The Westside dining scene snagged a shot in the arm last year, thanks to new eateries from Roy Choi, Brendan Collins, Josie LeBalch, David LeFebvre, Kris Tominaga, and Brian Dunsmoor, among others. While the majority of Main Street Santa Monica's patrons might still be graduating from Natural Light to their first Racer 5, the remake of World Cafe into Areal has finally taken the region's cocktails up to the Hollywood high bar, big ice and all, thanks to the infusion of a brilliant bartender in the land of Circle Bar and Rick's Tavern.
Former Big Bar, Black Market, and Harvard & Stone bartender Mia Sarazen is now ruling the roost here, working aside partner Rich Andreoli. The development brings the seaside masterfully-crafted cocktails that see spirits shine in original and traditional creations. The drinks are straightforward, steady, and with the aforementioned glaciers of ice, vastly improve the cocktail experience, even over the few who have already made impressions around here.
Our tastes run towards Sarazen's "Anejo Old-Fashioned," sounding out with a spritz of grapefruit essence that teeters on the nose, while creole bitters conspire with white whiskey in a smashing "White Wedding," and Del Maguey mezcal mingles with pineapple gomme in a smokey "Single Village Fix."
The best time to swig some Sarazen these days might be the bar's new happy hour, which offers three familiar cocktails for six dollars, wine for six bucks, and craft beers for four dollars, Tuesday through Friday, 4:00-7:00 P.M. In addition, a menu of small plates like grass-fed sliders and moules frites is served, with nary a dish going over the four-dollar mark.
See the bar's full happy hour menu below and if you're ever parched on Main Street, you can currently do no better, if a well-balanced cocktail happens to be what cures you.
Areal, 2820 Main St, Santa Monica.
Happy Hour at Areal
Franziskanner "Hefe" Hefeweizen
North Coast Scrimshaw
Stone Ruination Double IPA
Wine and Bubbles $6
Paul Dolan Chardonnay
Parducci Pinot Noir
Toad Hollow Sparkling Wine
Zucchini fritter with tzatziki $3
Grass fed beef slider, cheddar $2
Oysters on the Half Shell $2 each
Moules frites $4
Mini sausage socca $4
Turkey slider,with cranberry aioli $2
Truffle fries $3
Chickpea fries, with daily spread $3