It looks like the rainy winter is behind us and it’s time to start making dreams of warm sunsets and mornings by the beach a reality. From bike rides on the boardwalk to Catalina Island's centennial, sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own town. Here are six delicious ways to slip into summer.
The pop-up Botanical Beach Bar at Shutters on the Beach is a refreshing way to watch the bikes go by and the ferris wheel turn on the Santa Monica pier. Located outside of their Coast restaurant, they’re serving ocean-inspired libations such as the gin-based Cucumber Blue and the Bees Knees made with Empress 1908, lemon and honey syrup daily, from afternoon through sunset on their Pacific-facing alfresco patio.
For vodka lovers, there’s a selection of Ketel One botanicals like peach orange blossom and grapefruit rose.
The menu of “Beachside Bites” includes a watermelon and feta salad, Humboldt fog cheese on dark anise toast and long-stem strawberries. Or stumble into Coast for a signature crab Louie or seaside Caesar.
Next door at Casa Del Mar there’s a daily sushi happy hour at the perfect sunset time, from 5-7 p.m. Enjoy a premium selection of rolls, nigiri and sashimi paired with a variety of sakes against the backdrop of live local music and ocean views.
Dive into Catalina Island’s history this year as the island celebrates the centennial of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.’s purchase of the Catalina Island Company in 1919.
As part of the festivities, the historic 1920 Hotel Atwater, named after Helen Atwater Wrigley, will reopen in August, debuting a top-to-bottom reimagination and facelift. There are guided anniversary tours around the island that pair scenic ocean and canyon views with a deep dive into the rich history of the island, as well as a special exhibit at the Catalina Island Museum about Wrigley’s first year on Catalina.
Restaurants will be offering limited-time historical “flashback” menu items like chicken consommé at Avalon Grille and baked Pacific swordfish à la Créole at Mt. Ada. Catalina’s only beachside restaurant and bar, The Descanso Beach Club will be offering the Wrigley Dog (the same one served at Wrigley Field in Chicago,) a prime rib sandwich which originally appeared on the menu at Hotel St. Catherine in 1930 and a Wrigley Martini. It was created in the 1950s by Philip Knight Wrigley (William’s son) and was admired by ad execs and newsmen during that era for its extra kick. This martini is now exclusively served at Descanso Beach Club and Avalon Grille and comes with a pack of Wrigley’s doublemint gum.
The new and improved Waterfront on the Venice Boardwalk is the perfect spot to park your bike for tacos and a beer any time of day. The vast remodeled beach shack space has been reintroduced with two bars, plus indoor and outdoor dining with casual and affordable beach food, plus a taqueria called Boardwalk Tacos. The homeless band that has been playing in front of the Waterfront for years is still a fixture across from the patio, with its vintage ’80s Venice feel.
The breezy patio at Bacari in Playa del Rey, where the end of Jefferson Boulevard lazily meets Dockweiler Beach, is a therapeutic brunch choice and romantic sunset dinner spot on the hill that makes anybody feel like a local.
Executive chef Lior Hillel has created an open and inviting space to enjoy lamb-stuffed eggplant, cold poached shrimp with citrus chili sauce and the Best Cake You’ve Ever Had, made with Medjool dates, brown sugar caramel and crispy bacon.
Hidden in one of the kitschiest corners of L.A., Sapori in Marina del Rey is still one of the most charming Italian restaurants on the water, and an idyllic spot to watch the sailboats and yachts float through the main channel at sunset. One of the very first places to serve branzino in Los Angeles, the signature lasagna sora lella is a must — individual housemade lasagna layered with meat ragù, parmesan and béchamel sauce.