I've been waiting for Venice to step up its bar selection. The Townhouse revamp is not only a pleasant surprise, it's long overdue to honor Venice's oldest standing bar, since 1915.
The last time I had been inside The Townhouse on a weekend night, the bar was practically empty and ill taken care of. The music was either playing from an outdated jukebox or not at all. The clientele were more shady than friendly.
But since the Townhouse was revamped and the Del Monte speakeasy re-opened, it's a solid place to spend an entire night out in Venice. The 1920s-30s design has been restored. It's delightfully dark walls, low lighting and checkered floors are perfect with the grungy alt to low-fi hip-hop in the background.
But, go downstairs and it's a different vibe. Shhhh, don't tell anyone. Venice has long been waiting for a chill spot where you can get your groove on, that doesn't rely on cheesy music to keep lowest common denominators coming back and isn't a place you could potentially get stabbed or mugged in.
Pay $5 and wait for the quality control to let you in. You get the feeling that this is a well-run operation. Go downstairs and the floor opens up to a few good men and women havin' a good ol' time on the dance floor. Disco to Stevie to hip hop. The patrons are anything but Hollywood. The vibe: comfortable.
There's a long booth along the back wall that only allows for $70 minimum bar tabs, but, oh well. The Del Monte still feels like a secret, even though it isn't. After all, this IS still a neighborhood bar.
Townhouse and the Del Monte Speakeasy are located at 52 Windward Ave.