When June Gloom is in effect, Santa Monica's marine layer isn't all that attractive to be around. It does, however, burn off by afternoon -- and certainly by Happy Hour -- and therefore, there could be worse places to spend an LA Date Night than alongside the Pacific Ocean. Oh, and you're just in time for the sunset!
Fig: It's the Happy Hour not enough people know about -- Fig at Five, wherein the entire menu is half-off from 5pm to 6pm, Tuesday through Saturday. And, yes, that includes the cocktail menu. It's an excellent opportunity to exercise your palate (without exercising your wallet) via Fig's seasonal-conscious menu. From razor clams with chorizo to sweetbreads with pickled mushrooms, Fig's cooking is both daring and comforting. The best deal of all is arguably the $25 "charcuterie sampling," whose price of course is then slashed in half. And the outdoor patio? One of the best in town.
Fig, 101 Wilshire Boulevard, at Ocean Avenue (310-319-3111 or figsantamonica.com)
Michael's: While the sun sets behind you, walk east on Wilshire Boulevard, and just beyond Third Street Promenade is the LA institution, circa 1979, Michael's. Trust, it is still cool to go to Michael's. There's a lounge now, and something called "mixology" is happening inside. Michael's is very much keeping up with its liquor-shaking cronies, calling their libation movement, "farm to glass." The Wilbur's Nemesis sounds awfully nutritious; think Maker's Mark bacon reduction with apple whiskey, Bulleit rye, bitters and torched applewood-smoked bacon.
Michael's, 1147 Third Street, at Wilshire Boulevard (310-451-0843 or michaelssantamonica.com)
Musha: Feeling a little lit? Perfect! Barely two blocks away is a rowdy izakaya you've likely never noticed. Adjacent to Wahoo's Fish Tacos is Musha, a cramped and boisterous Japanese tapas joint. They serve Asahi Black, which gets our approval instantly. To eat, there's plenty of cutesy foods to share -- from Ponzu Duck to Tofu French Fries. Then, of course, you can opt for the Shichirin, a table-top charcoal griller, to cook up strips of steak for your lover.
Musha, 424 Wilshire Boulevard, at Fifth Street (310-576-6330 or musha.us)
More Date Night: Let There Be Nightlife on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills