I’m sure piano bars are usually not the first thing that come to mind when choosing a dinner destination, but the times they should be a-changin’. The height of 1930s and ’40s nostalgia is what Angel’s Piano Bar in Santa Monica brings you. This cozy corner of Wilshire Boulevard and 25th Street houses some of the city’s best-kept secret restaurants.

Inside Angel’s, the vintage décor is wrought with posters of jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and the infamous Josephine Baker, decanters of absinthe and a large piano in the middle of the space. Started by Louie Ryan, the same entrepreneur who opened Zanzibar and the Townhouse in Venice, Angel’s atmosphere invites you to stay a while and take in the surroundings as you start off with appropriately named cocktails like the Ginny Hendrix with Hendrick’s Gin, fresh cucumber, lime, mint and agave or the signature Angel’s Fizzante with Prosecco, Citron vodka.

While enjoying your cocktail, sample small eclectic plates like the freshly ground pork chorizo quesadilla with potatoes and sour cream, grilled artichoke with garlic aioli or chicken wings fried with sweet soy and Sambal Oelek. To cut the richness of these dishes, order at least one salad, like the roasted beet, goat cheese and capers with marinated shallots in sherry vinaigrette.

Should the mood strike you to really eat like you’re back in time, get a rib-eye steak, pan roasted to your desired temperature with a hearty side of fries sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Of course, the drink to match this bold meal would either be a Rusty Nail (Dewar’s on the rocks, with a Drambuie float) or a classic martini, dirty or straight up.

Feeling French? This bar does have a slight Parisian feel so order the black mussels with a nice glass of champagne … moules frites, très bien.

Now with this being a piano bar, the nights revolve around live music and the like, and if you happen to be there for dinner around 8:30 p.m. or so, you’re in luck. Weekly acts include traditional jazz bands and the French-infused Mad Alsacians influenced by greats like Serge Gainsbourg and Charles Trenet with a hot twist of nomadic sound.

The Red Light Tuesday night spotlights a classy burlesque number by the Del Monte Speakeasies. They dance in between five resident bands, including Blackout Betty and the Lady Leche. On the weekends, eclectic soul rules supreme with the Angel’s Session featuring rotating musicians playing vintage and modern tracks we’ve all come to love … or will soon love. On Sundays, it’s another revolving musical night, but this time with the likes of Frank Sinatra Revues and sultry sets invoking the spirit of Billie Holiday.

Earlier in the evening brings you Angel’s Happy Hour, offering two for one premium well liquor – like the anything-but-inferior Russian Standard Vodka – $5 wines, margaritas and if you must, order a Pabst with a shot of your choice for the same price.

The menu is pared down but still delicious during Happy Hour. Smoked chickpeas with citrus, garlic and red pepper-marinated olives are great, as are the sausage and poblano mini sandwiches with parsley fries. Unlike many restaurants, Angel’s offers their Happy Hour specials every night from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with the bonus of keeping Happy Hour all night on Tuesdays.

The only thing Angel’s is short on is the dessert list, but the offerings are still quite good. Vanilla Gelato with Berry Sauce is a great palate cleanser if you’ve gone too far on the garlic. If you can remember to place your order before you get through your entrées, choose the Chocolate Soufflé. I say if you can remember because it takes about 30 minutes to make, but it’s well worth the wait.

For more information, call (310) 828-2115 or visit angelssantamonica.com.