Must-Try

Happy Hour to Hit: The Independence in Santa Monica

By Lesley Balla  |  March 4, 2015
Credit: The Independence

Cocktail master Vincenzo Marianella makes his mark once again at The Independence, Santa Monica's newest drinking den and restaurant. Having created unique beverage programs for places like Copa d'Oro, which happens to be a block away, Providence and Valentino, Marienella is known for his culinary perspective for what goes into the glass. Here, it's blending rhubarb and elderflower liqueurs with bourbon and mezcal for the Wolfskill, or cilantro, white grape juice, gin and sparkling wine for the Palms. Leaning toward the sweet side, there's the Bundy made with rye whiskey, almond liqueur, orange bitters and chocolate ice cream. 

What makes the new happy hour so special here are the off-menu cocktails, like the Arnaz made with tequila and cherry liqueur; the Sherman with scotch, Aperol, grapefruit bitter and sweet vermouth; and the refreshing Laurel Canyon with gin, lime, honey ginger and egg white. Those and a few others are only $5-$6 depending on the drink. There's also a small selection of bar bites, like Cincinatti chili sliders, oysters, and hangar steak with chimichurri or glazed octopus skewers, all for $2-$5. Plus, happy hour starts early (3-7 PM) and includes weekends (Tuesday through Sunday). Triple bonus.