Steps from the iconic Santa Monica Pier sign, the exclusive 41 Ocean Club embodies that distinct L.A. irony: even in the midst of a highly trafficked area, this place is a calm hideaway. And since it’s a members-only spot, with about 600 members since opening less than two years ago, it should be.
Resembling a moody Spanish hacienda complete with shaded outdoor seating and an indoor space lit by chandeliers once owned by Fred Astaire, 41 Ocean is the adult version of a kid's password-only playhouse. Nowhere is that more apparent than at the dark-wooded bar, where Rob Floyd, a national director of mixology, whips up organic cocktails. Floyd was a bartender for more than 20 years in NYC, and as he expertly poured a floral-hued liquid into glasses, he shared his “three Ts” philosophy: every drink should come with taste, technique, and a tale.
Fresh herbs, fruits, and flowers were scattered at the edge of the bar, and he served up drinks with fun stories. Try the “Smoking Gun,” an 1805 old fashion made with bitters, orange peel, bulleit bourbon, and – ahem – rosemary on fire. For something with less bite, taste the “Skinny Dip” with ciroc peach, champagne, crushed raspberry, and a natural sweetener. There is also a small-plate food menu on hand to keep you from dancing solo in front of the live music (although you’ll want to). Nosh on the handmade fried oyster tacos, or the truffle deviled eggs and crispy chicken skin.