Below the Victorian event space on Main Street in Santa Monica, the Basement Tavern bumps with live music and cool cocktails. The bar has shimmering chandeliers, blackboard menus, comfy couches and, though packed on weekends, more of a laid-back local vibe than you'll find elsewhere in these parts. The house-made ginger syrup shines in the Basement Burro, a delicious take on the Moscow Mule. The bar's owners plans to incorporate more craft beers and beer cocktails in the future, but they say they'll remain true to their swanky but relaxed roots. 2640 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 396-2469,

—Katharine Gammon

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