Barfly: The Quest For The Westside's Best Watering Hole

With so many students commuting record distances to attend Santa Monica College, we've been cheated out of some typical college experiences. We lack Greek houses, dorm rooms, and the all important "watering hole," that local bar where stress-induced drinking and socializing can occur a safe distance away from campus.

To amend SMC's social deficiency, I vow to be the proverbial fly on the wall, I vow to seek out the best bars and clubs in order to procure that college experience for the masses.

The rain last Friday did not stop the Daily Pint from filling up, almost to capacity, with industry types and college students alike. With the outside appearance of a dive bar, and the drink selection to match, the Pint proved to be anything but.

Packed tight with two pool tables, shuffleboard, and foosball, the bar is welcoming in the most laid-back way. The atmosphere leans less towards serious conversation and more towards competitive banter, where sparking up conversations with complete strangers is relatively easy. Or is that just the booze?

Despite the overwhelming crowding surrounding the tables, a few diehards still attempted a slow game of pool. Getting smacked as often as the balls didn't stop patron Brendan Sheehan from stepping up and dominating the pool table.

A pool table connoisseur, Sheehan prefers the Pint for their smaller tables, and the versatility of the crowd.

"This place goes from sports bar to hot club very quickly," says Sheehan. "It just depends on what music is playing."

The dance floor and huge screen playing music videos does feel club-esque, that is until you turn around and see the multiple TV screens playing various Olympic events.

Trying to keep a low profile, Dileep Rao, who played Dr. Max Patel in "Avatar", and Daniel Zacapa most known for his memorable performance in "The Sandlot" (think "For-ev-er"), came to the Pint for an understated night out.

"I could tell you stories about this place," says Zacapa. "It's a good mixture of young professionals in the entertainment industry and students."

Making your way over to the bar, you may notice that the prices aren't bad, but not exactly those of a dive either. The liquor selection is top notch, but can get pretty heavy on the wallet. However, smart ordering can tailor the selection to a college student's budget.

Also appealing to the broke college student are the complimentary peanuts. To avoid the cliché bar-nuts germ rumors, the Pint staff serves them in individual sized plastic bowls upon request.

The lack of air conditioning, though environmentally friendly, got stifling with the amount of bodies squeezed into the small rooms. The one-stall bathrooms left something to be desired.

Given that the proximity of the Daily Pint is only five blocks from campus would be enough to win over many an SMC student. Who could turn down a beer with classmates after an agonizing midterm (providing that you're of age) when the bar is so close?

Proximity aside, it is the character and personality of this dive that makes it a top contender for the "SMC Watering Hole" title.