No need for a flux capacitor or malfunctioning hot tub: Soda Jerks, the old-fashioned soda fountain at the Santa Monica Pier, takes you back to your childhood — and then some. A throwback to the '20s and '30s, the counter features sundaes, shakes, malts, phosphates and more, all made by hand. Decor, fixtures, fountain and mixers are all vintage, and uniforms are true to the era. And with the fountain right beside the pier's original 1916 carousel, you can sit at the counter and enjoy your egg cream while the painted ponies fly by. Treats feature locally famous Fosselman's ice cream, so go ahead, order something whimsical — like The Whimsical, a doubly devilish sundae, or better yet, a Dipsy Doodle Phosphate with made-to-order orange, cherry, lemon and lime soda, for no more than it would cost you to get a Vitamin Water at the gas station. Or if you want the experience without the calories, get a simple soda water: the Two Cents Plain. Yes, you can actually buy something for two cents in 2013. 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. (310) 393-7632,

—Eve Weston

LA Weekly