After a lovely evening of dinner and drinks at the California Yacht Club, my friend Kevin and I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were dressed to the nines so we went for cocktails at Casa Del Mar’s Veranda Bar in Santa Monica.
I haven’t been to the Veranda Bar in ages because their specialty cocktails are overpriced. But since Kevin was buying…. On a Saturday night after 11, the place was buzzing and yet not too crowded. We were still able to find a nice table for two with a view of the Santa Monica Boardwalk.
Once settled into our wicker chairs, we surveyed the elegant surroundings of palm fronds, plush couches and warm lighting. The opulent 1920s architecture was right out of a Fitzgerald novel. At the next table a group of 30-something friends popped a couple of champagne bottles with glee.
After studying the specialty cocktail list I went for the lychee cocktail ($13). I’ve had a really good one before at Zazen (now Bite Sushi) in Venice. It was sweet with even a little lychee fruit as a garnish. But this one was bland in comparison. Very mild, not too sweet. No lychee garnish, just a sad little maraschino cherry resting at the bottom of the glass. Boo on presentation.
But when I took a sip of Kevin’s gimlet, I instantly wished I ordered that instead. Mmm, and I never really met a gimlet that I liked before. They usually taste too alcohol-y but this was almost sweet.
Next drink for me was the chocolate martini ($13), of course. One word: Disappointing! It arrived at our table looking not very chocolatey at all. A white creamy-looking drink with a swirl of chocolate syrup at the bottom of the glass. The menu says they put the usual vanilla Stoli and Godiva liqueur which is normally fine but it wasn’t that potent or rich in flavor. Not like a good chocolate martini. And I don’t know what else they added to it to make it curdle. After five minutes, I was looking at an unappealing site of curdled cream in my martini glass.
Although their cockails are bleh and overpriced to boot, the Veranda Bar is still a great place to go if you want to impress a date. Once you waltz your date through the entrance, ascend the marble staircase and walk into that huge room overlooking the beach, you’re golden. Afterward, you can end the evening with a romantic stroll along the beach toward the boardwalk.
1910 Ocean Way
Santa Monica, California 90405
Cross Street: Pico Boulevard