Originally built near the Hotel Miramar in 1892, The Victorian was moved to its current location in 1973 and is now a prime pocket of nostalgic architecture in Santa Monica.
Featuring over 15,000 square feet of space, including the surrounding landscaped grounds, the Victorian is surrounded among oak trees, blooming flowers and a brick path leading to the front door which is lined with candles and twinkle lights at night. Inside you’ll find décor characteristic of the late 19th century including a mixture of fine antique furnishings, classical artwork and candles.
The historic space is synonymous with private posh events, but in addition to the first-floor Chandelier Bar and reserved dining space, The Victorian is also home to multiple, diverse casual concepts that welcome locals and visitors on a regular basis.
The newest concept of The Victorian is Mamacitas. The street front patio space is charming, inviting and features soft live music nightly. On the menu you’ll find shareable plates including Shrimp Ceviche, Pork Belly Tacos, Vegetarian Empanadas, Tamales, and Mamma’s Papas, which is a potato fritter made with pickled red jalapeno, avocado cream and cilantro blossom. Signature cocktails have an undeniable vacation vibe including a number of mojitos (Coconut, Strawberry and Pineapple, Yuzu and Havana) as well as a Triple Citrus Daiquiri and Strawberry Daiquiri.
You’ll also find classic such as a Bennet, Old Fashion, Pisco Sour, Margarita and Caipirinha. Mamacitas also hosts brunch with dishes such as French Toast, Chicken & Waffles, Acai Bowls and custom Omelettes as well as bubbles, bloodys and mimosas to drink.
Atop the Victorian, you’ll find a whole different vibe. The Birdcage opened in 2017 and has quickly gained a reputation for the “it” LGBTQ+ friendly bar west of the 405. Open Thursday through Sunday, head up the rainbow staircase and find yourself an eclectic house-party vibe complete with a living room area, two bars, an outdoor patio and a blast of a dance floor.
Their Sunday Funday daytime party is not to be missed; where Birdies can hang out on beach chairs on the upstairs patio and play interactive games like Plinko and giant Jenga. Of course, it wouldn’t be a day party without brunch. Menu items include Eggs Benny, Avocado Toast and Sunrise Burger. On the cocktails side, sip on The Beauty Mark made with vodka, lemon, almond, mint, soda and Angostura or the GLAAD To Meet You made with gin, pear, rosemary, lime and cinnamon. And don’t forget to say hi to The Birdcage’s resident drag queen Big Kim while you’re there. Just resist the urge to take a selfie with her. The Birdcage has a strict no photos policy allowing you to just live in the moment for once.
The Basement Tavern, the house’s subterranean speakeasy, is one of the most popular bars on the west side. The old tavern style bar is outfitted with décor characteristic of the late 19th century including a mixture of fine antique furnishings and classical artwork. Think taxidermy on the walls, chandeliers, a long, worn wooden bar, cushioned stools and handsome love seats. Known for its amazing whiskey selection, the Basement Tavern is actually home to the most sales of Buffalo Trace in Los Angeles.
Try the Walnut Old Fashioned made with bourbon, sugar and walnut bitters or the Whiskey Kissed Mezcalero with basement barrel-aged mezcal, lime, agave, yellow chartreuse and yellow pepper. Once a restaurant, then a jazz club, then a wine cellar, the bar hosts a number of music-themed nights including 90’s night every Monday and live band karaoke every Wednesday. The crowd is casual, fun and can get slightly rowdy as the night progresses. After all, as their neon sign state, Whiskey Makes Your Frisky.
The Victorian details
2640 Main St., Santa Monica; thevictorian.com; @thevictoriansm; @mamacitassm; @thebirdcagesm; @basementtavern
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