, Las Sandinistas!. An emotional journey that ends with you thinking why you didn’t learn more about this in school. When the film ends and the applause comes to a close you’re lucky enough to have a Q&A with the director and producers, your time to ask any pressing conundrums. After questions are fielded and comments taken in you’ll be ready to have a stroll through town. An opportunity to discuss the matters in your own group.

Stop 3: Classy Cocktails and Convo @ Chez Jay

The cool ocean air accompanies you along the walk to Chez Jay. Lost in conversation you almost step into oncoming traffic and bump into the odd drunk college kid but enlightened from your last 90 minutes you cant help but delve into meaningful conversation. Approaching the Dutch doors of the classic haunt you notice that it’s packed. Quickly you’re relieved knowing the reservation you made is still held. Settling inside under black and white photos of yesteryear the awning conjures up feelings of either street side dining in France or a carnival tent you can’t help but laugh at the scene. Is it a dive bar? Is it a classy joint? Regardless it’s a historic landmark and some of the patrons have been drinking there since before you were born. Steeped in cultural insanity everything from elephants at the bar on the opening night to Sinatra taking over booth 10 to peanuts going to the moon with Alan Shepard, this place has seen more than most drinking establishments. With a martini or beer in hand it’s easy to sink into laughter along with the music. It’s a weekend and all that popcorn didn’t fill you up so you order a patty melt before scarfing handfuls of peanuts. Pleasantly stuffed into a booth the night’s conversation glides along like a Rat Pack melody, a time old tradition of the joint, then your patty melt arrives. Is the best yet to come? You decide.

Follow the date agenda because everyone needs more elephants in their lives.