One of the best brunch areas in town is the Venice area, Abbot Kinney specifically. On a sunny Saturday and Sunday, the street is teeming with hungry throngs willing to wait for a seat at restaurants like Gjelina and The Tasting Kitchen. But Abbot Kinney is also the perfect route for day drinking, what with all those cocktail-serious restaurant bars. Although all the tables might be taken, there’s always room at the bar.
To begin, find parking on Abbot Kinney south of Venice Boulevard and closer to Washington Boulevard. That way you can start off at Scopa Italian Roots, walk north up Abbot Kinney (about a mile) to the other restaurants on this list, and then take a Lyft/Uber back to Sunny Spot. To sober up after all the drinking is done, go for a long walk west on Washington to the beach.
↪ Scopa Italian Roots: Fortify your stomach for the day of drinking ahead by indulging in a hearty brunch at chef Antonia Lofaso, Steve Livigni, and Pablo Moix’s Venice restaurant. My personal favorite brunch bite is that NYC School Special bacon-egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich. Although Scopa is a bustling hot spot at night, it’s a hidden gem in the daytime compared to its neighbor Sunny Spot, which boasts a popular patio. At Scopa, you’ll find plenty of seating. Best seat is at the bar, though, as far as I’m concerned. With a well-put-together brunch cocktail menu of light and breezy drinks–classics like a Ramos Gin Fizz and Gold Rush and signatures like the Cameron’s Kick–it’s the perfect place to start. But to begin with a boozy bang, go for the Mezcal Mary, which they’ll make as spicy as you can take.
↪ The Tasting Kitchen: Good luck trying to get a table here if you’re a walk-in. But if your party is small, meaning you and a friend, you’ll have a better shot finding a spot at the bar. There’s so much drink to be had here courtesy of celebrated barman Justin Pike. Your options aren’t just on the menu in your hand but also the beautifully handwritten menus on the chalkboard wall near the bar. Favorites for afternoon drinking include a Tasting Kitchen classic, Night Shift made with cold brew coffee, bourbon, and milk, or the boozy Milk Punch. However, if you want something more familiar, there’s always the house Bloody Mary with aged tomato and horseradish or the Irish Coffee made with Redbreast Irish whiskey.
↪ The Brig: If you don’t know this bar, then you’re probably new to the area because it’s been around for years. Most recently, you might recognize it as the spot in Jon Favreau’s Chef movie where he parked his food truck (Kogi BBQ is here regularly, and there are a slew of trucks outside The Brig on First Fridays). It’s a straight-shooting hangout with weekend hours starting at noon when it’s the quieter, pensive counterpart to its raucous nighttime persona. Ruminate over an Old Fashioned while chatting up the bartender.
↪ Willie Jane: Before you stop at Govind Armstrong’s restaurant, visit the adjacent Cook’s Garden where the chef and the bar get many of their fresh ingredients. When you’re done smelling the herbs, sidle up to the bar in the restaurant and order a barrel-aged Coca-Cola Old Fashioned, which is a mix of Coke and George Dickel. Or check out the chalkboard for the cocktail of the week.
↪ Sunny Spot: If you don’t feel like drunk-hiking the mile or so back, call a car. Keep in mind that brunch ends at 4 p.m. Make it here in time and order the festive Frozen Pina Colada–the perfect way to start/end any day-drinking adventure. But if at this point, even after your day of drinking, you feel like squeezing in the bottomless mimosa, Bloody Mary, or Rum Punch option, you’ll have to order an entree. Just make sure to have a designated driver at the ready.