Where to find the best live music in Santa Monica

See recent posts by Lesley Bracker

Exterior of Harvelle's in Santa Monica, CA


When visiting a new city, it’s always fun to check out the local music scene. While Los Angeles is famous for its clubs on the Sunset Strip, there are also some great places to see live music near the beach. There’s something here for everyone: jazz, blues, indie bands, you name it! It’s also an excellent way to get to know the locals and make new friends. Here are three places to check out in Santa Monica if live music is on your agenda for the evening:

Angel’s Supper Club – Although just opened last summer, this intimate piano bar/supper club has the feel of a speakeasy that’s been around since the twenties. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time once you enter its ornate but cozy room with cool jazz and vintage drink recipes (absinthe decanters set the tone). Their happy hour lasts from 6-8pm (and all night Tuesday), and can’t be beat: $5 well & wine, $6 margaritas & mojitos, and $12 sangria pitchers. The menu changes, but there’s nothing over $15. Their Angel’s House Fries with aoli sauce are an excellent standby. Stay at the nearby Ambrose, which even offers a free shuttle for easing commuting! 2460 Wilshire Boulevard, (310) 828-2115

Harvelle’s – This is the oldest live music venue on the westside – established in 1931 – and is a staple in the Santa Monica nightlife scene. Known mostly for its live blues bands, this where you want to get your boogie on. Harvelle’s is super casual, and attracts both nearby UCLA students and Hollywood professionals alike. The doormen are incredibly friendly, and if you come alone, they may even instigate introductions with fellow patrons. Dance until closing and you’ll be smiling the next day. Great for guests staying at the nearby Georgian Hotel, which is just a short work away. 1432 4th St, (310) 395-1676

Dakota – This is the place to go for live acoustic music. Even more low key than Harvelle’s, this neighborhood spot also features a Salsa night every Thursday (lessons are available), and a weekly karaoke nights as well. But they are most known for the fantastic singer songwriters that they book, so this is guaranteed to be an excellent 2nd (or 3rd) date venue. Cover charge is $10. A quick ride down the road from The Fairmont Miramar and Huntley hotels. 1026 Wilshire Boulevard, (310) 393-8200

– Lesley Bracker

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