Sliders, sweet potato fries and cocktails are among the happy hour offerings at Shangri-La’s Suite 700, which overlooks Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Pier. Photo from Shangri-La

Santa Monica is known for its ocean, its diverse culture, and a seemingly unending stream of nightlife options. There are also fixtures that have been a part of the city’s culture for decades. One of those fixtures is the illustrious Shangri-La Hotel.

Located directly across from Palisades Park and blocks from the Santa Monica Pier, this hotel oozes relaxed sophistication and the old Hollywood charm that is synonymous with Los Angeles. Having undergone a $30 million renovation, the newly improved hotel and its dining options are spectacular.

There are three options for happy hour and dining: the poolside, the dining room, and the exquisite penthouse rooftop bar, Suite 700. In this article I am focusing on Suite 700 though both alternatives on the property are so beautifully presented, I’d also encourage you to explore both the poolside and dining room while you’re there.

The penthouse was, at one point, a fully functioning penthouse suite as a part of the hotel but as renovations began, the hotel decided to make one penthouse – the creme de la creme of rooms, #700 – a rooftop bar. The views are panoramic and breathtaking from every side. On just about any given day, you can see the Santa Monica Pier while sipping a glass of your favorite wine or experimenting with an in-house gastronomy cocktail like “Berry Apropos.”

The happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and features a fanciful selection of fine wines, brews, and a healthy range of top-shelf cocktails. The beauty of it: beers are $5, well drinks are $7, and all wine by the glass is half-off. Yes, half-off!

Rather than begin with a modest glass of average wine, I took full advantage of this opportunity to indulge in a high-end glass of Pinot Noir. What would normally be $18 a glass was now $9. The menu boasts an eclectic blend of comfort and bite-sized cuisine that can feed your belly while you take in the sights. The beauty is that every small plate item is marked down to $4 and Sliders are $4 for one or $7 for two.

Small plates include: Arancini-Risotto Fritters, Wild Mushrooms, Fontina, and Romesco Sauce – worth the calories;

Smoked chicken empanadas, tater tots, chips and salsa, sweet potato fries, caprese, pickle plate.

The Sliders are served with Korean barbeque beef, cold cuts or smoked chicken.

The Suite 700 menu is ideal for happy hour. Everything on it consists of easy-to-eat portions, appealing in taste, with enough choices to try a few things while you sip your Grey Goose martini or pour of Glennfiddich for $7, sip on some Heffeweisen for $5, or taste a range of wines from Russian River to Italy for anywhere between $5-9.

The views, the service, the selection, and the location all make this one of the highlight stops for happy hour any day of the week.

Shangri-La Santa Monica 1301 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica

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