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