Adding small fractions of cholesterol decreases the interfacial viscosity of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) monolayers by an order of magnitude per wt %. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction shows that cholesterol at these small fractions does not mix ideally with DPPC but rather induces nanophase separated structures of an ordered, primarily DPPC phase bordered by a line-active, disordered, mixed DPPC-cholesterol phase. We propose that the free area in the classic Cohen and Turnbull model of viscosity is inversely proportional to the number of molecules in the coherence area, or product of the two coherence lengths. Cholesterol significantly reduces the coherence area of the crystals as well as the interfacial viscosity. Using this free area collapses the surface viscosity data for all surface pressures and cholesterol fractions to a universal logarithmic relation. The extent of molecular coherence appears to be a fundamental factor in determining surface viscosity in ordered monolayers. © 2014 American Chemical Society.