I hate to say it, but even with all of the recent achievements in the Los Angeles dining scene, one thing that New York still has over LA is their boozy brunch options. In NYC, you can roll out of bed at 3pm still hungover and stumble down the block into a cool spot that serves brunch and bottomless Bloody Mary's all day. And though we have some fantastic brunch spots, they usually require a bit more of a to-do and planning (plus, driving is usually required). So when we come across a low-key place that we could easily Uber to and suck down some bottomless mimosas, we're totally in. One of those is The Independence Tavern* in Santa Monica, a casual but modern pub that's the sister spot of Copa D'Oro. It opened about a year ago and it's taken us a little while to come in for brunch, but we're so glad we did!
The interior definitely isn't what you would normally expect from a pub or tavern. With a minimal white marble bar and lots of dark grey accents, the space is modern, clean, and cool.
Of course, we had to start off our brunch with a few cocktails. Though the bottomless mimosas were certainly tempting, we actually opted for the Pimms & Chill and Blood Orange Bellini. The Pimms was similar to a traditional Pimm's Cup, but with the addition of gin, packed a bit more a punch. We loved the refreshing notes of cucumber and lemon. The Bellini was also a nice, fresh drink; despite having both vodka and sparkling wine, it really just tasted like delicious juice (so dangerous). We loved the little scoop of orange sorbet!
For the main fare, of course we had to get the Toast Tower, which was a combination of their 3 toast dishes-- a really fun option for a group wanting to try a few things.
The smoked whitefish toast was probably my favorite of the 3 toasts (sorry, avocado). I loved the deep, smokey flavor of the whitefish and how it was offset by the pickled shallots and acidic bites of apple. The bread was lovely as well. A really fun take on a brunch toast!
When getting a toast tower, it's no surprise that avocado toast will be apart of that. I really liked their take, as the roasted red peppers and sliced almonds really distinguished this from the typical avocado toast. The roasted red pepper added a nice hint of sweetness, while the almonds gave the gooey bite a bit of crunch. I think, however, the dish could've used a bit more salt, but was still a really pleasing interpretation.
Last up was the butternut squash toast, which was really good. I loved the warm, creamy butternut squash, and the addition of the crispy sage and mustard seed oil provided the dish with some complexity. The dish was light but tasted indulgent, making it a perfect choice for a boozy brunch.
Last but not least, we got the eggs benedict (we can't resist a good eggs benny). The pulled pork was a bit sweet and gave the dish a satisfying fatty-meatiness, while the buttermilk biscuits were moist, tender, and delicious. The hollandaise was creamy and tasty (though they could've used it a bit more sparingly), and made it feel more like a traditional eggs benedict.
Overall, it was a really fun meal. The drinks and food were both really tasty and satisfying. It's definitely the perfect place to come with friends after a big night out for a casual, boozy brunch.
Products/restaurants marked with an asterisk* denote gifted or free items/meals. For more information about how this affects my editorial policy, please click here.