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C.J. Gronner

Hinano Café is a Venice Institution

A BELOVED institution, made even more so by the fact that it’s just about the last good, old-fashioned dive bar that we have left...

Venice Celebrates the Life of Jay Adams

By CJ Gronner Venice lost one of the true O. G.s on August 15th, when Jay Adams, founding member of Dogtown’s Z-Boys and skateboard legend, passed away at the age of 53 of a heart attack, while on a three month surf trip in Porto Escondido, Mexico with his wife, Tracy. Adams had just told...

The Roosterfish – Serving Gay Venice since 1979

By CJ Gronner Walking down Abbot Kinney, I heard a lady (carrying bags from a chain store) say to her friend, “Oh, that’s a gay bar,” as they passed The Roosterfish – and kept going. It most certainly is, and according to owner/manager of 23 years, Gary Mick, one of the hardest things about running...

Beachheads Write on the Beachhead

CJ Gronner Every town needs a newspaper, and The Free Venice Beachhead has been the one for Venice, California since 1968. I joined the collective staff in 2009, after writing a story about my beloved bike getting stolen … and then getting it back! The fact that Beachhead readers cared enough – first to read,...

An Animal House For Our Zoo

By CJ Gronner Animal House has been decking out Venetians for so long that owner, Ronny Kleyweg, can’t remember exactly when he opened. “The ’70s? The early 80s? I’m not that good at the math.” Me neither, but I DO know that I’ve loved every time I’ve ever stepped through the door at 66 Windward...

The Townhouse: Drinking Up Venice History

By CJ Gronner There has been a bar operating out of 52 Windward Avenue continuously since 1915, even when it had to be disguised as a grocery during Prohibition. Today it is The Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy, and both tip their hats to the venue’s past, yet keep it modern with the entertainment...

It Takes A Village … To Keep It A Village

By CJ Gronner I have to admit, I’d never attended a LUPC (Land Use and Planning Committee) meeting in Venice before October 2nd. I, like my friends and neighbors, was compelled to go in absolute opposition to the new hotel proposed at 1033 Abbot Kinney Boulevard. A HOTEL! What?! NO. That was the gist of...

Menotti's Coffee Stop Opens On Windward

By CJ Gronner Way back in the day, there was Menotti’s Bar on Windward. Then came the Prohibition Era, and it became Menotti’s “Buffet”, a little grocery store to serve as cover for the Speakeasy downstairs, which also served as a distribution center for the liquor being smuggled through the underground tunnels from the off-shore...

The Venice Symphony Orchestra – Good Vibrations

By CJ Gronner When I first heard there was going to be a Venice Symphony Orchestra, I thought it was just about the best idea ever. Then I heard them, and that is now confirmed. Led by founder/director/conductor/musician, Wesley Flowers, I just heard the VSO play for the first time at the September Venice Art...

Love Around the World

By CJ Gronner I was out of town in Chicago, having a blast at Lollapalooza. My friend said, “Some psycho mowed down people on the Boardwalk today!” Then I started getting messages from people all over, hoping I wasn’t down there myself when this evil maniac decided to hurt people on purpose. I wasn’t, thank...
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