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Aestus's Marissa Grasmick Loves a Bar That Reminds Her of the Midwest

The Minnesota native goes for a shot and a beer at this Santa Monica watering hole.

Marissa Grasmick, bartender at Aestus in Santa Monica
Marissa Grasmick, bartender at Aestus in Santa Monica
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Aestus has quietly been building one of the better bar programs in town in Santa Monica, especially with The Varnish vet Marissa Grasmick behind the stick at the stylish restaurant. A therapist by day for the under served, and a top-flight bartender by night, Eater talks to the affable Grasmick about where she likes to get her favorite drinks in town.

On your nights off, where do you like to get a drink?

I'm from the Midwest in Minnesota, so I like to go somewhere that makes me feel nostalgic. And Chez Jay is where I go. A shot and a beer. It's basic.

Honestly most of the time when I'm home I'm drinking wine. Kevin (O'Conner) at Aestus has been mentoring me on wine and helping me expand my knowledge. After a night of making and tasting cocktails, I don't want to make any more. But if I really want to do it right, I'll hop into a cab and go to The Varnish in Downtown.

Most bartenders seem to get a shot and beer. Which particular ones do you like to get?

Rye whiskey and a lager. Something basic. When Brilliantshine was across the street we would go there after work. Now the other bartenders and myself go to Belcampo to get a tiki drink. But usually I opt for a shot and a beer.

You're a trained therapist by day. Do you ever feel like people come in at night to get a free session at the bar?

During the day it's super serious, but at night it's much more playful. Sure, there can be some impromptu counseling at the bar. It's cheaper at the bar than in the counseling room! But I'm much more playful here though, so we're not going to talk about the serious stuff.


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