The bars and restaurants in Venice Beach provide an eclectic and unique nightlife scene with a vast range of both people and ambiance. While the venues on Rose or Abbot Kinney provide a chic backdrop for a GNO or date night, the bars on Washington Blvd are cool and casual – from funky, dive style to DJs with light shows. But recently, Venice’s most coveted reservation is at The Pier House, which reopened this June with a fresh interior and fun new menu.
I headed to the coast on a Saturday with a girlfriend for a sunset reservation, as this site is as beachfront as it gets. We settled on the heated patio to enjoy the fresh air, the fading sky, and some riveting people watching. The revamped décor was dreamy, like something you’d see in the Greek Islands. Light and bright, the patio included beige benches, wicker chairs, and floating wicker chandeliers. The inside popped with orange velvet seating and a well adorned bar. To match the Euro-vacay vibes, a playlist of smooth electronic dance music made me wiggle in my seat. I asked our waitress – who was so beautiful I’d return just to look at her face again – what the crowd has been like since the reopening, and she noted that it was mostly couples. Glancing at the nearby tables, I could tell she was correct. And while I definitely see the date night appeal – romantic but not overly fancy, quality but not overpriced – for me, this open-air venue is screaming for a hot, young crowd who’s eager to drink and party from brunch ‘til close.
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As the sun neared the horizon, I found myself eager to drink. I ordered a Great Blue Sky from the cocktail list. To my surprise, this mix glittered with each stir. I marveled and took my share of Instagram videos before delighting in the equally enticing taste. A mezcal cocktail (of course), the smokey notes were offset by the sweet and spicy addition of Xila Liquer, which was new to me but has since been added to my home bar. The combination of presentation and taste made me enthusiastic about the array of options, and I’m planning on trying a Pina Blue on my next visit. Our waitress noted that the cocktails on the Lounge Menu are “to die for,” and I’m keeping that in mind for the next time I need a post-beach beverage.
Our experience was truly beyond compare, as the chef guided us through the full menu with a tantalizing tasting tour. If you enjoy pungent yuzu flavors and sharp Asian vinaigrettes, this is the restaurant for you! My personal highlights include the Peruvian Scallops which are served in a photo-ready purple seashell and the Seared Salmon which comes with dipping sauce and a zesty slaw. Both dishes have an Asian flair that I haven’t seen applied to seafood in quite this manner and manage to be light and filling all at once. Across the board, the food – from calamari to mussels to chicken skewers – was packed with flavor. Perhaps my favorite, however, was the dessert. The Honey Brick Toast kept us coming back for more, even when we were far past full. Somehow, the simpleness of vanilla ice cream inside toasted brioche with honey and white chocolate managed to be elevated and delicious without being overly rich; not to mention, it’s also very aesthetically pleasing.
At the end of the evening, with the sky turning to dusk, both my Instagram story and my stomach were fully satiated. I can say, without doubt, that it’s only a matter of time before grabbing a seat at this seaside eatery is on everyone’s summer agenda.