The Charleston

Gastropub / Live Music Venue / Lounge
The Charleston The Charleston in Santa Monica, Los Angeles is a Prohibition-styled lounge with nightly music from jazz to hip-hop. Get old-schooled in LA with Party Earth. Los Angeles United States 34.0351994503078 -118.478300571442
3.95 8
The Charleston - Gastropub | Live Music Venue | Lounge in Los Angeles.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review A time warp back to Prohibition, with a distinctly modern twist, The Charleston attracts a large spectrum of Westside well seekers with classic cocktails, amped-up comfort foods, and music that ranges from live jazz to... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    Tu–Sa 5pm–2am, Su 10am–3pm and 5pm–midnight or later

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Charleston Review

The Scene

The Charleston in Santa Monica, Los Angeles is a Prohibition-styled lounge with nightly music from jazz to hip-hop. Get old-schooled in LA with Party Earth.

A time warp back to Prohibition, with a distinctly modern twist, The Charleston attracts a large spectrum of Westside well seekers with classic cocktails, amped-up comfort foods, and music that ranges from live jazz to hip-hop DJs.

An elegant speakeasy vibe pervades the open room, where thick exposed beams punctuate the cozy haze of tiered chandeliers and a tufted white-leather base fronts the sleek mahogany bar helmed by suspender-clad mixologists.

A small stage hosts the near-nightly entertainment, with Tuesdays’ jazz promising a big turnout of savvy drinkers and feisty old couples, which often gives way to disco or dance music on Wednesdays and acoustic acts on Thursdays. Friday and Saturday nights, meanwhile, find DJs who create a club-like scene packed by 10pm with hip young professionals and a long line.

Classic 1930s fashion and other retro memorabilia are on display down the rear hallway, so patrons can sip their Sazeracs and Side Cars as they check out the mannequins in their flapper garb. Corseted weekend waitresses continue the retro theme, delivering short rib tacos and chicken waffles to the handful of small tables and booths that provide space for larger groups to eat and chat or launch the night with bottle service.

The live jazz returns on Sundays during the booze-and-blueberry-pancake brunch, a mellow time when conversation is king and Bloody Marys are queen, and just one more reason for guests to dance on over to The Charleston.

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Tip from Emma:

Cocktails can be pricey, but there are options: ‘Like’ The Charleston on Facebook for a free drink voucher for your next visit, follow them on Twitter to receive a secret word that can be used for nightly drink specials, or be one of the first ten people to check in with foursquare during Happy Hour and your second round of well drinks is free!

  • Crowd

    Polished Westside professionals, yuppie cocktail enthusiasts, unpretentious jazz lovers, speakeasy fans, girls’ night out groups, dapper party seekers who want a little club vibe (without the club) on weekends, older couples who can still bust a move or two, 20s to 60s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live music some nights, including jazz on Tuesdays from around 7pm and Sundays during brunch, followed by acoustic acts Sunday nights. Acoustic can also be on the line-up Thursdays, though hip-hop DJs are sometimes booked as well (check venue’s entertainment calendar). Rotating DJs on Fridays, and house DJs on Saturdays spinning dance-friendly beats from around 10pm.

    Flat-screen typically tuned to sports earlier in the day.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Menu of upscale American comfort food, including short rib tacos, flatbreads, chicken and waffles, burgers, and pulled pork sliders. Brunch on Sundays. Happy Hour Tu–F 5–7pm.

  • Prices

    Brunch menu $9–$16, appetizers $7–$9, entrées $9–$15, dessert $3–$9. Beer $5–$10+, wine $5–$16/glass or $30–$60+/bottle, cocktails $12–$14, bottle service $250–$500.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Snappy casual to dressy: nice jeans, t-shirts, shorts, trendy sandals, collared shirts, suits, sleek cocktail dresses, heels, dark jeans, boutique accessories.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Tuesdays for live jazz which draws a big early week crowd; Fridays and Saturdays for the busiest DJ nights and more of a club vibe; and Sundays for the chill jazz brunch.

  • Close By

    Wilshire Restaurant (2454 Wilshire Boulevard) is located right next door, touts an extensive Happy Hour menu and a luxurious tree-lined patio, and hosts a similar crowd of suave professionals.

The Charleston User Reviews

Average rating:
good for weekdays and weekends
Lindsay M. Dec 3, 2012
Good drinks and friendly staff. If the line at the Wilshire next door is too long the Charleston is a good place to go as a backup. On the weekends they have DJs that play upbeat music around midnight. Until later in the night it serves as more of a restaurant than a bar.
A Perfect Tuesday night
Angelica A. Nov 15, 2012
What I most love about The Charleston is the variety in customer the place can draw. From older divorcees on the prowl, to young tattoed rascals, this place does well to cater to people with common interests: great cocktails and live music. I come on Tuesday nights for the Jazz bands but I stay for the delicious food and cocktails. The food is decently priced, and the cocktails are a a pretty penny but unsurprisingly so for such a chic joint. It's atmosphere is comparable to The Wilshire next door but less expensive as far as I know. If you're a comfort foodie try the Chicken and Waffles or the wings, and for the cocktails I'd say a mint julip or a whiskey sour are best for your money.
Don't sleep on the Charleston.
Rene L. Oct 3, 2012
As midnight approaches on any given Friday or Saturday, Westside night owls flock to the most popular destinations on Main Street or Wilshire. As lines of young partygoers bend corners and stretch down blocks, one might ponder if a more overlooked establishment exists nearby. I can think of one: The Charleston. Situated comfortably at 2460 Wilshire, The Charleston is a next-door neighbor to the ever-crowded and appropriately questioned "why are we waiting so long to get in here" bar-club The Wilshire. A refreshingly versatile space, The Charleston invites you to cozy up at the bar with a cocktail, chit-chat in a booth with friends, or get your feet wet on the dance floor. It is a non-intrusive environment, comfortable for all ages, social butterflies and solo-artists alike. The Charleston has a tastefully retroactive atmosphere reflecting the prohibition era, save the paranoia of a federal agent intrusion. Rest assured, nobody will barge in and snatch your moderately-priced alcoholic beverage. However, as this is Los Angeles, method actors are welcome, of course. In the air is a soundtrack that covers more bases than a baseball diamond, so the disc jockey is sure to tickle your fancy at some point. Politely ask your pessimistic friend in the group to be patient. So, during your taxi cab commute, pretend that you're bumping along in a sluggish black Model-T. Once you arrive, get rid of your coat and settle into the early-20th Century ambiance that only The Charleston can offer. You will not be disappointed. Cheers!
Good food, good drinks, varied crowd, friendly staff
Chris M. Oct 3, 2012
I came on a Saturday night, which apparently is different from other nights of the week. I came with my wife for dinner and met friends for a birthday party afterward. We had heard that it got busy early so showed up for dinner at 7 and the place was mostly empty. We were greeted by a friendly, corseted hostess and seated and then waited on by a corseted waitress. That was a good start to the night for me and Brianna took great care of us throughout the night even as we moved from dinner to join our friends. I checked in on foursquare and we got our second round of drinks for free (first time I've ever gotten a free Chimay) and the food was really good. The decor is 20s and 30s style but the DJ rolled in around 10 and started rocking a mix of 90s and 00s music and got the dance floor going. The crowd got progressively younger as the night went on with most folks in their 20s or 30s. The vibe was fun and friendly in what is a very small space that forces everyone to mingle. They keep it from getting too crowded, which is nice when you are inside, but not so nice for the line that grows outside the door. Drinks are reasonably priced in a place that I expected to be overpriced, but are certainly not cheap. If you can set up with your group in one of the booths (they say reserved and they will do bottle service, but I don't think that happens most nights) you will be set for a great night on and off the dance floor.
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