In a unanimous, 3-0 vote, the city Cultural Heritage Commission recommended “historic-cultural monument” status for a Venice restaurant that was once home to beatniks, poets and musicians.
As Venice West Cafe, 7 Dudley Ave. was the epicenter of Venice's counterculture and arts community in the late 1950s and mid-1960s. The recommendation goes to a City Council committee and then to the full council for approval, which could happen by March, said Ken Bernstein, manager of the city's Office of Historic Resources.
The cafe was a meeting place for poets and other Beat generation outcasts who defied the conservative norms of the era. Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and band leader Jim Morrison, Venice residents, reportedly hung out there in later years.
The commission “felt strongly that Los Angeles should recognize sites affiliated with bohemian culture just as San Francisco has done in recognizing and marketing those types of locations,” Berstein told the Weekly. “It felt L.A. should take advantage of these types of opportunities.”
The 1922 masonry building, which now houses the Piccolo restaurant, is nothing to write home about architecturally, Bernstein said, but the happenings there in the Beatnik era helped shape a rich period in the city's history.