Capturing the Rhythm of
Downtown Santa Monica
Santa Monica Centric
Downtown Santa Monica's best beer bars
By Kevin Herrera

By now you've probably heard the news that craft beer is back in a big way. While it only comprises 12.7 percent of the U.S. beer market, production grew the most for microbreweries last year. People are guzzling it so much that sales of craft beer increased by 8 percent in 2017, up to $26 billion. Now that's a lot of suds.


Craft beer continues to infiltrate taps at your favorite watering hole, but it still can be hard to distinguish between a true craft brew and labels that have been purchased by the big guys and disguised to look craft. Fear not friends. Here's your guide to the best craft beer in Downtown Santa Monica. 


West 4th & Jane

1432A Fourth Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401



A cozy neighborhood beer bar that caters to fans of New York sports teams, West 4th & Jane (which gets its name from the iconic burger bar Corner Bistro, located at the corner of West 4th and Jane Street in Manhattan) tops the list of best beer spots in Downtown Santa Monica thanks to its dedication to sourcing the latest and greatest from breweries near and far. Their tap list features plenty of diversity, from lagers to stouts, to porters and Belgians — and even a spontaneously fermented sour on occasion. With 24 rotating taps, you're guaranteed to find something you love and discover a new label to hip your friends to.  


What I love most is they always seem to stay on trend, featuring styles that are of the moment, such as the hazy New England IPAs that are taking over taps. Every Thursday night they feature a guest brewery with affordable flights to help you expand your palate.


Make sure to check out their bottle list and the collection of cans in the freezer. You'll find some gems. For locals, it's worth it to buy into their Mug Club. For $100 a year you get an extra 9 ounces of beer every time you order a pint. After a few months of drinking, you've covered your investment and start earning dividends.


Oh yeah, their hot wings are pretty good too! Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to see what they're pouring.



Stout Burgers & Beer

111 Santa Monica Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA 90401



While their burgers take center stage, and rightfully so because they're delicious, Stout is definitely worth a visit for craft beer geeks. Hop heads will dig their selection as well as the open-air bar and dining area, which features patio seating perfect for soaking in those famous So-Cal sunsets. They have wild fermentation brews from the likes of Firestone and Smog City, traditional German lagers from the motherland, and some big bourbon barrel aged stouts that really ramp up that ABV to help you get your buzz on after a long week's worth of work. Their happy hour is on point, with 50% off all food Monday through Friday from 4pm-6pm. Fair warning: their beer is a tad pricey for the amount you get with some pours. They do have a late night happy hour though: $5 for most basic styles. Order one of their massive pretzels with the chipotle aioli and stone-ground mustard.



The Dudes Brewing

395 Santa Monica Place #304

Santa Monica, CA 90401



One of the more well-established craft brewers in the LA region, The Dudes Brewing has opened a tasting room and restaurant on the third-floor dining deck of Santa Monica Place. Here you'll be treated to over two dozen taps featuring their standard brews like the Double Trunk imperial IPA and the beer that helped put them on the map, Grandma's Pecan brown ale. If you dig beers with fruit infusions, they have plenty of them as part of their Juicebox Series. Hand-crafted individual pizzas and salads are on the menu, and you can grab cans to take home.



Esters Wine Shop & Bar

1314 Seventh Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401



Yeah, it says wine shop in the name, but Esters does have a small, but sufficient beer selection for on-site consumption or for drinking at home. This place is perfect for date night. Your wine lover can indulge on their fine selection of vino, while beer fans can get their sip on as well with a fresh can of suds from Mikkeller or a barrel aged sour from Dry River Brewing. The food mirrors fine dining in terms of preparation and presentation, but without all the pretense. For brunch buffs, you can find no better place for drinking the day away. Check out their social media channels for their special events and guest burger nights.



The Curious Palate 

395 Santa Monica Place 

Santa Monica, CA 90401



Known for their farm-to-table cuisine and their friendly, neighborhood vibe, The Curious Palate has a secret weapon at their disposal and that's their tap list of 20 locally sourced craft brews, ciders and potent kombucha. They only source from independent brewers so you won't find Coors, Budweiser or any other breweries bought out by the big boys but still masquerading as craft. The owners are two cool cats from the television production and agricultural engineering worlds who decided to open up a restaurant. Why, I will never understand since the restaurant biz is as tough as an overcooked baseball steak, but it is most likely because of their love and passion for food, beers, wine and conversation. Elliot Rubin (he's the red head of the duo) loves to chat about their ingredients and techniques and can go on for hours about the various styles of beer they serve. I love chopping it up with him everytime I visit. They're located on the third floor of Santa Monica Place next to the ArcLight so the next time you feel like catching a flick or do some shopping, please stop by. You will not regret it. My favorite dish is their pastrami Rueben sandwhich. It's tooooooooo delicious to put into words. I order it every time I'm there. Pair it with a oatmeal stout if you want to go big, or a hopped-up IPA. 




What will you be sipping on this weekend? Post and share with the hashtag #DTSantaMonica.


West 4th & Jane tops the list of best beer spots in Downtown Santa Monica thanks to its dedication to sourcing the latest and greatest from breweries near and far.

Kevin Herrera is a former journalist turned marketing and communication expert, beer enthusiast, cyclist, cultural observer/commentator and expert on all things Downtown Santa Monica. He is currently the sr. marketing & communication manager for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.