Rose Avenue, Venice-West LA
Access Type: Bike Lane (Lincoln Blvd-Walgrove Ave)
Traffic Intensity: Moderate to heavy
Other Bikers: Moderate to few
The View: Neighborhood/Golf course/Busy street
WEST OF LINCOLN: This stretch of Rose is really not ideal for biking. There is a lot going on here. Cars stopping and going, people getting into or leaving long chains of parked cars, other cyclists cruising, sometimes on their cell phones (I will never understand how people are capable of this level of multitasking). But I still love coming here on my bike. It feels like a place where people actually talk to their neighbors, unlike most of LA. Where life spills out onto the streets. Where the businesses are woven into people’s routines, not just destinations that people pile into cars on the weekends to reach. And there are some really good businesses here.
First, the village of a supermarket that is Whole Foods Venice at Lincoln and Rose (see full review here). A very popular spot with bikers and car drivers, this place is probably the hippest way to get groceries on the Westside. Still, I like the feeling of being part of a crunchy, Earth-loving community that I get here.
Immediately west (Rose and 7th) is my favorite coffee shop in possibly all of LA: Groundwork Coffee Company. The organic and
fair-trade coffee is great, and the prices are 10-20 cents lower here for the same quality one would find anywhere else. But, most importantly, this establishment epitomizes the qualities I love about Venice: egalitarian, eclectic, and just a little bit grungy. If the morning catches me feeling anti-social, I sit at the counter-top inside with a book. Otherwise, I line myself up with the others on the benches just outside the store. There are always customers of all stripes here, not to mention the even more interesting individuals passing by. As long as I’m here, I can pretend that I live at a place where people actually walked around and interacted with each other instead of simmering inside their cars.
There are some great places to eat on Rose; I have not yet been to all of them, mostly because they can get crazy crowded with all the post-gentrification hipsters that are now here. Flake at Rennie Ave. (“Your cheap and cheerful neighborhood bacon hut!” that is also famous for its selection of 22 cereals) is one example, as are Venice Beach Wines and Oscar’s Cerveteca (both between Dimmick and 6th), which would be so ideal for sunny afternoon happy hours after the beach but there is never NOT a line there.
The places I have patronized have inspired devotion. La Fiesta Brava at 5th is a good Mexican restaurant with the cheapest Mexican Coke outside of Smart & Final. There is also a liquor store next door from where you can pick up your cervezas. The chicken fajitas have large pieces of white meat as well a variety of grilled veggies, and the shrimp tacos come stuffed with jumbo shrimp (although they do not compare to the offerings at my favorite Mexican joint in S.M. – Tacos Por Favor). Every meal, whether you like it or not (I like it), ends with a stick of Juicy Fruit.
Sauce on Hampton (259 Hampton) is a really cute two-room cafe with an artsy vibe. Just looking at the large, eclectic menu alone makes me want to give it 2 stars on Yelp. I really appreciate Sauce’s effort to cook with organic and local produce, especially when the results are so delicious. The “Super Grilled Cheese” is a stand-out. And, of course, I can’t say enough about the FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP ROASTED MACADAMIA NUT COOKIE at the end of the meal.
Rose Cafe (cross street: Hampton) is one of my favorite brunch/lunch spots, even though it is both yuppie and kinda Hollywood-in-Venice. The grub is just so good and the outdoor patio so inviting. Have the burger, the breakfast sandwich, the chai, the latte, the napkin (hell, it’ll probably taste pretty good)… Note: look out for cebrelities (not a typo).
After Rose Cafe, there ain’t nothin’ left to do but to sleep off your gluttony on the beach.
EAST OF LINCOLN: The Rose/Lincoln intersection itself sucks. I hate it. But just east of this nightmare lies a quiet, very suburban neighborhood that would be perfect for biking (even bike lane included!) were it not for the construction (end:
unknown). The roadblocks and bobcats have eliminated the westbound bike lane. The traffic is decent enough and views of Penmar Golf Course on the north side certainly inspire desires of riding, but I wouldn’t want to be caught here during rush hour. On a curious but annoying note, the eastbound bike lane narrows to a ridiculous one foot wide at one point of the journey.