From the July 2011 issue of Entrepreneur

Copa D'Oro | Santa Monica, Calif.

Step into Santa Monica's Copa d'Oro and it's obvious what matters: cocktails and conversation. For the first, a distinguished bar nearly as long as the room, accented by backlit displays of spirits and gleaming arrangements of fruits, vegetables and herbs. For the second, the absence of distracting screens; instead, a beat-driven soundtrack just loud enough to encourage lively chatter among the stylish late-twenty- and early-thirtysomething regulars from the local startup scene.

The soft lighting and antique metal-wood-leather scheme makes Copa a winner on looks alone, but cash-conscious entrepreneurs will appreciate the bar all the more for its extended happy hour--5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and all night Monday--featuring $5 cocktails, $6 paninis and $7 appetizers.

Copa is busy without the hassle, has a simple menu and is "quiet enough but still cool," says Patricia Handschiegel, serial entrepreneur and founder of Chic Market.

"Even if you can afford it, everyone loves a deal," she says. "And I always try to keep my overhead as low as possible." 

Order like a regular: Let the cocktail-savvy bartenders serve up a just-for-you drink. Pick a spirit and customize with a selection of farmers-market-fresh ingredients.
Go: 217 Broadway; (310) 576-3030; copadoro.com

The Best Bar to...
Show Off Your Classic Style in Louisville, Ky.
Celebrate a Big Win in Las Vegas
Hang With Hipsters in Portland, Ore,
Hide Out in Safe Haven in Nashville, Tenn.
Get Some Work Done in Seattle
Rub Elbows With a VC in New York
Rent a Stylish Meeting Space in Boston
Find a Behind-the-Bar Mentor in allas
Get Green Inspiration in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Get the Business Scoop From a Bartender in San Francisco
Related Articles
Bar Keep: How a Bar Becomes Your Own
Five Businesses Born at a Bar
Business and a Beer: An Entrepreneur Roundtable
Tips for Making Pub Quizzes a Team-Building Success
Knowledge on Tap: The Business of a Beer Sommelier