West Coast (Cocktail) Swing: Areal, Santa Monica
Next on our West Coast (Cocktail) Swing of LA cocktail spots is Areal, on Main Street in Santa Monica. If you live in LA, then my guess is a large inviting patio, stringed lights, and live acoustic guitar on a Monday night during happy hour is nothing to get excited about; but if you’re from anywhere else in the entire country then this set up seems ideal.
It’s laid back, and a lovely spot to watch pedestrians stroll through Santa Monica. It’s not a cocktail mecca, but we’ll give a nod to any establishment that a) has a legit happy hour b) is less than 1/2 a mile from the ocean AND c) has a solid cocktail list (solid–and affordable–classics and creative–and still affordable–house specialties). Areal had all three. Oh, and our waitress doubled as a back up singer for the acoustic performer. This was charming, and also a bit problematic when we needed to pay our bill.
What We Ordered
(in addition to everything from their well-priced happy hour food)
Portrait of Dorian Grey: early grey tea infused bourbon, cocchi americano, grapefruit liqueur, lemon bitters
What Else We Wanted to Order
(had it not been 5pm after a day of sunshine and little water)
Hotel Nacional: Flor de Cana rum, apricot, lime, pineapple
Spitfire: Armagnac, peach, lemon, sauvignon blanc, egg white
What We Thought
Bourbon and I have an open relationship. I really like it, but I need some other players still in the mix to make it palatable. I know, I know, this docks several serious cocktail points from me. The Portrait of Dorian Grey fit the bill, combining Bourbon with things I love: grapefruit, check; tea, check; and cocchi, check! We’re not certain the bartenders know they chose a tragic name for what is actually a sweet and smooth drink, but $10 for a cocktail in LA is quite a steal.