Curation Vol. 1: Things to Do in Venice and DTLA
There’s a lot to do in Los Angeles, whether you’re new to the city or looking to break out of your neighborhood radius and try something new. I’ve spent a chunk of time in Venice and downtown Los Angeles - that time has been spent eating, drinking, ooohing and aaaahing at cool shops, walking around, and hopefully, maybe, learning something more about this city and the many sub-cities within it. Here are my recs for things to do, see, explore while you’re in Venice or DTLA. You’re on your own for the middle of town.
This will be an ever-evolving list (and everlasting love).
Gjusta - Gjust go there and see for yourself. Pastries, sandwiches, entrees, breakfast, coffee, and beyond. You’ll likely see a celeb, too.
Gjelina - the older cooler sister to Gjusta, but the restaurant version.
Clutch - Industrial BBQ meets Mexican spot on Lincoln. It feels right to eat there at 3PM - it just does.
Great White - Worth the hype, cool digs with great cali-inspired fare. Post up on a lil’ stool outside and people watch. A few employees all have the shark logo tattooed on their bodies. I may or may not have a hat from there idk merch is cool.
Casablanca - make a reservation! fresh, handmade, coming-in-hot tortillas served at this authentic Mexican joint on Lincoln. The margs are **kisses fingers**
Neighbor - strong drink line-up, comfy vibes, a DJ might be there while you brunch. Buzzy, well-designed atmosphere.
Other Room - My favorite wine/beer (no liquor y’all!) spot in Venice. The lighting reminds me of a police interrogation room. Moody, vibey, cheersing in shadows. No one is found guilty.
Superba - I’ll get sued if I don’t bring up Superba. KIDDING. The breakfast potatoes and anything from the bakery are worth gushing over. Oh, I’m sorry Superba, who gave you permission to make breakfast HASH?
Flake - Get their breakfast burrito or take a hike. Bonus: there’s a sketchy black school bus parked next to them on the weekends - best vintage tees and merch inside. The dude who owns it rocks.
This is Flake.
I didn’t draw this. I wish I did.
Cocktails / Wine - Venice Beach Wines on Rose (cozy, great food, incredible wine line up), Old Lightening (new speakeasy), The Little Friend (buzzy DJ scene at night, nice cocktail spot early evening)
For A Pleasant Day Time Drink - The Lincoln, Industrial-chic bar on Lincoln blvd. Free hotdogs and burgers on Sundays. Yup. Send it on.
TO-DO / VIEWS
• Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop bar is notable for its panoramic views of the Venice beach and its often “kooky” boardwalk crowd. With a strong lineup of cocktails and some solid chips and guac, this is the perfect day through sunset spot - it doesn’t hurt that they have blankets for guests when it drops below 70 degrees.
• Venice Canals - grab a coffee/latte from Menotti’s or Great White by the Venice sign and stroll over to the canals. It’s free and one of a kind.
• General note - be mobile in Venice. Walk. Bike. Bird Scooter. Don’t bother with a car. You’ll see so much more of what Venice has to offer if you just stroll
Blade or bike along the boardwalk, nothing like it. You can bike all the way from Venice down to Hermosa and back.
BoxUnion - skews more Santa Monica on Ocean Ave but GREAT group boxing class, strong community
Barry’s Venice - probably the most impressive Barry’s facility on the west coast. Key words: Stretch Lounge.
34 Degrees North - flexibility, strength, movement. Super smart staff for a holistic workout.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
Barcito - killer tapas spot on 12th, also a stroll from Staples Center area. Get the empanadas. All of them.
Baco Mercat - my fav. Really impressive menu and wonderful vibes.
Kazunori - the hand-roll version of LA’s infamous Sugarfish. Wait in line, it moves quickly and it’s worth the wait.
Bavel - reserve your table 3-4 weeks in advance and just trust the process, trust that the hummus will make you cry happy tears and just throw your credit card in the pile when you’re done. Don’t look at the check.
Little Easy - New Orleans themed speakeasy restaurant - located on a sketchy street, but don’t let that fool you. Crazy SoCo food and drink list. Fried chicken has never tasted so good. I once watched a guy play Kid Cudi covers with an electric guitar there.
Preux and Proper - Oh you still want to visit New Orleans while you’re in DTLA? Hit this spot for incredible daiquiris that are made fresh daily… trouble.
House of Machines is a MUST to check out - basically the Deus of Arts District. Might as well check out the new Firehouse Hotel while you’re over there (approximately 30 paces north).
I also self-curated a "wine crawl" for the future in Arts District - kick it off at Pali Wine, stroll 10 mins to Pour Haus, stroll 4 mins to Silverlake Wines (Art District, yes, I see how that’s confusing) and then end at Everson Royce bar which is right next door (dope outside patio situation). There you have it. A DTLA date night adventure. Feel free to take it.
Coffee - Verve Coffee Roastery in Arts District (take an IG, buy the merch, do what you must, this location is PERFECT), and the Nomad Hotel is just, well, you’ll see. “Majestic” doesn’t do it justice, but “Your Majesty” feels a little closer.
The Spirit Guild - Whiskey-centric tasting lounge, located directly next to Blue Bottle Coffee and Zinc Restaurant.
Seven Grand - Jackalope Club, whiskey focused bar with so, so, so many whiskeys and bourbons. It’s insane. Play pool, sit in leather chairs with brass knot details.
Boomtown Brewery - the hidden gem of the Arts District breweries, no disrespect to Arts District or Angel City Breweries. Boomtown is the best of both worlds.
Dankness Dojo - Modern Times Brewery DTLA tasting room. Decorated in scuba diving gear and crazy artwork. Go.
Mikkellar Brewery - Yup, another one. But not in Arts District! Get the flight, and get the French fries.
Freehand Hotel - rooftop bar, Broken Shaker. Gives you some Palm Springs meets Miami vibes, right by the Financial District of DTLA. It’s always summer there.
The Standard DTLA - go ahead and sit in those modern pods (chairs). Often have a funky DJ spinning. Play some ping pong in the Ping Pong bar. Obama played there once.
The Rooftop at the Ace Hotel - Oh my bad, the bar is called “Upstairs.” They even squeezed a pool up there. Clutch spot for a El Sully on a hot Sunday at 4PM.
Prank Bar - LA’s first “walk up” bar, which means they have large window-like doors that open up to the sidewalk. KILLER happy hour options and a stroll from the Staples Center (but not too much in the thick of those crowds). Saxophone-led bands often play there.
BUZZ - wine beer battleship & bar. Its a lil’ shop, lil’ tasting room.
Everson Royce Bar - cool outdoor back patio vibes with exception happy hour lineup
The Nomad - worth mentioning again. Holy mother of VIBES. Shadily the best croissants I’ve ever had, too. The bathroom is a giant vault that you walk through.
71 & Above - Be ready to be at the highest bar in LA. Panoramic views, an expensive cocktail and view menu, and a little bit of vertigo. But holy shit, you can see everything.
EightyTwo Barcade - It’s a bar, and a …hospital. I’m kidding it’s a bar and an arcade. Right around the corner from the aorta of the Arts district’s Angel City Brewery.
Grand Central Market - explore the various eateries in this DTLA warehouse. All of the eateries.
Lost Spirits Distillery - immersive tasting experience of whiskey, rum and beyond. MUST SEE TO BELIEVE. And must reserve weeks in advance. It’s like Disney, but whiskey tasting, but you’re in a boat (?) but you’re at a carnival. Just TRUST me okay?
Cliftons - maybe you eat there, maybe you don’t. Just walk around. It’s one of the OG entertainment establishments of LA and its got a ton of character.
The Broad / MOCA / Natural History Museum / California Science Center - SO MUCH LEARNING AND ABSORBING. You could even pick up some of that good ol’ legalized cannabis from MedMen and have yourself a time.
ROW DTLA - art focused / retail collective, ever expanding. Often feature pop-ups from creative shops and emerging brands.
The Resident DTLA - indoor/outdoor food-trucky bar music and comedy venue with cool vibes. Get the grilled cheese!
Also Two Bit Circus -Adult arcade bar restaurant VR game center. Worth checking out.