Sunday, January 20, 2013

Danny's Venice Beach

I haven't been back to Venice since my March 2010 post. I'm here today to take a walking adventure with Vintage Venice Tours. Wow, did I ever learn about the little town I called home for six years.

I didn't know that there were 16 miles of canals in 1905. They were built by Abbot Kinney both to drain the marshland and to recreate the vibe of Venice, Italy. There were roller coasters and other amusements, swimming pools, dance halls and theaters. It was a wild time!

Most of the canals only lasted through 1929, when the City of Los Angeles decided Venice needed paved roads, and the canals were filled in. The remaining few south of Venice Boulevard still survive if you want to get a taste of what once was. All the other Kinney attractions were closed in 1946 when LA decided the beach needed widening. HUH?!

I also paid little attention to the abundance of murals throughout Venice, most of them painted by Rip Cronk. If you've seen the Jim Morrison mural, that's Cronk's work. I'll never look at Venice the same way!

All this history comes together nicely at Danny's Venice Beach on Windward Avenue (the heart of Kinney's Venice) and Speedway. When you walk in, look up to see the last original gondola dating back to 1904. Then check out all the cool artwork and vintage flyers, posters, photos, postcards and brochures scattered about. As expected, there's a Cronk mural in the back corner, so you get to eat surrounded by Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and a host of other stars. How many can you identify?!

And, then there's the food. Continuing with the historic theme, I went with the Famous Venice Plunge Sandwich, named after the world's largest indoor saltwater pool and originally located by Danny's spot. French dip with Danny's own potato chips. Delish!!

Check out Vintage Venice's tours and Danny's, as it makes for quite the tag team afternoon.

Click here to go to Danny's Web site.

Click here to go to Vintage Venice Tours' Web site.

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