Located at the corner of 6th and Rose, this groovy bungalow boutique offers a happy mix of drapey dresses in retro prints, baby soft wraps, sparkly costume jewelry and vintage slips tie-dyed in a rainbow of hues. It radiates with the same positive vibes and fun-loving personality of owner, ME (sounds like Emmy) Ster-Molnar, who designs (and tie-dyes) most of the items herself.
Named after herself and her sister Blue, Ster-Molnar loves to incorporate the bold patterns they remember as kids in the '70s with the effortless fashion of beachside living, and with most of her signature label comfortably priced at less than $100, it's not surprising that ME & Blue has become one of Venice's most beloved boutiques.
"The beauty of producing locally is that I can cut stuff, have patterns developed, designed and tested pretty quickly," says Ster-Molnar. "I can get stuff out in the store within a couple of weeks."
Some of her direction comes from customer requests. If something sells really well, or if several shoppers make a similar recommendation about fit or color, she quickly reacts to the feedback. But Ster-Molnar bases most of her styles on what she'd like to wear -- elegant, comfortable numbers that can be cinched at the waist or let loose to drape freely.
It's this same intuition that led Ster-Molnar from the Philadelphia boutique where she launched ME & Blue more than 13 years ago to where she is today. Her defining moment came in the cut of an A-line top that was an instant success, and after six years of honing her beach-ready garments, she moved to LA. Not quite ready to open another boutique, however, she worked various design and merchandising projects, which eventually led to a position at Poolside, a home decor and lifestyle shop in Santa Monica. While at Poolside, she visited the recently-opened landscape/hardscape boutique Big Red Sun in 2008 and was instantly smitten by the "vacation" vibe of its location on Rose Ave. Within a few months, the corner shop next to Big Red Sun posted a "For Rent" sign, and the timing was ideal to make a new home for ME & Blue.
"I wanted a little bungalow with a garden outside, and it appeared … next to a garden store!" says Ster-Molnar.
ME & Blue opened in June 2009. Whole Foods had moved into the neighborhood, and the development down the road, which would eventually become The Frank, and then the Avalon apartments, had just broken ground. The street was quiet with only a few shops and restaurants, and parking was scarce due to the RVs, but Ster-Molnar knew that something special was happening.
By the end of the year, Big Red Sun moved one house over into the big blue bungalow where it is now, and Stephanie Stuart, the owner of Poolside, moved in right between ME & Blue and Big Red Sun. She rebranded her shop as The Golden State. With a shared garden behind the three shops and unique finds within each one, Ster-Molnar, Stuart and Big Red Sun owner Selena Souders have been a creative force, developing Rose Ave into the destination spot that it is today.
ME & Blue // 566 Rose Ave., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 392-BLUE
Chef Aaron Ziegler will debut his pop-up restaurant Bull & Dragon tomorrow night at Flake, which runs through the end of December. The nine-item menu highlights his signature style of vibrant slow-cooked foods using modern methods and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some of the fresh-picked produce will even come from his personal garden in Venice. Dishes include stuffed cuttlefish with scallop mousse, smoked duck breast salad, rabbit mole, and bacon-wrapped venison chops with winter squash.
Here's a before and after look at Chef Aaron's backyard veggie garden at his home in Venice.
After working with some of the most notable names in the culinary scene including Susan Tracht, Govind Armstrong, and Wolfgang Puck, and appearing on Spike TV's "Covert Kitchens" hosted by Graham Elliott, Ziegler wants to open his own restaurant and has been raising funds to launch Bull & Dragon as a popup, an advantageous way for up-and-coming chefs to ease their way into the investment of brick-and-mortar restaurants.
"Flake was chosen because they're closed for dinner, they're super clean, organized and friendly, and I live locally -- just a few blocks away," says Ziegler.
This was also the location of choice for Chef Ari Taymor who launched Alma as a pop-up at Flake before settling into his permanent space in Downtown LA and earning Bon Appetit's honor of "Best New Restaurant of 2013."
Most recently, Ziegler made a guest appearance in Chef Walter el Nagar's kitchen at Barbershop Ristorante, another pop-up across town at Local 1205, which settled in permanently as Ostricaro Fisico.
"Walter and I have become friends, and I've been helping him with his pop-up Barbershop since it moved to Venice, so he's lending his help and some equipment to my pop-up," says Ziegler. The "Collision" was for one week when we teamed up with the Amalur Project, a separate pop-up. That, by the way, was a blast for all of us to collaborate together. I'm sure we'll do it again in the future."
Bull & Dragon opens this Thursday, December 5 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and serves every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night until December 21. The menu ranges from $15 appetizers to $25 entrees. A three-course tasting is $45, and a five-course tasting is $70.
Bull & Dragon // 513 Rose Ave., Venice CA 90291 // (612) 250-2661
With a storied past that's as colorful as its signature pottery and tableware, the Luna Garcia ceramics studio is itself a true collectible. Located at the corner of San Juan Ave. and Main St., the storefront's modest pink awning barely hints at the double showroom, expansive workspace and other nooks that have influenced what's come to define Venice to the larger world.
Artists Cindy and Curtis Ripley founded Luna Garcia in 1979. At the time, these two Texas natives were living in Richmond while Curtis taught ceramics and Cindy completed an MFA degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. They began to make their sculptural pottery in a variety of saturated colors that reminded them of the Southwest and their favorite spicy Mexican cuisine. Some of their earliest pieces, which are now sold on eBay for upwards of $600, are decorated with chili peppers and tortillas.
"My husband had a tenured college teaching job at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where we had our kids," says Cindy. "We were there eight years. He had a show [in Los Angeles] in 1984 at Garth Clark Gallery. He was in ceramics and I was a painter at the time, so go figure. We came out here for his opening. My mom in Texas kept our two little kids, and we had the best time. We were kind of ready for the modern art world. He considered moving us to New York, and I didn't love it as much. Venice looked like SoHo with a beach to me. And we've just loved it."
Soon after the show, the Ripleys packed up their Ford Wagon and moved to Venice. Now their grandkids play in the studio just like their kids did nearly 30 years ago. Cindy became the primary designer at Luna Garcia, evolving the colors and collections over the years to include "Dots," "Sticks," and "Scallions," among others on satin matte colored glazes while Curtis built a successful career in painting. Some of his pieces are displayed in the Luna Garcia studio, complementing the pottery, sharing the color and texture.
Luna Garcia, named after Cindy's grandmother, made an appearance in part five of the BBC documentary, "Hotel California: LA from the Byrds to the Eagles," highlighting, among other things, a small makeshift stage where the Eagles played, which now serves as one of the Luna Garcia showrooms. Joni Mitchell once frequented the gallery and became a collector of the ceramics. The large space also once served as the workplace for influential publications such as the '70s/early '80s WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.
Over the years, Luna Garcia's fanbase only continues to grow. Today, you can find their creations on the tables of some of the best restaurants on the Westside including Gjelina, Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry.
Their latest line, the "Creamy White Dinnerware," which was designed by Curtis, is a favorite of Rustic Canyon Chef Jeremy Fox. The clear glossy glaze lets the natural color of the clay shine through. It's lighter and more refined, like bone china, but retains the impression of human touch, most notably in the hand-sketched detailing on its delicate black lip.
Rustic Canyon Chef Jeremy Fox posted the following photos via Instagram: "Just picked up some more beautiful new plates, made a few miles away in Venice," writes Fox. In the second photo, he captures the Luna Garcia plate with, "Fried pig tail and bacon larb with romesco."
Although Luna Garcia items are instant collectibles, featured in fine art galleries, and cherished in homes all over the world, they're sturdy pieces meant to be used and built to last. They're also incredibly versatile. A pitcher could easily serve as a vase, and a stackable wine cup presents dessert beautifully. The palette of colors and textures can be mixed and matched with endless possibility, and that's exactly where Cindy finds the joy in all of it -- seeing her work come to life in the hands and homes of others. She says it's important for people to be able to find items like these. It's meaningful to know where and how they were made.
"I have truly loved owning a true family business," says Cindy. "Our kids both worked here on Saturdays growing up and our son is still a part of it, and everyone working here seems like family! And it really is a pleasure to make things that people actually use."
201 San Juan Ave.
Venice CA 90291
The last time you were circling the Whole Foods parking lot, you might have glanced across Lincoln to notice a group of highly motivated individuals running sprints, flipping over tires and lifting kegs. (What's this, you ask. A new business taking over another auto body shop on Lincoln?) By the time you load the trunk with fresh veg for this week's juice cleanse, you're thinking it might be time to spice up your fitness routine, and you'd like to know more about this Deuce Gym.
Combining general CrossFit strength and conditioning with specialized training programs, Deuce Gym embodies the versatility, expertise and enthusiasm of founding coaches Logan Gelbrich and Danny Lesslie who have evolved the business from small group workouts on the Santa Monica bluffs into a rapidly growing community of members who settled into a permanent space in Venice.
"We made it through a few winters outside, and then we were fortunate enough to get into this place," says Lesslie.
Gelbrich and Lesslie met three years ago training together at a CrossFit program in Santa Monica. Gelbrich, a Santa Monica native who played college baseball at the University of San Diego and then professionally for the San Diego Padres, and Lesslie, a Kansas City transplant who left his corporate gig as a financial advisor to dedicate himself to strength training and coaching, loved the communal aspect of CrossFit programs but wanted to also incorporate specialized coaching so that anyone, at most any age, and in any physical condition, could come in and find the right workout, and achieve their individual fitness goals. They ventured out and created Functional Fitness On The Bluffs, or FFOTB, which Gelbrich admits is not the ideal name from a marketing perspective, but FFOTB members lovingly referred to it as Fake Gym and the idea caught on quickly. However, as the group began to bulk up, it wasn't long before the City of Santa Monica saw Fake Gym as a real problem and started to impose regulations. Gelbrich and Lesslie began their search for a new place, and in February 2013, re-opened at 110 S. Lincoln, the former Pacific Service & Repair, which aesthetically has been incorporated into the new brand, Deuce Gym.
"We don't hide that," says Gelbrich. "The branding and look and feel of things has this vintage racing element, and the idea was to embrace the garage. The '2' is symbolic of the racing number on the side of a race car, and also because it is the second gym."
It's also emblematic of their move from Santa Monica to Venice:
"In 1915, the Grand Prix was held here in Venice," says Gelbrich. "It was supposed to be held in Santa Monica, and right up until the race, the community caused a little uproar, and an article back then said the wealthy opinions of Santa Monica swayed the mayor to cancel the event because it was going to be dangerous and problematic. So Venice raised their hands and said, 'Yeah we can do it here,' and it was this international success. 70,000 people were here. It was international news, a huge event, part of the race track was on Lincoln, dead man's curve was on Washington, and it's this whole cool history of Venice that few people know. So we saw the funny metaphor there, and we embraced our new home here in Venice."
They also brought on Coach Lindsey (Dr. Lindsey Mathews DC) who leads the Women's Only Program and the Goal Setting Program. She also doubles as a chiropractor for elite athletes including Sam Briggs and Lindsey Valenzuela.
The best part about the new and improved Deuce Gym? Both Gelbrich and Lesslie agree that it's the tight-knit community of friends and neighbors who motivate each other in and out of the gym. Deuce is not only a place to exercise, it's a place to barbecue, a place to see old friends and new ones, and a place to feel welcome.
"You'll be coached here better than you've ever been coached anywhere in your life," says Gelbrich. "It just so happens that we also have this community element."
110 S. Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291
"If you have an idea, go for it. No one else is going to do it for you. Go do it. What are you waiting for? And if it's meaningful to you, it's going to be meaningful to someone else."
Rachelle Tratt shares the same advice that she gave herself a year and a half ago when she founded The Neshama Project, a line of hamsa jewelry that delivers love and light to the shiny souls who wear them. As a dreamer and world traveler who seeks meaning in hidden places and strength from hardship, the word neshama resonated with her for several years before it manifested into a creative outlet, a burgeoning business, and a charitable project. It's Hebrew for soul, and the 'N' honors her mother, Nicole, who passed away when Tratt was nine.
"The Neshama Project was going to be something related to yoga, travel ... and the story of the hamsa kept coming back," says Tratt.
A few years after losing her mother, Tratt's brother suffered an accident that left him paralyzed from the legs down. With her childhood marked by tragedy, Tratt grew up quickly and spent early adulthood seeking happiness and fulfillment. During this transitional period, just before discovering and dedicating herself to yoga, she received a blue hamsa necklace as a gift. The hamsa symbolizes protection, happiness, health, and for Tratt, it was motivation to focus on the positive, to endure and push forward with new experiences and bigger adventures.
"I don't believe in living a life of regret, and if something doesn't work, find a way to make it work in a different way," she says.
Her vision began to crystallize when she first visited Venice in 2008. Shortly after the one-week yoga training session at Exhale, she packed her Toyota Corolla, and with her golden-doodle Bailey, moved from South Florida. Surrounded by a community of creators who lived their art, Tratt was inspired to finally breathe life into The Neshama Project, a url that had been lying dormant for nine months. She sourced 30 hamsa charms along with silver and gold chains in Downtown LA, and started to work. She attached them to brown paper cards with typed messages of love, encouragement and well wishes for the people who would eventually wear her blue opal hamsas, and set up an online storefront that enabled customers to designate a portion of the proceeds to charity, including two near-and-dear organizations, Innovation Africa and Zeno Mountain Farm.
Innovation Africa is a non-profit organization that brings sustainable Israeli technology to African villages, providing light, clean water, food and medical care. Zeno Mountain Farm runs camps for people with and without disabilities, connecting everyone together through friendship.
"It's not just a storefront," says Tratt. "I try and highlight people who are doing their part in making this world a healthier, brighter, and more soulful place. My dream has always been to have The Neshama Project represent something greater in life."
The next frontier for The Neshama Project lies in Israel, a sacred place for Tratt where her parents met and fell in love before moving to rural upstate New York to raise their three children.
"I've been guiding young adults on trips to Israel for the past four years, and it just feels like a natural progression to make my own trip," says Tratt. "It's a 10-day soulful adventure traveling the Middle East. My goal with this is to offer people an out-of the-box experience, to get out of their comfort zone, expand their mind and connect with the land and their soul, and in turn continue to bring light to this place that means so much to me."
She also wants to help others discover their own neshama projects, to create personal happiness and success, and then pay it forward to others in the same way that she has been supported. The mission is simple: "In every day, in every moment, find ways to make people smile. Wake them up, give them hope, and help them shine. Right now it's in the form of yoga, in the form of a necklace, it's in the form of everything I try to do."
Photos courtesy Rachelle Tratt and @TheNeshamaProject via Instagram.
Rachelle Tratt is a self-proclaimed dreamer who followed her heart and yogic journey to Venice five years ago where she found the inspiration to launch The Neshama Project, a collection of handmade hamsa jewelry that delivers love and light to all the shiny souls who wear them. Neshama is Hebrew for soul, and the 'N' is a tribute to her mother, Nicole, who passed away when Tratt was nine. The hamsa is a symbol of happiness, protection and good health, and each necklace from The Neshama Project reminds its wearer to seek bliss and appreciate the beauty within themselves and the world around them.
Although this free-spirited, world traveler fancies herself a wanderer, she is also an ambitious Virgo who thrives on a to-do list, so we asked Tratt to jot down a few recommendations of her favorite places around the neighborhood and why they bring her joy. (Photos courtesy Rachelle Tratt and @TheNeshamaProject via Instagram.)
The Yoga Collective
"You can usually find me here teaching on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 8pm and Friday and Sunday at 11am. If I am not teaching, I am usually practicing with our amazing teachers that I am lucky to call friends. It is a beautiful local community vibe kind of studio, and an urban sanctuary to breathe, sweat, and connect."
The Yoga Collective // 512 Rose Ave., Venice CA 90291
"Yummy food, community vibe, and positivity infused with every meal. Where else can you go and order an 'I am whole' or 'I am celebrated'? It is rare that I eat here and don't run into someone that I know. I love having places to go where you can eat healthy food, and feel a part of a greater community at large."
Cafe Gratitude // 512 Rose Ave., Venice CA 90291
The Venice Farmers' Market
"Every friday morning I take Bailey on a walk to the Farmers' Market. I love shopping locally and building relationships with vendors. I am obsessed with the Korean vendor. I usually come home with boxes of fermented veggies and their spicy tempeh to last me all week....mmmmm.....and I love Maggies Farms. They have the best baby kale to use in salads, and the guys who run it are super sweet and fun. I buy myself fresh flowers here too, as a symbol and reminder of letting go of the week, and bringing beauty into the weekend ahead, which was a tradition passed down from my grandmother. She was the first to say, "You don't need a man to buy you flowers, buy them yourself! You deserve them!'"
"'Please oh please may I have a Hempi-nental?' The home of my warm, organic, local, latte infused with hemp milk that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love that people come here, and sit outside, and take time to enjoy their drinks with their dogs and friends."
Groundwork Coffee // 671 Rose Ave., Venice CA 90291
"On a sunny day, you can either find me laying on the sand with a book and some good tunes or on a run with my golden-doodle pups, Bailey. I am lucky to live a mile from mother nature's beautiful waves. There is something so calming yet rejuvenating about the beach. It reminds me to pause and experience the beauty that exists all around me."
"I live a few blocks from Sunny Spot, so it's nice to be able to walk over to a local spot where you can order fresh brewed ginger beer with a kick! The added bonus of this place is that everything is turquoise, which happens to be my happy color."
Sunny Spot // 822 W Washington Blvd., Venice CA 90292
"Nothing like having your local coffee spot a block away from where you live. Everyone is super friendly, inviting, their almond latte is heavenly, and the food is delicious! I mean any place that has an option for both sweet potato fries and sweet potato tater tots is doing right in by me!"
Cafe Buna // 3105 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey CA 90292
The Studio (MDR)
"This ain't your momma's type of pilates class. This is what I like to call 'pilates on crack!.' Classes are on a megaformer and set to really loud and fun music that gets your juices going! Just steps away from the ocean, Studio MDR is bright, colorful, clean and provides not only a killer workout but a super sweet community experience. All the teachers inspire you to challenge and grow, while the front desk staff's caring demeanor make you feel fully taken care of. Just a fifteen minute walk for my pups and I, you can usually find me here at least twice a week getting my fix of my pilates crack."
The Studio (MDR) // 330 Washington Blvd, Unit B, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Every couple wants to infuse some personality into their big day, and for Bennett and Talia who married in August at the Adamson House in Malibu, it came bottled up in the form of homebrewed IPA and summery Saison, lovingly made at home using fresh herbs from their garden. As a Brooklyn transplant who had several guests visiting from New York, Bennett also wanted to give them a taste of life on the Westside. Festivities began with a welcoming cocktail party at Bodega, then rehearsal dinner at Upper West, and for guests who were so inclined, morning yoga on Venice Beach the day of the wedding. Since the honeymoon, Bennett and Talia have settled into married life and are still brewing hoppily ever after.
With the holidays approaching and seasonal treats like gingerbread ale on our minds, we caught up with this homebrewing hubby to ask a few questions about how he got started and what he'd recommend for some beginners like us.
How did you get into making your own beer at home?
I was given a beer making kit (not Mr. Beer, like, a real starter kit) many years ago when I lived in a tiny apartment in NYC and used it once. A couple years after that, still in my previous incarnation as a New Yorker, a couple from Brooklyn started selling one-gallon beer making kits, much more reasonable to work with in the confines of a typical NYC apartment than the five-gallon kit I originally had.
TIP: "Brooklyn Brew Shop has grown to become way successful and I've even seen their one-gallon kits at Whole Foods Venice, an awesome way to get into brewing your own beers."
Anyhow, cut to my life in LA. I was still brewing the one gallon batches when I found myself in a job surrounded by beer nerds [shout out to Chris and Johan!] and I knew I needed to step up my game, so at some point after living here for a while I got another five-gallon kit and started brewing larger batches again.
Fun Fact: Talia doesn't really drink beer. She can't stand carbonation. She still makes a very good brew buddy.
What did you name your wedding beer?
I ended up making two beers for the wedding, though I clearly favored one of them. There was a basic IPA whose recipe I got from the Culver City Homebrew Supply shop, and a Saison that turned out so well I ended up making a second batch. The IPA was originally going to have Peanut's (our puggle's) name in it, something like Peanut's Pugnacious Pale Ale, but then I dug up an old picture of Peanut wearing a yarmulke and thought of a terrible pun: Hoppy Hoppy! Oy! Oy! (If you're a Ren and Stimpy fan... please forgive me.)
The Saison is called 'I Do' Brew, which was the winning contender after I asked a couple friends for help naming that one. Our invites were designed by Will Staehle, and I sliced them up a bit to do this label as well as a bunch of other elements from the wedding.
Describe the characteristics of Hoppy Hoppy! Oy! Oy! and I Do Brew
I am a bit of a beer nerd, and beer nerds often like to drink beers that may be a bit intense … bitter, heavy, strong … for those who are used to the Buds and Heinekens of the world, so I knew that I couldn't make all the beers at the wedding completely inaccessible. Hoppy Hoppy! Oy! Oy! is a pretty approachable IPA, but may be a bit hoppy for someone who's not used to the style. I only made one batch of it (five gallons... about 48 bottles' worth) but it went over very well.
I knew the other beer would have to have pretty broad appeal, and I also knew we were getting married in the late summer in Malibu, so it had to be crisp and refreshing. I was chatting with a friend who remembered this great Stone / Dogfish Head / Victory collaboration beer called Saison do BUFF. Saisons are Belgian farmhouse beers known to be refreshing and summery, just what you need after a long day of toiling on the farm... or getting hitched in Malibu. They are also often supplemented with herbs and spices, and Saison du BUFF had a little bit of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme in it. That made it extra tasty.
Fun Fact: Bennett grew the rosemary and thyme for the batches in his garden. He also grows hops (but not enough for this batch).
Stone conveniently published an adapted version of the Saison du BUFF recipe for five-gallon quantities, so I adapted that recipe to be able to work with my brewing equipment. Their published recipe was all-grain, but I don't have the gear for that... yet, and brewed up a batch in early June. A month or so later, some friends were over and we decided to have a taste of one of the bottles, and it was so good that I decided to brew another batch that was ready just in time for the wedding.
How much did you make?
There were leftovers! We had 150 people at our wedding and may have overbought on the booze front. We got nearly enough wine for every person to have an entire bottle AND about 15 gallons (about 150 bottles) of homebrew AND two other California beers; Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen and North Coast Brewing Scrimshaw Pilsener.
How long does it take?
You can go from brewing to carbonated bottles in about a month, though these batches took maybe 5 to 6 weeks until they were ready; maybe 10 days fermenting in what's called 'primary' fermentation, in which the yeast goes nuts and converts the delicious sugars in the pre-beer into alcohol and the unique flavors that the yeast strain you're using imparts, and then another couple of weeks in another vessel for secondary fermentation where the fermentation has slowed but the flavors have a bit more time to develop. After that, the beer was bottled and needed to wait another week or two for it to be sufficiently carbonated. A little sugar is added before bottling so the yeast produces just enough carbonation to make the beer fizzy and not to make the bottles explode.
For a complete step-by-step brewing tutorial from Bennett, visit his How To Homebrew Guide. (Orange Crocs brewing shoes optional.)
All photos provided courtesy Bennett Kolasinski.
After a long, hairy month of growing handlebars and mutton chops and raising funds and awareness for men's health, raise a pint with your fellow mustached brothers and sisters of Venice and partake in some well-deserved Movember merriment at the first Stouts N Staches bar crawl this Saturday, November 23, from 2 to 8 p.m.
Festivities begin at the Hotel Erwin beer garden with craft beer specials, free shaves from Floyd's 99 Barbershop, a photo booth, mustache contest and live music from Mind the Gap and Jack of Hearts, a Bob Dylan tribute band.
Bank of Venice, Townhouse, Larry's, Danny's, The Sidewalk Cafe, Canal Club and James' Beach will all be serving up drink and food specials for those with a Stouts N Staches wristband -- $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event -- with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Movember. VIP passes are also available for $50 and include all-you-can-drink craft beers from Goose Island and Venice Beach Brewing Company, wines from Mustache Wines and Rebel Coast Winery, and access to High Rooftop's Stache Lounge with free haircuts from Floyd's and man-icures.
"All attendees who flash their real stache at the check-in, are automatically entered to win a special Hotel Erwin prize package valued at over $500," according to Stouts N Staches.
DETAILS // Stouts N Staches Presented by The Hotel Erwin // 1697 Pacific Ave., Venice CA 90291
TICKETS // Purchase Stouts N Staches Wristbands
GQ's Abbot Kinney shopping event takeover on Saturday kind of tasted like the Hipster Lemonade sold in front of The Brig's #GQHQ lot party; a combination of sweet and sour with a heaping scoop of sarcastic humor.
The day's highlights started with a morning raucous at The Brig with Save Venice event protesters carrying "Hipsters Go Home!" signs, demanding that they be taken out of GQ's national spotlight as the "coolest block in America," an unwelcomed title that they say exacerbates the trend of big money moving in and family-owned businesses moving out with the rising cost of rent.
Not protesting, however, were 50 new and seasoned Abbot Kinney shops who participated in the event by welcoming the young and stylish foot traffic into their doors by offering discounts, sample sales, gifts with purchase, and in-store events, such as the free shaves at TOMS by Rudy's Barbershop.
We stopped in to ask a few of the shop owners what they thought of the event, and while the day generally proved to be fairly mellow without any record-breaking sales, it's not surprising that, politics and corporate sponsorship aside, many of them prefer a block party that brings people inside their stores versus events hosted outside.