The concept may be inspired by seaside Southern Italy, but with its gorgeous views and trendy crowd Elephante’s vibe is pure Santa Monica. The Cal-Italian menu of pasta, pizza, and vegetables is approachable and fun, and the energy in the stylish space is always buzzing. Part of that buzz may be from the creative cocktail program, and from groups taking advantage of the option to upgrade any cocktail into a punch bowl. That means you can get a shareable serving of drinks like the tiki-ish rum, orgeat, nutmeg, and amaro-based Ship Wreck or the Other Side, with bourbon, watermelon, Salers, and bitters.
How to book: Reservations available through their website.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica, well really the 3rd Street Promenade, with this hidden gem. Serving up a menu of coastal Mediterranean favorites, this rooftop restaurant is everything you want a SaMo hot spot to be: good vibes, good music, and good drinks, with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. You also have the option of making any cocktail a small or large punchbowl, which sounds like the perfect way to celebrate with friends. The restaurant even bottles their own rosė. Yes, it’s that kind of scene.
If you’ve ever driven by Second St. on a Saturday evening, the line of tanned, toned 20-somethings milling around on the sidewalk are likely trying to get into Élephante—one of the neighborhood’s buzziest rooftop lounges. Pro tip: The easiest way to get past the doorman on a weekend is to make a reservation for dinner, when you can nosh on simple, light, wood-fired pizzas (get the gloriously cheesy cacio e pepe or honey-drizzled soppressata, a delicious vessel for salty cured pork and tomato) washed down with the bar’s Aperol spritzes and negronis. If day drinking is more your thing, this light-filled space serves up both unparalleled ocean vistas and tasty brunch options, like prosciutto scrambles and ricotta hotcakes.