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So you managed to squeeze in at Gjelina, Tasting Kitchen, Salt Air, Axe or one of the other high-priced hot spots on Abbot Kinney for dinner. Bully for you! But $150 later, your meal is done, and you'd better believe they want that table back. So what's a thirsty couple to do? Head to Willie Jane, of course! One of the best restaurants on this hipper-than-thou block also has a surprisingly swell, and generously sized, bar to keep the party going. Darkly lit, romantic and lively all at once, it boasts a superb list of craft cocktails, genuinely nice barkeeps and surprisingly swift service. We're positively obsessed with the Smoke, which combines rye, Fernet Branca, lemon and smoked honey for $12. (They even burn some hickory and trap the smoke in the glass, which adds an extra note to the drink.) There's also a communal table — which makes much more sense in a bar than in the usual awkward dinner context — and a lounge area, so even on crowded nights, you can usually score a seat. That's more than we can say about most places in the neighborhood. —Sarah Fenske

1031 Abbot Kinney, Venice, 90291. (310)392-2425, williejane.com.

LA Weekly