It is on weekday nights right around this time of year, when the beach crowds on Balboa Peninsula are but a memory, that the Studio Cafe is at its best.
Mobbed in the summertime--there's usually a line to get in--this place is best experienced by the faint of heart in winter or on a Sunday afternoon in the spring, when you can sit at the bar and look out at the pier and the blue sky and watch the wind off the water ruffle the palm trees.
At those times it's a nice, sunny room, often crowded and sometimes inattentively serviced, but basically a very pleasant place.
And, unlike many of the area bars whose kitchens close early, you can still get a late-night snack here. (Try the little pizzas; they're very good.)
The music--Sunday afternoons and most nights--can tend to be the sort of generic jazz you hear on the radio all the time, all electric piano and squeaky soprano sax. It's pleasant as a soundtrack, though, for watching the tanned folk who roller-skate by on the beach walk just outside the big plate-glass windows.