Locals want AFM attendees to feel the love. Many area eateries within walking distance or within a short cab ride away are amping up their discounts to AFM badge holders. Additionally, Santa Monica and Venice abound with popular happy hours for post-market meetings. The following represent just a few options:
Santa Monica Place, third floor
In May, Santa Monica Place, the 1-year-old open-air mall that anchors the Third Street Promenade, added the Market, an inside dining hall. Informal and fast stops include Rockenwagner, for house-made baked goods, burgers, sandwiches and salads; Groundwork Coffee (15% off to AFMers) for a caffeine jolt; and Primi Al Mercato, which has a take-away counter and sit-down space, both offering Italian specialties. Curious Palate presents a farmers market-fresh selection of healthful salads, sandwiches and wraps. Communal tables are found throughout the third-floor space that also opens to a small outdoor dining area.
Ozumo Santa Monica
395 Santa Monica Place
Outside, also on Santa Monica Place’s third floor, Ozumo Santa Monica recently added a small, outdoor Japanese-style beer garden for al fresco lunch and dinner. In the restaurant’s dining room, AFM badge holders are offered a 15% discount.
True Food Kitchen
395 Santa Monica Place, Ste. 172
True Food Kitchen opened in May on the 2nd Street side of Santa Monica Place’s ground floor. There’s a large outdoor terrace and a menu heavy on healthful foods — bison instead of beef burgers, tempeh instead of bacon in the BLTs — plus a juice bar. Open from lunch until 10 p.m. on weeknights, and 11 p.m. on weekends, there’s a full bar (and cocktails like the Flower Child and the Peacemaker) as well as beer, wine and sake.
CLOSE TO THIRD ST. PROMENADE
Misfit Restaurant & Bar
225 Santa Monica Blvd.
In the former Anisette Brasserie space just off Third St. Promenade, the Misfit Restaurant & Bar is a California-casual eatery with a menu to match: sandwiches (ahi tuna burger for instance), vegetable mixed salads and small-plates entrees at dinner. The full bar has a potent twist perfect for enlivening post-market meetings: punch by the bowlful. AFM attendees get 20% off between 12-4 p.m.
TASTIEST HAPPY HOURS
During late afternoon through early evening, specially priced drinks and snacks are on tap at happy hour. Hours vary per location but expect to compete with local residents for a seat at the bar.
109 Santa Monica Blvd.
This bodega from Joe Miller, Joe’s Venice’s owner, has flavorful and authentic Spanish-style tapas. Sit streetside for the best people-watching. Sangria is available by the glass or pitcher.
1445 Fourth St.
Tacos and ceviche shots are $3 during happy hour at this Santa Monica standby. Beyond standard-issue margaritas are a specialty.
1147 Third St.
A longtime industry power dining spot, Michael’s also has a well-priced happy hour (5-7 p.m.) and guaranteed good eats in an art-filled, tranquil setting.
Venice is quick cab or #1 Santa Monica Blue bus ride away; however, the more ambitious might enjoy the mile-plus beachside stroll to this bohemian enclave.
Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails
1697 Pacific Ave.
Need a spot for a power breakfast meeting? The newly launched Barlo at the Hotel Erwin has a corner patio and chef Jason Wiggin’s skilled take on artisan-quality, sustainable cuisine. Breakfast features oversized omelets and house-made baked goods. Although a newcomer, the Barlo burger and popcorn topped with bacon and caramel are already signature dishes. Open for breakfast and dinner only.
24 Windward Ave.
A brand-new, mostly outdoors spot just steps from the Venice boardwalk, Larry’s epitomizes Venice’s arty beach scene and is populated with comely locals. Pizzas, hearty sandwiches (the beef short rib grilled cheese stands out) and seasonal salads are on the menu. The vibe is fun and the happy hour portions (Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.) are regular sized. A taxi stand out front and 10% off to AFM attendees make the short trek worth the effort.
110 Navy St.
Nightly, this local mainstay’s bar hops due to the happening social scene and all-night-long sushi happy hour menu. Elegant without being pretentious, it’s also a reliable choice for a business lunch; there’s now a special lunchtime prix fixe menu ($21 for choice of appetizer and entrée).
Venice Ale House
2 Rose Ave.
Directly on the Venice boardwalk, the 1-year-old brew pub features tables outside and a crowded bar inside. Packed on weekends, the dozens of craft beers, wine and vegetarian-friendly comfort food draw a younger crowd. Excellent for people watching and taking in the sunset; on warm, sunny days, it can’t be beat.