West 4th and Jane
1432 4th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Drink Damage: Elements Chardonnay | $9
Interior Swag: Not much swag but so packed with people that it didn't matter. I loved all the little booths and the high ceiling. It's the kind of restaurant/bar you'd find in a small college town: unpretentious, open, and inviting.
Service: The place was extremely busy due to the televised 5th game of the NBA Championship yet this didn't keep our waiter from providing excellent service. Of course, his intense eye contact (something between American Idol's Constantine Maroulis and Joaquin Phoenix in the Commodus role) helped to diffuse any tension that may have been built up from waiting for that second glass of wine.
Food and Drink: It's beer and wine only here, but they've got a good selection, and the prices are extremely reasonable. Our group ordered many different items from the menu all to satisfaction. It was my first time trying a cornmeal crusted crusted calamari and it was delicious. Ironically more filling than the fried, breaded version.
Go-Back-Again-Ness: I think I'll chose a night when basketball isn't the center of attention, but this is a lively place that serves as the perfect meet-up spot for friends.