Moss Beach Distillery in Half Moon Bay could use a little help with their food and the prices are even steeper than their ocean views, however, head over about an hour before sundown and have a drink out on Oceanside Patio where dogs and people alike are welcome. Show up early enough to stake out a place in front of the firepits because it does get cold out there. Luckily, blankets are provided.
I'd say the same about The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. Skip the pricey eats and have a drink in the very recently remodeled Conservatory Lounge. Sweeping ocean views and some inventive, locally-inspired cocktails. Get your parking validated to take a bit of the sting out of the cost.
Another schmancy place is Lavanda Restaurant and Wine Bar on University in Palo Alto. The food here is decent but go for the wine. The bartenders here have a keen sense of what you might like and are all too happy to pour you tastes. On my last visit, I was convinced I wanted a Sangiovese but my seemingly psychic bartender poured me a Pinot Noir that was right on. The bar has a nice if upscale vibe.
Menlo Park's BBC is a mixed bag as they seem to be continually trying to reinvent themselves as a restaurant but just take your garlic fries and stiff drink upstairs and find yourself a cozy corner. The British Bankers Club has lengthy history in Menlo: first as a bank, city hall, police department and jail, along with the public library being housed upstairs. If the severed animal heads on the walls aren't your thing, you might appreciate the gorgeous dark woods and stained glass. If karaoke is your thing, come on Thursdays and Sundays. If not, you might find it a bit loud.