Even before the Central Social Aid & Pleasure Club closed earlier this year, Trip was shaping up to be the best venue in Santa Monica. While there are other worthy contenders on the Westside — such as the intimate blues bastion Harvelle's, rockin' martini lounge Liquid Kitty, venerable R&B landmark the Mint and folk-roots oasis McCabe's — the beer-&-wine bar Trip presents a wider variety of entertainment, in a laid-back, unpretentious setting. A typical week's bookings encompass everything from indie rock, punk, reggae, Latin and folk to weekly burlesque and comedy nights. The bar is a hangout for Chicago Bears fans, and there's a pool table and a cool jukebox. But what separates Trip from the rest is that it's open seven nights a week — and every show is free. 2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 396-9010, tripsantamonica.com. —Falling James
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