Run, skip, skateboard, scooter, cartwheel, or ride your Big Wheel or BMX bike to Santa Monica’s new playful cocktail lounge tribute to the ’80s and ’90s. The cocktail masters here are amplifying your childhood flavors with exciting whimsical mixture medleys like we’ve never seen done before.
Nostalgia Bar and Lounge may conjure up notions of that push pop you craved as a kid, chocolate-y Yoo-hoo, Capri-Sun, Orange Julius, or memories of chasing the ice cream truck for a red white and blue Bomb Popsicle, a la their End of the Otter Pop drink where the colored ice stick’s flavors melt together like a fourth of July. This summery sip features Tito’s Vodka, Clement Creole Shrubb, and blueberry, raspberry, honey, and Abstrax raspberry lemonade terpene.
The Cocktail Menu is almost impossible to choose just one. Here are some of our favorites:
The Breakfast Club is not just for mornings or to remind you of your favorite movie. This LA-favorite Milk Punch cocktail is 1000X better here, infused and clarified with an organic version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal.
Flashback to Disneyland with the Enchanted Tiki Whip, a pineapple coco Dole-Whip but better, boozy with a sliver of pineapple. Play a game of Battleship nearby to really remind you of your best years.
The Afterschool Snack is a peanut butter and jelly cocktail that arrives with a spoonful of peanut butter infused with Old Forester. It tastes even better than it sounds.
A real showstopper is Apples to Oranges, a new take on an Old Fashioned, smoked tableside with Applewood and terpenes using a gravity bong. Ha Ha!
The holy WOW nostalgic cocktail menu created by Brad Fry (who placed 7th as the world’s best bartender) was masterfully executed by bartender Chris Walker the night we arrived BUT it is not the only reason to get cozy here. The food is just as mind-blowing – dare we say Michelin-star level in a festive relaxed atmosphere. Certainly worthy of consideration for a Bib Gourmand.
Lounge on the outdoor patio with picnic tables and cheerful colors and lighting. Park yourself on a couch or bar seat surrounded by cartoon favorite fun art like Ren & Stimpy, Johnny Bravo, and Power Puff Girls while a huge mural by Takun Williams (@technodome1) brings back all the memories. Play a round of Operation or Chutes and Ladders, for ole time’s sake.
After sampling the extraordinary cocktails, you’ll be craving some bites, and this place is ready to show you excellence. No surprise as the founder, Chris Sayegh, hails from prestigious kitchens like Mélisse under Chef Josiah Citrine and Providence under Michael Cimarusti and is paired with the expertise of Chef and Partner Jared Ventura, Chef Ben Davenpor, and Services Director Jack Goldberg. This is the first brick and mortar concept from Sayegh, known as The Herbal Chef™, a passionate science and biology student who turned to the chemistry of food as medicine and who hosts private dinners aka “Secret Suppers” with infusions of 0-50 mg of THC. You can book special dining experiences with him as he is destigmatizing plant medicine with modern cuisine.
High on your ordering list at Nostalgia Bar and Lounge should be the light crispy flakey Branzino Fish and Chips with house-made tartar, because you may shed a tear it is that good!
To help wash down your imbibing, start with the Bites Menu and share the super fresh lightly smoked hefty chunks of Kampachi Crudo enhanced with avocado puree, nori dressing, whipped crème Fraiche, and garnished with microgreens, and the perfect crunch – house-made potato chip-let slivers.
Oysters 2 Ways arrives like art and is a sinful play of fire and ice where the Massachusetts bivalves come smoky and creamy and alternatively bright, light, and refreshing with pineapple habanero granita.
Back to the Big Bites menu, share the Kobe Toast on freshly baked sourdough featuring lightly torched A5 Kobe Beef, flavor-packed with mustard aioli, marinated radish, turnip, and microgreens.
This Connecticut girl loves lobster rolls. LA is always doing a different take than what we grew up with at seaside lobster shacks. This Lobster Roll bite is packed with poached fresh lobster and herb aioli and is full-on elevated with a lobster shell caramel (made from the crushed shells – whoah!) and served on a brioche roll. For an extra $10, add Kulaga Caviar.
For sweets, delight in a Nostalgic Push Pop stuffed with orange, strawberry, and cherry/beet sherbet or decadent chocolate layered cake lined with espresso cream layers in the Bruce Bogtrotters Comeback, a play on our favorite author Raold Dahl’s Matilda scene where a boy is forced to eat a whole 18-inch chocolate cake in front of the entire school after stealing a slice from Miss Trunchbull.
In the land of endless options for food and drink, this is one place we will soon return. The Nostalgia Bar and Lounge should be at the top of your dining and drinking list in 2022 for an evening of creature comforts and whimsical sophistication.
1326 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Wednesday through Sunday from 3pm– 2am
Daily Happy Hour from 3-5pm and live entertainment on weekends