Bars in Santa Monica

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Beyond a façade of black-painted bricks blasted by a bright-red sunburst, M.i.'s Westside Comedy Theater's laughter authorities train up-and-coming comedians in the art of forcing other people to laugh. The theater opened in 2009, 11 years after six comedians from the touring group Mission Improvable moved from Massachusetts to Chicago to continue training in the art of the extemporaneous. Now, 50 members strong, Mission Improvable helps students hone their comedic instincts during weekly classes, performances, and pie-throwing workshops. Instructors have imported a grounded, distinctly Chicagoan comedic sensibility to the West Coast, building improv courses on Viola Spolin's seminal, creativity-unlocking theater games and standup classes on students' own experiences and observations.

1323 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica,
CA
US

As Karie Bible strides across Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the hem of her mourning gown absorbs dew from the gravesites of Douglas Fairbanks and Jayne Mansfield. She tours the cemetery for a living, leading groups to crypts and monuments that mark the remains of deceased celebrities. Whether recounting the legacy of actress Marion Davies or kneeling at the spike of grass that marks Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's final resting place, she immerses tour-goers in Hollywood history. Each tour lasts about two hours and sheds light on cherished stars, as well as lesser-known entertainers and community members.

6000 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles,
CA
US

Whether they're seated in an oversized booth in the dining room or splitting a plate with nearby pelicans on the outdoor patio, Killer Cafe grants its diners picturesque views of the sparkling marina. Eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes are among the caf?'s morning fare. These dishes can be accompanied by fresh-squeezed juices, fruit smoothies, espresso drinks, and brunch cocktails. Later in the day, the menu is filled with loaded salads, and hearty burgers and entrees to indulge appetites from morning until late night.

4213 Admiralty Way
Marina Del Rey,
CA
US

“We like to drink wine. Not so much sniff it, stare at it, swirl it, or try to describe it with funny words.” Let that quote from the owners be proof that you won’t find an ounce of pretension at Bodega. In the living-room-inspired lounge, patrons order wine by the glass and share small plates.

814 Broadway
Santa Monica,
CA
US

Fiesta Cantina serves up a menu of tasty Mexican-style eats and throat deparchers in a festive space lined with high-definition TVs. Fix competition-craving eyes on a sportive game or a live UFC fight while mouths focus on chicken-filled Santa Monica rolls ($6) or the tres amigos dip platter, a posse of guacamole, queso, black bean dip and hot or mild salsa served with fresh corn tortilla chips ($8).

30 Washington Blvd
Venice,
CA
US

Nikki's creative assortment of tasty appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees lays the foundation for a bevy of specialty beach beverages. Treat your table to a plate of Nikki's homemade nachos, piled high with beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole ($8, add chicken or steak for an extra $3), or devour four pint-sized sliders ($12) with your choice of protein to pave the food pipes for a savory entree. For dinner, get your grabbers on a 72 Market burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and red onion ($11), or skillfully fold your green thumbs around a veggie wrap stuffed with seasoned and grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini in a sun-dried tomato tortilla with jack cheese ($11). Classic comfort food such as meatloaf served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes ($14) will make diners feel even cozier when blanketed with another matured childhood favorite: strawberry lemonade made with Absolut Citron vodka ($10). Top everything off with The Half Baked, a half-pound, barely baked chocolate-chip cookie-dough base topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup ($6), just like everyone's favorite substitute teacher.

72 Market St
Venice,
CA
US