With tourists, locals, street performers, homeless people and surfers walking, dining, shopping and drinking, it's truly an experience to behold. Tourist souvenirs, bongs and bad $1 pizza makes up most of the Venice Beach commerce.
For this article, we did most of our oceanfront spending on liquid assets. We start our journey in the middle of the boardwalk, head north for the sun's demise and south again for our own.
THE SIDEWALK CAFÉ
1401 Ocean Front Walk
There's not really much of a sidewalk where The Sidewalk Café is located, so perhaps it would've been more appropriate to name it The Boardwalk Café, or The Side of the Beach Café, or even The Café Next to Which People Walk. All nomenclature issues aside, The Sidewalk Café is really a great place to get drunk.
While they have a full bar, the pitchers of margaritas are really the way to go here. Let me rephrase that. If you are an albino, a vampire, or just really, really sunburned, then you can sit inside at the mildly depressing inside bar (it is beachfront adjacent) and order whatever your little heart desires. If you sit on the patio, as you should, then please order margaritas.
The regular and the raspberry margaritas, both on the rocks, are very good. The blended strawberry margarita is a lot like a slurpee (and we've concluded it might have the alcohol content of one, too).
The green blended margarita is amazing, but a little bit on the sweet side. After four pitchers of margaritas we can't remember the name, but it was good, and it looked like something that might've been spewed out of a green goblin … or us if we tried doing cartwheels shortly after drinking one. Not that we would ever do cartwheels, or even know how.
Everything we've eaten there has been fine, and it's a lot easier to enjoy your food when there's a purpose to it: to provide a buffer for all that we're about to drink. They serve breakfast all day, and that's a good thing, but you already knew that. —JS
THE TERRACE CAFÉ
7 Washington Blvd.
Jonas ordered a vodka-infused chicken pasta dish, which, we'd later discover, was aptly named the Sunset Rigatoni. He stabbed at some squishy things on his plate and proclaimed their awesomeness with an array of vulgarities.
When I offered my theory on their origin being fungal, he again launched into an expletive-laden tirade on the impossibility of such and his hatred of mushrooms. Further deduction revealed them to be artichoke hearts. Delicious.
I'd had a long day and told myself I deserved a prime-rib. It was less than stellar; nothing terrible, but nothing you couldn't find at a Vegas buffet.
“Why do you get the tough-guy knife and I've got this little rustic one,” Jonas asked.
“I don't know. I'm struggling just trying to decide which fork to use,” I said.
Serving high-end food until 1 a.m., the Terrace is definitely a great place to take a date. A decent beer list and an impressive collection of Vodkas helps to make non-dates fun for everyone. —AN
ON THE WATERFRONT CAFÉ
205 Ocean Front Walk
Our afternoon experience at the On the Waterfront Café taught us two very valuable things. Lesson One: When drinking on the patio, always make sure to switch sides every 45 minutes or so in order to avoid looking like Two-Face from Batman Forever . Lesson Two: We are local celebrities (that is if you celebrate alcoholism in such a manner as Aztecs celebrate virgin sacrifice).
At On the Waterfront, we knew everyone in the bar. And on the sidewalk. And jogging by. And walking their dog. And the sadly impressive part: it was a Tuesday afternoon.
Waterfront only serves beer and wine, but the bartender Jean-Luc is an amazing human being. Talk to him, he's very funny – in a Mr. Bean meets Borat kind of way. The scientific term for that is “French.”
The only downside to our experience was that a greedy street performer, 80 feet from us, demanded payment for a musical performance that we couldn't even hear. He cryptically prophesized that “you have to give love to get love,” and sadly, neither of us has gotten any love since (although not for lack of trying). —JS