LA city guide: The best food, drink and shopping on Abbot Kinney
From restaurants and bars to boutiques and galleries, here’s your essential LA city guide to eating, drinking, shopping and playing on Abbot Kinney.
Mon Sep 17 2012
Every first Friday of the month, the street comes alive on First Fridays. Art galleries and stores open late and restaurants and bars open their doors for a neighborhood block party. Food trucks—Kogi, Coolhaus, Grilled Cheese, Flying Pig—line the streets as live music sets the mood. Parking is impossible, so get there early—although the party isn’t in full swing until 10pm—or find a spot behind Abbot Kinney on Electric Avenue.
Sunday and Monday nights (8-11pm, 9pm-midnight, respectively) are when locals stop into Hal’s Bar & Grill for live jazz. Come for the music and stick to the bar menu and beer list.
Venice has historically been home to artists and the block’s galleries feature locally crafted furniture, jewelry and fine art. Altered Space has an indoor-outdoor space that features jewelry, furniture, sculptures and paintings from local artists. A more formal gallery space from former director of New York’s Milk Gallery, Kana Manglapus Projects features rotating exhibits of mixed media from emerging talent.
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The street’s business owners share their Abbot Kinney favorites
Tina Wakino, owner of Bazar
“There’s a real sense of community in Venice and transportation is by bicycle, skateboard, or foot. So, it’s impossible to travel even a block without bumping into one or two people you know. Everyone’s out and about in the streets and interacting with each other.”
Favorite cup of java: Intelligentsia
Hans Röckenwagner, Chef/Owner, 3 Square Café/Röckenwagner Bakery
“What initially drew me to Abbot Kinney in the ’80s and then again 6 years ago [when 3 Square Café and Röckenwagner Bakery opened] was its creative, independent streak. It’s one part West Village with its fantastic boutiques and its au courant design shops and one part Berlin’s Mitte with its irreverent pop-up stores, art studios and eclectic food scene. Plus, we have the weather and the beach. There’s no other street in the world quite like Abbot Kinney.”
Favorite stores: Tortoise and A+R
Craig Weiss, Owner, Local 1205
“Abbot Kinney is my home. I put my future and heart here. There are a lot of soulful people here who live their lives with integrity and want to improve their lives.”
Favorite restaurant: Shima. “It’s the only place I know of in LA that makes homemade tofu.”
Christopher and Michael Rosen, Owners/Designers, Guild
“Abbot Kinney is the only place in LA where you can park your car, eat, shop and spend a whole day here if you wanted to.”
Favorite Restaurant: Tasting Kitchen. “I’ve never had a bad meal there. The quality of ingredients is incredible. I will rarely eat pasta outside of Italian restaurants, but I will eat their homemade pasta.”
Rose Avenue: the new Abbot Kinney?
A few blocks from the famed Venice hot spot, Rose Avenue is enjoying a moment. The beautiful people have arrived and flocked to eateries like the vegan, raw NorCal import Café Gratitude—following up its Larchmont location with an expansive, light-filled indoor/outdoor space—and Superba Snack Bar which evokes an Argentinian hacienda, albeit one that has the block’s best people-watching.
Join the brunch and happy hour crowd at Oscar’s Cerveteca, which offers an extensive selection of beers on tap and by the bottle, along with beer-battered Baja fish tacos and LA Street Dogs that pay homage to the city’s bacon-wrapped dog.
Forget the usual list of cold-pressed juices. Moon Juice‘s menu may seem intergalactic—and prices exorbitant—but hardcore juicers find a home with the offerings of bee pollen, probiotics and anti-inflammatory maca in their smoothies.
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Shopping guide to Melrose Avenue
Guide to cheap eats near USC
Guide to cheap eats in Westwood Village