Venice is and has always been a one-of-a-kind destination. Founded in 1905 by Abbot Kinney as a beach tourist destination, it attracted much more than beach goers and roller coaster thrill seekers. The carnival vibe was embellished by the presence of motion picture productions starring Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, political offices for the muckraker journalist Upton Sinclair and public extravaganzas including aerial stunt shows. In the 50’s and 60’s, Venice transformed into an artist haven for the Beat Generation. Today, Venice is still unique in it’s combination of artists, surfers, and performance artists living and working alongside established tech companies like Google, tech start-ups, cutting edge fashion purveyors, and trendy food and bar establishments.
Joe’s Restaurant and Hal’s Bar and Grill are creditworthy by locals. SouthEnd, co-owned by Chef Mario Batali and the Piccolo group, is a highly regarded newcomer offering a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere with a gourmet pizza and wine list. Other desirable spots include Gjelina and the Tasting Room. Casual meals and take-out are available at long time eateries Abbot’s Habit, Abbot’s Pizza Company, or popular newcomer Casa Linda Mexican. Local coffee roasters include Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney and Groundwork Organic Coffee and Tea on Rose Avenue. Longtime Westside restaurateur Hans Rockenwagner offers a quick breakfast, lunch and German and Austrian pastries to go, as well as a sit down restaurant at 3 Square Bakery & Café. Vegan diners may enjoy the upscale Café Gratitude on Rose Avenue, or Seed on Pacific Avenue.
The Other Room offers a packed bar scene in a casual lounge setting. Enjoy cocktails and a round of pool at The Brig, which also hosts ‘First Fridays’, a gathering of local gourmet food trucks. Roosterfish has been serving the Westside Gay Community seven days a week for 34 years and lights up the grill Sundays on the back patio.
Venice is renowned for independent purveyors of chic clothing, art and home décor. A few brand names, such as Lucky Brand, Toms, and Fiorentini & Baker have flagship stores here, but for the most part, shops curate the au currant designs of high fashion designers and up and comers. Many shops specialize in made in L.A. or CA products, including Civilianaire and Stronghold for high end Selvage jeans, Kendall Conrad for stylish hand-made leather purses, backpacks, wallets, and more, and Koko for pure handmade art as wearable fashion.
Spas & Health
You don’t need a membership to get a great work out in a class at Yas Fitness for spinning and yoga, or Studio U for Pilates, TRX, and Cardio. If you’re here on an extended stay with the family, The Dailey Method (located next door to the back entrance of Intelligentsia Coffee) offers childcare. For private or semi-private (2) Pilates lessons, Breedlove Pilates offers classes in a fully equipped cottage studio. Several hair salons and Spas are also located in and around Abbot Kinney and Rose Avenue.