Here in Los Angeles we are so lucky we can go relax, take a walk on the sand, with the beach being in all of our backyards. When we get hungry we can step into the fun zone at Venice Beach. Venice Whaler to be exact, is fully equipped with great cocktails and lovely eats. It will cater to your every whim when it comes to great creative food and lively bar drinks. Right at the edge of the world, otherwise known as Venice Beach, sits this historic landmark restaurant. Started in 1944, Venice Whaler has it all!
With its great view of the beach, large screens for ball games and Industrial interior, you will feel right at home. It’s got kind of a Cape Cod vibe, with an upbeat twist. There are some short tables and bar stools, and high tables with high bar stools. The interior is very beachy, and some of the flat screens have old TCM playing. The design of the Crab Shell Bar (and of the renewed Venice Whaler as a whole) was a collaboration between designer Kellie Patry, who has designed on Top L.A. bars such as downtown’s Honeycut to Seven Grand San Diego, and Architect Rudy Alegre. The décor highlights local talent, with buckets for silverware and napkins painted by area artists on each table and a bathroom wall painting by Venice muralist Jonas Never. The music they play is a bit of everything, from, the Beach Boys, classic rock, and pop. The outside wrap around deck, keeps you within earshot of the rolling waves and the upstairs bar has a very loud party atmosphere, people are having a blast up here!
My server Jordan Toppin could not have been more accommodating. She’s a veteran in the industry and works at Michael’s as well as special events manager. She’s young with lots and lots of energy. And then there is this new fantastic addition, executive chef Nick Liberato. New Executive Chef Liberato recently rolled out a fabulous list of “upscale bar food” that’s served both upstairs and downstairs. Nick has been cooking professionally for 16 years. Besides his famed TV appearances on “Bar Recue” on Spike TV, he has also been a private chef to some pretty famous people: Barbra Streisand, Pink, Anthony Kiedus, Ray Ramano, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Maria Shriver. He has opened and worked at quite a few top restaurants: Luigi’s Italian Restaurant in Philadelphia, Chef Joachim Splichal’s Patina, David Myers Sona and Comme CA , Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa. Nick is currently running his own catering business (Calidelpia) in Los Angeles and when he is not working he’s traveling the world cooking, surfing and snowboarding.
I went to this event “The Venice Whaler Introduces New Craft Cocktail Bar: The Crab Shell Bar Officially Debuts Below Deck!” the week before and then got invited back to try everything else I did not try at the party.
Here is what I tried:
Mai Tai – Atlantico Reserve, Orange Curacao, Orgeat, and Lime (Original Mai Tai Recipe).
Whaler Margarita – 100% Blue Agave Tequila, Fresh Lime Juice, and Agave.
Pina Colada – Appleton Rum, Toasted Coconut, and Fresh Pineapple.
Bubble Butt – Svedka Vodka, Boysenberry Shrub, Lemon, Prosecco Flat, and a Blow Pop.
The Skinny Beach – VeeV Açai Spirit, fresh raspberries and a house-made lemonade sweetened with agave instead of refined sugar.
Havana Mojito – Atlantico Reserve, Mint, Lime, Soda Water, and Bitters (As Made in Cuba).
The Cadillac – Casamigos Tequila, Fresh Lime Juice, Agave, and Gran Chevalia Float (So Good, Clooney Drinks it).
“Crab Shell” Bloody Mary – An Ode to the 1944 History of This Building (Crab Claw Included).
All of the new cocktails are mind blowing; my favorite was the Crab Shell Bloody Mary, complete with a crab claw on the rim, yum!! I would also highly recommend the Pina Colada; it’s like a coconut milk shake.
Stone Cellar Cabernet, I loved this wine with the margherita pizza.
Hidden Crush Cabernet, of course do this one with the burger.
Stone Cellar Chardonnay, really great chardonnay to eat with the shrimp roll.
Milestone Chardonnay, I liked this wine with the chowder.
Homemade Clam & Corn Chowder, with bacon, and grilled bread. This is a really terrific clam chowder, it hits the spot. I look for lots of clam pieces in my clam chowder and there were plenty to be had.
Margherita Pizza with grana padano, mozzarella, fontina, and basil. Very oozy cheese, a really nice pizza.
The “Calidelphia” Pizza with chopped clam, Serrano Chile, tomato, mozzarella, and oregano. I loved the crust on this pizza.
Calamari, with roasted bell peppers, and balsamic glaze. The perfect perfect calamari.
Taco Bar, Homemade flour tortillas, with chipotle crema, cucumber slaw and grilled cod. Good plump cod with nice tortillas, a true winner.
Beach Mussels with fennel pollen, kaffir lime cream, and grilled sour dough. These mussels are so good; the kaffir cream sauce is the extra bonus.
Shrimp Roll with brioche roll, cumin, and tarragon. Kind of like a lobster roll with shrimp, a welcomed change.
Whaler Burger with brioche bun chuck/brisket blend, cheddar, and slaw. There was something about the slaw and the sauce that brought me back to one of my favorite burgers as a kid.
Spicy Street Dog with chili, bacon wrap, and Jalapeño. This one blew my hair back. Like the little street carts hot dogs you see around town, but so much better!
Short Rib Banh Mi with brioche bun, pickled carrots, cilantro and chili aioli. If you’re looking for something a little bit different then this is the dish for you.
Grilled Husk Corn On Cob, with cotija cheese, lime, and sesame seed butter. This corn is sweet and crunchy; the condiments are off the hook.
Key Lime Pie, house made pie, and whip cream. This pie is so earth shattering, quite possibly the best ever.
Chocolate Cake, with blackberries, and pistachios. There is so much chocolate in this cake and the added blackberries, frosting, and nuts make this cake delectable.
Banana Bread Pudding with vanilla bean ice cream, and chocolate sauce. Nice classy robust pudding with a warm twist.
The Crab Shell Bar originated in 1944, later named the Venice Whaler. It was a favorite watering hole for locals, tourists, celebs, who wanted good straightforward cocktails with an ocean front view. Now in 2014 The Crab Shell bar has been revamped, with a new owner, new mixoligist, and new Executive chef. To bring it full circle the downstairs bar has taken its original namesake, and just like the Crab Shell Bar is back in all its glory. Bar Director Anthony Settecase, a veteran of an array of top spots on both coasts, including Pravda, Balthazar, East Side Company and the Soho Grand Hotel in New York, and Cole’s, Las Perlas, Bar Chloe and Dia de Campo in Los Angeles. He wanted his new bar menu to be “beach fresh and as house-made as possible.” The new drink menu is fun, spirited, with a new tap system offering a classic Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Negroni on draft. Settecase plans to change his cocktails seasonally, so you can expect a new set of fall drinks come October.
Summer time means flip-flops, but at Venice Whalers flip-flops are in fashion all year round. Settle into the glorious ocean view and sip on a brand new cocktail and lively food, what more could you ask for? The new Crab Shell Bar downstairs at the Venice Whaler will be open from 11:00 am to 2:00 am daily. The Crab Shell Bar will also host live music six nights per week.
10 West Washington Boulevard
Venice, CA 90292