Stop 1: Stiff Drinks @ The Speak Easy
The final strange stretch of Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica stick out like a sore thumb among the beautiful beach towns new facade. “I hope this falls on the dark dive bar end of the spectrum.” your buddy says as you cautiously walk up to the Prohibition style mural gracing the outside of your first stop, Speak Easy Cocktail. Once you step foot inside a verbal “oh yeah” comes from that same friend. An older pool table to the right has been befriended by middle aged couples while a few old friends share classic rock deep cuts on the far end of the bar. A few hipsters sip Coors banquet along side an old crooner watching his favorite driver in the Nascar highlights. The hodgepodge of human is the perfect back drop for your nights first few drinks with your friends. A few beers, a few wines and a round of tequila shots somehow make it to your pleather booth as you take turns rushing to the juke box to anti up on the next minutes mood. The exponentially booming conversation becomes increasingly more fun in the moment. Eventually you’ve made friends with the Scottish bar maden Ruth and are chatting up the karaoke KJ between sips of your latest cocktail. When you all have a turn paying the pauper for a round and the music’s been overtaken by a new group to the bar, it’ll be the time to soak up that alcohol with a little grease.
Stop 2: NY Slices @ Milo SRO
The night’s ocean haze masks the older worn down apartments and single level motels of this corridor as you walk along the gentrifying row. Once you land at the bottom of the hill a shining beacon of pizza proportions screams out to enter Milo SRO. Instantly you’re transported into a haven for hipster cheese fans as you scour the counters delicious options. Tangy BBQ, meat lovers, Sicilian and the very curious fancy white pizzas all catch your eye as you rock to the hip hop vibes and soak into the colorful décor. Picking out your favorite 2 option you score a spot at the counter and realize the SRO in the name truly means, standing room only. After a few minutes your freshly crisped slices are met vocal “mmm” and “yummm”s while you decide if you’re going to opt for a gluten free tiramisu dessert.
Stop 3: Live Tunes @ Tr!p Santa Monica
The windowed façade of Tr!p Santa Monica only catches your eye because it doesn’t match much of your typical beach town vibes. As you pass into the single room beer bar the mellow situation makes you feel like that time in college when you dated a guy in a band and you would hang at his practices. Groups of friends and couples sip wine and beer while chilling out to the band of the evening. Classic covers and sound mishaps are all part of the game as you sip on a local IPA and hang by the pool table. Within no time the vibe of the joint turns into an upbeat party as people cocktails meld with their personalities. Hit the dance floor and play a game of pool between sets of songs you somewhat of remember. Rock out and grab a few rounds while making new friends in the music dive. In no time you’ll feel part of the random scene you’ve driven past for years.