DMV Survival Guide: Santa Monica Edition


Some may argue that the Santa Monica office is the best L.A.-area DMV location; near the beach, with an ocean breeze in the air. Isn’t everyone happier in Santa Monica? But the truth is, when you’re inside the Santa Monica DMV’s drab walls, you’ll never know you’re so close to paradise. So make sure to treat yourself to a taste of the beach city’s pleasures on either side of your visit. In this DMV Neighborhood Survival Guide series, we show you how and where to treat yourself, before or after your visit to that special section of Hades called the Department of Motor Vehicles.

DMV Field Office 2235 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404
Neighborhood: Santa Monica

Elabrew Coffee || Colorado Center, 2425 Colorado Ave, Ste B118, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tucked inside the Colorado Center office park, this boutique café is both hip and chill. Priding itself on serving high-quality coffee in a high-concept environment, Elabrew serves each latte with a cheerfully-poured design in the foam. Take your heart-kissed mug out to the courtyard to cushion the DMV blow.

Bru’s Wiffle, A Waffle Joint || 2408 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Seven variations on chicken-and-waffles, 11 ridiculously decadent dessert waffles, three kinds of savory waffles including a chicken curry salad waffle, and — get this — sliders on waffle buns, Bru’s Wiffle is your waffle heaven. Our sweet tooth has recurring dreams about the Chocolate Waffle Party; chocolate Belgian waffle, stuffed with housemade butter cream, topped with Oreo cookies, whipped cream & chocolate sauce. This is a good reward for a morning appointment or a perfect pre-DMV meal if you have the time.

Mondo Taco || 2200 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Mondo Taco is an international cuisine concept taco shop, pairing tortillas with world flavors like Indian, Cajun, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Our favorite is the Angry Chicken with crispy fried chicken, hot sauce, and blue cheese, followed closely by the Taj Mahal with coconut shrimp, curry sauce, and red bell pepper. We’d almost make an appointment at the Santa Monica DMV just to have a reason to go here.

Milo & Olive || 2723 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Make sure you’ve saved your appetite before visiting Milo & Olive, an Italian restaurant specializing in pastries and pizza. You’ll need a lot of room in your stomach, and may not need to eat again for a few days. Do not miss the garlic knot- pizza dough stuffed with garlic, tied up with string and baked in a wood-fired oven. Their homemade pastas will have you beaming with gratitude, thanking the universe for inventing gnocchi and pappardelle, cream and basil, parsley and tomatoes. And the pizza! Never have you had such incredible pizza. A Westside wonder.

Happy Hour
Barkowski || 2819 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Legendary writer Charles Bukowski worked at the post office, not far in hell from the DMV, so what better place to let off some steam after renewing your license than here. With a beer and wine license only, Barkowski has an excellent selection of beers on taps, and a healthy menu of inventive soju cocktails. We like the Mule Kick, a soju-Moscow Mule with a kick. Happy hour is 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. daily.