SANTA MONICA COCKTAIL LOUNGE SOARS
Part cool cocktail lounge meets edgy nightclub, Canary is redefining the laidback Santa Monica nightlife landscape.
Get there early and it’s a chill cocktail lounge perfect to enjoy lively libations. But weekend nights can get clubby with lines of revelers waiting to get in all the way down the street.
Canary, presented by Pacific Coast Hospitality, is billed as a cocktail-driven lounge with an inviting tropical floral and luxe décor. Its aim is to provide a unique and sophisticated experience. Touted mixologist Devon Espinosa created the cocktail menu, which slants towards tropical inspired drinks. Canary aptly brings a new look and feel to the chic beach community.
The drinks aren’t cheap at Canary as the average cocktail goes for about $18. In my book, that means they better be serving damn good stiff drinks. The cocktails don’t quite justify that price point but it all plays into the look, feel and attitude that the space is going for. Personally, I feel if I’m paying $20 for a drink, then I’d rather be at The Raymond 1886 in Pasadena or The NoMad or Death & Co. in downtown L.A. Maybe this is just the nightlife destination that Santa Monica needs.
If you play nice with the powers that be, maybe you’ll score an invite into B Side, Canary’s swank speakeasy, which is reserved for high rollers and celebrities to enjoy rare and vintage spirits and wines.
Instagrammers will definitely want to order the Gran Canaria made with rum, lemon, passion fruit, yellow chartreuse, angostura, and mint for posting purposes as it comes in great glassware. Sure, the drink is tart and very easy to drink, but the presentation is just lovely.
The Viva Sandia with tequila blanco, aperol, lemon, angostura, and watermelon juice was right up my alley. It also makes for a great photo opp. Pro tip: substitute mezcal for tequila and enjoy a better earthier and smokier cocktail.
The Angry Bird made with mezcal, lime, Ancho Reyes, mango, and tajin is a nice mezcal drink, albeit slightly spicy.
Props on the Off White made with Pandan-infused rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple, and Thai basil.
It is very easy drinking, very light, and a clever Piña Colada riff.
While the La Frambuesa, a mix of vodka, Bonal, lime, raspberries, and angostura, is light and easy, it came across as too pricey for a vodka drink.
Another creative and pleasing cocktail is the Fantasma with Vida Mezcal, mole, orange blossom water, honey, jalapeño, lime, and chareau.
With weekend nights creating a buzz with big crowds, the Sunday Jazz Night series seems like the fun and relaxed way to go with a mix of top industry musicians delivering the goods and you never know who will show up as special guests.
Canary is a beautiful hotspot. Space does get limited as tables often are reserved for bottle service but if you can get in then you should be in for a fun and festive night out.
Canary is located at 1301 5th Street in Santa Monica. Open Wednesday - Friday from 5pm to 2am and Saturday and Sunday from 8pm to close. Call 310-451-2221.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography By: Robbie Snader