Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Santa Monica, California

The Galley

Santa Monica's oldest restaurant, decorated with set pieces from the Mutiny on the Bounty. 

Originally located on the Santa Monica Pier, this nautical themed local hang out was once the preferred watering hole of Hollywood’s A List. Today it still feels like Martin Denny should be wafting soothingly out of the speakers in this dimly-lit holdover from an earlier age.

From the outside, a half a row boat (and, perhaps, the name) gives a clue to the interior’s nautical theme enhanced over the decades by gifts from enthusiastic patrons. At the center of the collection are set pieces from the 1935 film, “Mutiny on the Bounty,” obtained for the establishment by the film’s star, Charles Laughton, also a patron of the restaurant. On set photos hang on the walls and the ship’s wheel used in the film hangs from the ceiling.

The seafaring decor is kept company by a collection of WWII propaganda posters. Amazingly, the collection of eleven original posters was discovered by accident, still sealed in their 1940s delivery envelopes, by the owner Ron Schul when he took over the business in 1989.

Under the glow of multicolored Christmas lights the booths are cozy, romantic, and 100% genuine naugahyde. Out back, the patio lounge is a chill place to relax where it seems like the place is entirely patronized by locals who know the staff.