While Abbot Kinney's notoriety has enticed a new wave of high-end retailers to take up residence on the popular strip, it's also encouraged independent store owners to pioneer east for more affordable rent. New shops and restaurants are crawling up Rose Avenue and setting roots along Lincoln Boulevard. It's hard to envision the high-traffic thoroughfare evolving into a popular L.A. walk street. It's Highway 1. But it doesn't have to. Residents to the east and west can easily meet in the middle.
The area is spotty and unpredictable, a high-low mashup of wealth and poverty, just like the locals who line its borders. And this is exactly what gives Lincoln its appeal. It is raw, eclectic, and a little repulsive - the perfect canvas for creativity and experimentation. The new Pearl Drop boutique from Jennifer Nicholson recently opened across from Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken Chinatown Express. And the inaugural Venice Music Crawl on June 22, an endeavor to bring music to the Westside, will kick off at the Venice Love Shack on Lincoln near Venice Blvd.
This stretch between Rose Ave. and Venice Blvd. has been dubbed "The Linc" by some of the local shop owners who are trying to get the name to catch on, and rumors are swirling about who's moving in next.
Our friends and neighbors are No. 1 on the list for multiple reasons in addition to the heavenly mac and cheese. Not only was this East-of-Lincoln pioneer the first cool kid on the block paving the way for others to follow suit, it received national props on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for its Texas/ North Carolina/ uniquely Southern California barbecue style and friendly neighborhood vibe. Not a meat-eater? We mentioned the mac and cheese. Also try the collard greens, okra and blues on the cob. Baby Blues delivers and caters, or you can buy some TripleX sauce for DIY grilling at home, but we prefer a seat at the bar, Tecates with lime, and catching up on neighborhood news with Robb and his crew while Johnny Cash and the Clash play overhead.
Baby Blues BBQ // 444 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 92091 // (310) 396-7675
Leathers and lace live in perfect harmony at Pearl Drop, the latest retail endeavor by designer Jennifer Nicholson. Paisley GoldDust dresses, chunky stone-encrusted Alex & Lee necklaces and vintage finds are toughened up and modernized with Nicholson's leather jackets and Ilia organic lip colors.
Pearl Drop // 328 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 399-1304
Pearl Drop moved into and upgraded the former S.O.S. (Supplemental Organic Solutions) space. The patio lounge was designed with help from Rose Ave. neighbors Golden State Store and Big Red Sun, and the parkway was upgraded with decomposed granite and desert plants. Dark, mysterious tinted windows remain in tact.
Well-made, straightforward wardrobe staples from iconic California and made-in-America brands are stocked inside this Indio-inspired gentlemen's boutique with a range of prices to help keep your cool.
Tradesmen // 1807 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291 // (424) 835-4397
Cool and earthy home accoutrements like dip-dyed linens and leather coasters from L.A.'s Commune Design (designers of the Ace Hotel Palm Springs), geometric hanging planters and room sprays in scents like Big Sur welcome the beauty of nature indoors. Moon calendars, spare gold bangles and old-timey wooden slingshots make great gifts.
General Store // 1801 Lincoln Blvd. Venice 90291 // (310) 751-6393
The best not-so-little wine shop in town featuring an impressive selection that satisfies every palate and budget with a knowledgable, approachable staff that's happy to make recommendations to beginners and connoisseurs. The shop also features a cellar, chilled champagne, top shelf liquor, and a tasting room is in the works.
Lincoln Fine Wines // 727 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA // (310) 392-7816
With a vast selection of bottles ranging from $5 to $5,000, decisions can be tough. Check out their wine of the month, or stop in for a recommendation based on what you're making for dinner tonight.
Tell Dustin we sent you. The Venice Plants store owner knows all of the neighborhood juice and can also point you to the perfect plants for your home or office. From palms to succulents, he has the best selection in town at the best prices, and he delivers. Done.
Venice Plants // 620 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 392-7923
Costumes to cupcake papers, Fire & Creme Kids stocks crafty, handmade, and vintage-inspired party essentials for kids (and kids at heart). Owner and party designer, Peggy North, offers pre-packaged "party-in-a-box" themes, or will plan parties start to finish. It's also conveniently located by La Pinata, a pinata and party rentals store.
Fire & Creme Kids // 1701 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291
Where the magic happens -- a craft bar at the center of the store is stocked with all of the essentials, from neon feathers to fairy dust.
For more than 10 years La Pinata has been holding its own on Lincoln Blvd. before the new boutiques started moving in next-door, and it's no surprise. Rent everything you need for your next outdoor soiree, from tables and linens, to heat lamps and barbecue grills. Service is always friendly and reliable and the prices are great. Best of all is the huge selection of pinatas! So you can skip the trip Downtown.
La Pinata // 1803 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // 310-306-3348
Pinatas range from $10 to $25. If you're looking for a specific pinata that's not in stock, they will order it or make it for you based on a photo that you provide.
Restaurant, full bar and live music (and comedy sometimes) in a casual, intimate space. The beautifully restored 1920s brick building has deep Venice roots and a storied past. Most notably, it was frequented by The Doors when it was the 4-H Club back in the '60s. The name is a play on WIT Animation (same owner) also in the building.
Witzend // 1717 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 305-4792
An eclectic ensemble of modern furniture, exotic textiles, artwork and jewelry all rolled up into this vibrant marketplace and gallery curated by local husband and wife duo who make regular trips to foreign lands to source their treasures. They'll be relocating to Santa Monica in the coming months, so take advantage of 20-50% discounts during their moving sale.
Live Style // 411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291 // 310-392-9781
Vintage chains made into modern charm bracelets.
It's not exactly a hidden gem - it's been here since the '70s and draws all walks of Venice locals - but the gritty facade may be off-putting to newcomers. (Trust us, it's open.) Just think of this as part of its charm and order a warm mushroom philly cheesesteak with extra cheese, the perfect reprieve from your cold-pressed juice cleanse.
Great Western Steak & Hoagie Company // 1720 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 450-4545
A must-see for industrial modern enthusiasts. This easy-to-miss vintage and reclaimed furniture store, across the street from Venice Love Shack, is like the daybed frames, church pews, pendant lights and stacks of bygone memorabilia inside - it's waiting to be discovered. Owner, curator and interior designer, Susan Lennon, also makes house calls to help customers hand pick the perfect items and coordinate color. She recently designed the studio for Tastemade, a Santa Monica-based online food network.
The Shop by H. Bleu // 2124 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 396-6200
Shabby chic chairs and dressers in hot pink and pastels demand to be noticed in the entryway of Mary Myers' jam-packed cottage, which is doused in her eclectic style that lands someplace between Hollywood glam and street art. Cans of turquoise paint and dismantled furniture make it feel like everything - even life - is a work in progress. Prices range from $25 to $500 and up, depending on the piece. Meyers says that the secret to her 13-year-run on Lincoln is to be bold and creative in a Venice sort of way, but accessible to everyone.
Painted Ladies // 1619 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 822-5507
Discover your spirit animal and a harmonious collection of art, jewelry, vintage clothing, children's books and custom-made drapey goddess dresses by modern flower child Hayley Starr whose boutique quadruples as a personal studio, gallery and event space.
The Quest by Hayley Starr // 2122 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291
Cat tanks! $40
Bike connoisseur and collector, Manny Gonzalez has been supplying and servicing cruisers to the beach community for the past 22 years.
Manny's Low Rider Bikes // 1613 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 306-3452
French gray walls and chandeliers are remnants of a shuttered clothing store owned by Manny's daughter. Now it's used as extra storage space for candy-colored cruisers.
Beyond the consignment pieces, there's a recording room with wall-to-wall vinyl and another studio that's rented out for yoga classes.
A gentleman's biker bar (lattes and pastries) located at the intersection of Lincoln and Venice Blvd. featuring men's clothing and accessories stocked among surfboards and motorcycles. Modern industrial decor - reclaimed wood, exposed brick and beams, concrete floors - connect the retail space and an indoor-outdoor lounge area where gents and ladies sip Handsome Coffee and click away on laptops.
Deus Ex Machina // 1001 Venice Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (888) 515-3387
This exotic sausage grill, which serves up 21 types of sausage, from mango jalapeno chicken and turkey to rattlesnake and rabbit, is where Britney Spears filmed her 2007 video "Gimme More" (It's Britney bitch), but at the time it was Air Conditioned Supper Club. Before Wurtkuche opened in 2011, it chipped away layers of exterior paint to expose the original brick facade, which you can see in the video, and windows that look out onto Lincoln.
Wurstkuche // 625 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (213) 687-4444
A crafter's paradise. Whether you want to reupholster furniture, decorate for a kid's party or find neon pink silk chiffon for your next festival ensemble, this is the place to get lost in DIY fantasyland.
Fabric Planet // 423 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 310-3049
Rolls and rolls and rolls of pretty patterns in every imaginable color and texture.
The whole rotisserie-roasted chickens are tasty to take home for family dinner, but our favorite indulgence is Benny's breakfast quesadillas after a late night. It's also nice sipping on a cold beer while you wait (or holding it against your forehead).
Benny's Tacos & Chicken Rotisserie // 427 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 396- 8749
Allan's Aquarium // 845 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291 // (310) 399-5464
In an episode of Showtime's Californication, this is the place where Becca couldn't afford her new tattoo and Hank had to come save the day.
Black Diamond Tattoo // 412 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291
We've got nothing but love for CCC and its delicious wraps and sides. Formerly the family-owned Azteca restaurant, the adjoining motel is still boarded up as the owners and developers duke it out for what's coming next.
The hysterical-because-it's-true Whole Foods Parking Lot music video pretty much sums up the experience. What it doesn't mention, however, is the dramatic development that the Whole Foods-anchored Lincoln & Rose Shopping Center brought to the neighborhood. Since Whole Foods took over the former Big Lots space in 2008, new restaurants and boutiques have shot up along Rose Ave., drawing comparisons to Abbot Kinney.
Whole Foods Venice // 225 Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291