A friend was throwing an impromptu gettogether at Wilshire Restaurant. I had never been and quickly researched it, cuz, you know, that’s my thing. Hmm, organic food. That doesn’t sound like the usual sort of place where her and her friends like to hang. They like Hollywood “hot spots” i.e. the Cabana Club, LAX and Avalon. Why would they go to this former brats-and-beer German restaurant in Santa Monica for drinks? All the city guides that reviewed it raved about the menu and back patio but never said a word about the bar scene.
The wine list spotlights organic and biodynamic bottles. Hipsters love the setting, which includes fireplaces, a multilevel cigar lounge, and a huge alfresco dining area with towering trees and fountains. Dining with a conscience never felt so sinful.
But I found out why this was the watering hole du jour as soon as I walked in. The designer behind fab WeHo restaurants, Koi and O-Bar, did up this place. A brick wall covered with votive candles casted a warm flattering amber glow throughout the room. There were chocolate brown leather sofas and ottomans everywhere. And as soon as my two girlfriends and I swished through the door, a crowd of both young and old gave us the once-over and then turned back to their drinks.
It definitely had a Hollywood feel with respect to the attitude-y scenesters, but the occasional groups of old(er) men checking out the ladies around the bar made it feel very Santa Monica. The bar crowd was mixed with the collection of cute gay guys at the bar, the gaggle of PYTs lounging on the couches, the gang of urban cougars circling the room and the herd of gray-haired businessmen hovering by the door, all with the purpose of seeing and being seen…oh, and waiting for their dinner tables to open up.
Not feeling too lovely myself, I wasn’t up for this place. But the girls seemed to enjoy it and if I had known that I should have dressed for Sky Bar instead of a Santa Monica organic foodie restaurant, I might have, too. Nah! At least, the old guy with the stringy gray hair done up in a ponytail didn’t seem to mind my none-too-hip attire.In any case, here’s the quick and dirty: appetizers run from $6 olives to $8 truffled potato chips to a $15 cheese plate; Jack & Coke will cost you $10; valet is $5.50.
And as I had mentioned above, guides like LA.com and CalendarLive love the food and say the back patio scene is a must-do, especially for a date night. Very romantic apparently.
2454 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, California 90403
Cross Street: 25th Street
Bar hours: Mon-Sat 5 pm-1 am
Sunday 5 pm-10 pm