Stop 1: Sunset Cocktails @ Onyx Rooftop Bar
Tourists dangerously rattle their Birds through Santa Monica’s picturesque Ocean Ave traffic as you step out to the front entrance of The Shangri-La Hotel. A gorgeous reminder of art deco days from long ago you open the front doors to see a welcoming elevator porter ask if you’re heading to the roof. “Of course” is your obvious answer as you step into the golden vertical chariot. The doors open to the sound of classic music and an uproar of pre-sunset cheer. Your first sight is the glowing bar and a lounge fit for something out of Prince’s house in MN. Scouring the cocktail menu you’re not surprised by the sticker shock but glad they’re delivering on the goods. For sheer entertainment value you decide on a Starman, a Moscow Mule-esque mixture with nitrogen ice. As you step onto the outside deck you take your first sip, almost as refreshing as the ocean mist kissing your cheeks. Maneuvering your way to a cozy seat in the “tree” room or parking it besides the fire pit you cant help but strike up a conversation with those around you. Friendly folks from out of town or locals showing their friends around the vibe is as mellow as is the huge of sunlight beaming against the reflective windows. As darkness descends on Santa Monica’s burgeoning night scene you decide it is time to descend to a cavernous bar for bites and beautiful drinks.
Stop 2: Bar Bites & Perfectly Made Concoctions @ The Misfit
The newly darkened air surrounding Santa Monica’s downtown buzzes with excitement. Within the promenade melee are couples scurrying to their dinner reservations, tourist families looking for their post beach hotel rooms and single bros looking for their midnight kiss. Laughing at the scene you duck into the classic confines of The Misfit just in time to beat the party rush. Settling at the bar you’re welcomed by the manly, yet attentive, mixologists prepared to make your cocktailing dreams come true. A dash of tinctures, a long pour of spirits and more than a few aggressive shakes and you’re sitting pretty with a Goodnight Emilee or a fan favorite Jumping Jack Flash. The high ceiling matches the level of the vibrant atmosphere surrounding your small space at the busy bar. Eventually you order some elevated bar bites like the melt in your mouth nik niks or incredibly savory jidori chicken skewers. With several cocktails going down as easy as the conversation with your “private” bartender the night melds into the later hours without you even noticing. As the clock strikes 11pm it will mark your time to head to a more vibrant location.
Stop 3: Thunderbulge! @ Westside Comedy Theater
“Are we going the right way?” your friends unanimously agree that you couldn’t possibly be going to your next stop. The dark alleyway you’re walking down welcomes all sorts of nefarious beings lurking around every corner but most importantly it’s home of your next stop the Westside Comedy Theater. After grabbing your ticket from the window you pass through the door into a one-room laugh factory that will transform in the next hour. Your first stop is the bar to grab a tall can of Mexican lager or a glass of house wine. Within moments the battle for reserving the perfect seat begins, luckily your friend jumped ahead and reserved a few in the front row. You’ll reluctantly thank him later. With your beer in hand you take your seat just as the lights dim. The “Thunderbulge” intro begins as a TV explains a “boner storm” is coming with a harmonious uproar from the crowd. Not 5 minutes later are you confronted with half naked men dancing in unison inviting dollar bills and candy to be thrown on stage. The next few hours is a free for all of improv genius, naughty audience games, whip cream peer pressure and ultimately the questioning of your own sexuality. As the show comes to a close you are exhausted with happiness and proud you made it through. The shirtless men ask you on stage to take photos as the crowd cheers the awkward few to take a chance. After a sweaty hug and laughs from your friends you exit onto the quiet alleyway to confront your friends and your own life. What just happened?