Santa Monica has a split personality. On the one hand, it's beachy and laid-back: No shirt? No shoes? No problem. On the other hand, it's tony: Montana Avenue boasts upscale shops and high-end restaurants. The best bar in Santa Monica should be a perfect melding of these two worlds, and that's the perfect way to describe Bar Chloe. Entering the bar — located a stone's throw from the beach and Third Street Promenade — you step into a low-lit room with chandeliers and candles. Inside the cozy interior, patrons in upscale casual attire mingle in parties and pairs. Bar Chloe, with its seat-yourself policy, is warmer and more welcoming than Santa Monica's “exclusive” hotel bars. Meanwhile, its well-mixed cocktail list, with a new special monthly, is to die for but with prices that won't make you keel over. —Eve Weston
1449 Second St., Santa Monica, 90401. (310) 899-6999, barchloe.com.