Bar Review: The Nickel Mine

If you’re looking for a bar with open-air seating, board games, a piano, a living room-like lounge area, flat screen TVs, a speakeasy, the best pizza west of the 405, a full bar with an impressive international whiskey selection, and enough stools for twenty friends…you probably won’t believe that a magical place like this really exists. Surprise! We found it.

Nestled in East Santa Monica on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Purdue Ave, The Nickel Mine turns the concept of a sports bar on its head. You’ll find giant flat screen televisions on almost every wall, and a broad selection of beers, but the venue lacks the blue-collar, testosterone-charged vibe that many people associate with bars that are broadcasting sporting events from opening to closing.

My friend Lauren and I were easily able to have a conversation over the music playing in the background, and I noticed that there were just as many women who stopped in for a drink as men. The craft cocktail menu boasts a wide selection of innovative, thoughtful drinks that are void of syrupy schnapps and artificially flavored spirits. Considering that it was eleven o’clock on a Saturday morning, I ordered a Bloody Mary that was perfectly made by bartender Matt. Lauren drank a Purple Rain, made with mezcal and garnished with an edible flower. Definitely not a cocktail you’d ever find on the menu of a traditional sports bar.

When choosing what to order for brunch, I immediately choose the chicken and waffles, one of my all-time favorite meals in LA. So good! Lauren ordered the Stromboli, which came with the crispiest tater tots I’ve ever tasted. But it didn’t stop there. Matt insisted that we try the pizza, a menu item they say is their most popular. Just for the record, we did witness two different customers stop in for pizza takeout during our one-hour visit. We caved in and tried a slice of cheese and a slice of pepperoni. Lordy lord was Matt right. The Nickel Mine’s pizza is amazing!!

Opened in August of 2016, this neighborhood watering hole has already developed a loyal crowd of regulars. The bar offers live jazz on Tuesday nights, and a piano player on Wednesday evenings. You’ll find boxes of Connect Four, Jingo, Checkers, and even a dart board. And there’s even more fun to be had in their speakeasy, which can be reserved for your small group with a minimum spend of $500. We especially liked this space, as there is lots of comfortable seating (and even your own private restroom!).

Whether you’re conveniently in the neighborhood, looking for a late-night bite after seeing a movie at the Royal theatre, or just interested in finding the perfect pizza to pair with the perfect Bloody Mary, stop in this weekend!


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