The scene in Knocked Up where Paul Rudd's character is on Ecstasy and can't choose among various chairs comes to mind when navigating the 17 seating options of the Casa del Mar lobby bar's vast, jaw-dropping atrium. Do I sit in the comfortable couch by the books in the library area, or the wicker chair at a dining table? Do I choose a view of the fireplace, or the ocean? Gorgeous waitresses will occasionally bug you for your order, but they're just as friendly when you say no. “Let me know, sir, if you change your mind.” Why would we change our minds, when the coffee's $5? There's no free Wi-Fi and not an outlet to be found, but for the two hours that your Powerbook's battery can hang on for dear life, soak in the inspiration from one of the city's most gorgeous rooms. 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica. (310) 581-5533,

—Zachary Pincus-Roth

LA Weekly