Friday, November 4, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Artists and Artisans in the Marina -- From Pottery to Street Art

Marina del Rey’s history is full of engineers and enigmatic businessmen, fishermen and the Federal Government. It was always the Marina’s colorful neighbor to the north, Venice, which attracted the hippies and drums, poets and guitars. Yet, with its shimmering water and enviable architecture, Marina del Rey now stands on its own as a place that harbors artists and artisans alike.


In Fisherman’s Village to the South, Howard Marchese recently opened Marchese Fine Art Gallery, a space specializing in Southern California artists. Marchese's reason for opening his gallery was to focus on the fine array of artists that are based in Southern California. Howard Marchese studied the great impressionist masters at the Mission Renaissance Academy in Hollywood. He settled in Marina del Rey nearly a decade ago and now teaches and hosts workshops at his new gallery.


Near Marchese, Alixandra Pottery opened this summer. Owner Alix Cunningham has been spinning her pottery wheels for years and considers it a meditative practice suitable for both children and adults. Her small shop showcases her work, from rustic platters to stately bowls, and also hosts pottery classes for everyone aged 2 to 92.


Photographer Caryson is based in Los Angeles, but visits the coasts and waterways of the city for inspiration. In his Reflections in Venice Grand Canal, he shows a moody side of the Marina. With its grey reflections, it reminds one of winter.

Greg Wenger has been taking professional photographs in Marina del Rey for many years. Without him, we wouldn’t have some of our earliest photos of the Marina as he helped preserve many of Marina del Rey's earliest photographs. Based in the Marina, he often finds artistic inspiration around him on and off the water. Wenger’s photographic range extends into portraiture as well, making him a sought after celebrity photographer.


Popularized by international sensations like Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Brainwash, street art is more than just graffiti. Photographs of it are the only way this temporary but vivid and well-exposed artwork survives. Artists working in the Marina frequently spot their share of these clever and quirky images, adding life and personality to every day public structures.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mixing a Drink or Officiating a Wedding, Fran Adams is Marina del Rey’s Biggest Fan

The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey straddles the line between contemporary elegance and approachable ease. The hospitality is warm, the standards are high. At its signature restaurant, jer-ne, the bar is the main attraction. Both locals and international travelers spend late afternoons and late nights at its high-backed, plush leather stools. The difference between jer-ne’s bar and the bar down the street is not just its proximity to the water (100 yards away) or high end bar snacks (think: truffled fries) – it’s a bartender named Fran.

Frances A
dams has been working behind jer-ne’s bar for exactly 14 years this month. She’s a former Second City performer from the Midwest who’s adopted the Marina as her permanent home; her personal and work email handle is “windymarina.” A few years ago, good friends of hers who were also co-workers, asked if she would consider becoming a minister to marry them. She did, and has since married seven couples in the Marina – all of them had been regulars at her bar. Recently, we sat down with Fran to talk drinks and share stories about the Marina.

Q: How long have you been a bartender?

A: Since I was 18. I’m originally from Milwaukee and I’m a 4th generation bartender. My father was an outstanding bartender. His father was the most famous bartender in Milwaukee. My great-grandfather was a horrible bartender, my great-great grandfather was also an excellent bartender, so they say.

Q: Where in town do you live?

A: In the Marina, in Mariner’s Village. When I first moved to LA, I thought it would be a good place to start but I love it. I love the fog and the cool mornings, sweaters and fireplaces. If I never see another humid Midwestern summer I will be happy.

Q: What’s your favorite water activity in town?

A: I’m not much of a water person, but I do love being on boats. I love the Marina’s $1 water taxi in the summer. I take it every weekend on my way to doing my grocery shopping at Nick’s Grocery Store. Mike and Michele own it; it’s right off the beach.
You’d think it was a little bodega but they have a great wine selection, unique frozen foods too.

Q: What’s the most popular cocktail at Jer-ne?

A: The Vodka Martini. We also have a really beautiful single malt scotch collection. Scotch lovers know us pretty well.

Q: What’s your favorite drink to make?

A: It’s also our signature drink, the #14. It’s a cocktail I created for a guest who stayed with us for a full summer. He’s an NBA Player, Anthony Mason. That year, he was training and looking to get a contract. All summer long, he wouldn’t drink because he was training, but he fantasized about drinks and would come and sit at my bar and ask me what kind of drink I would make for him once he was signed and the summer came to an end. I thought about it and made him a drink that tastes like summer, with pineapple and passion fruit. At the end of that summer, he signed the biggest contract of his career. He comes back to visit his lucky place every year – it’s been 10 years since I created that drink – and now there’s a #14 ½ -- he has a son who also plays basketball! We added coconut to the #14 for that one.

Q: What are some of your favorite places in the Marina(besides Jer-ne)?

A: Tony P’s. I love Tony. He’s the unofficial mayor of Marina del Rey. I love him as my neighbor, he’s just so gracious and he’s a wonderful host.

I’m addicted to Mendocino Farms, I send all of our guests there. They all come back raving about it.

I also always find great things at Beverage Warehouse – I could spend a day in there, just looking at everything!

Q: What else so you love about the Marina?

A: I love that at my bar I have regulars, but they’re not all locals. I have regulars that come from San Francisco every other week who know the regulars that come from New York once a month who know the regulars that come from down the street. Marina del Rey is a great neighborhood because you always feel like a local, even if you’re not from the city…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On the Water: Kayak Attack

This summer, think of the Marina as a tall glass of water. Simple and refreshing, it’s the best way to cool down when temperatures climb above 75F. There are dozens of water activities – from paddle-boarding to sailing – to partake in, but lately we’re partial to kayaking.

Like a romantic gondola’s slick cousin, the kayak is a great way to travel around the Marina, see the sights and sunset, and get a work-out all at the same time. Why slave away in a stuffy indoor gym when you can take a personal breezy boat ride on the Marina?

While kayaking has a reputation as being a fast water sport, on the Marina, it’s a relaxing way to while away an afternoon. Go with a partner and take turns taking in the sites and paddling. Bring a waterproof camera to capture the views digitally too!

Kayaking is great for groups too. Recently, we talked to newlywed and local resident Otto Rose and owner Russ Carrington of Action Watersports about the kayaking bachelor party they hosted last summer.

What gave you the idea to host a kayaking bachelor party? It was actually Russ's idea. I live in C basin and the idea made sense...not much driving, very low cost, giving local businesses our business.

What bars/restaurants did you stop at? Which were your favorites and why? We stopped at Chart House, Del Rey YachtClub, and finished at the California Yacht Club (CYC)...the first two were good. Classy and good food.

What is the craziest thing that happened during the party? We met God...some guy at the DRYC gave me a biz card that introduced himself as GOD. He was a bit weird but made things interesting.

Any plans to try a new water sport like say, paddle boarding? No plans, I am pretty active with most water new wife wants to surf though.

What three words would best describe your experience? Camaraderie, tranquillo, healthy.

Would you recommend an Action Water Sports adventure to other grooms-to-be? Absolutely, everyday, all day.

Rent kayaks right in the Marina at these convenient businesses:

4144 Lincoln Boulevard, Marina del Rey
(310) 827-2233

13719 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey
(located at Fisherman's Village)
(310) 574-2822

Friday, July 15, 2011

53 Incredible Things To Do in Marina del Rey

Spend the next 53 hours with us in Marina del Rey! Avoid the 405 freeway closure and other highways; instead, run, walk, bus or bike in Marina del Rey!

Click here for: 53 Incredible Things to do in Marina del Rey this weekend! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

One Sunny Day in Marina del Rey

Make a splash this summer with on-the-water activities for all ages!
You know the marina is home to stunning harbor views and delicious eats – not to mention those awesome summer concerts at Fisherman’s Village and Burton W. Chase Park – but did you know that the marina also makes it easy to jump on the water for some summer fun? Fill up those lazy days with an array of water activities to enjoy with friends and family!

Whether you’re looking to host a champagne yacht soiree or dare to try your hand at the newest aquatic craze (can anyone say paddleboarding?), the marina makes it easy to please adventurers and leisure-lovers alike.

Check out these on-the-water activities you’re sure to enjoy:

·      Paddleboarding:  Friendly neighbors to the marina, Action Watersports and Marina Boat Rentals make it easy to rent equipment including stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, wakeboards and more! Lessons are available for water sport beginners as well as group lessons and guided excursions. For example, Russ Carrington, Grand Poobah of Action Watersports recently led a kayaking bachelor party around the marina?! Check back in soon to hear the groom’s story… 

·      Sailing: All aboard! Earn your sea legs this summer with Blue Water Sailing. Since 1978, Blue Water Sailing had been dedicated to providing sailing education to all ages and skill level from beginners to world cruisers. A variety of courses, skippered yacht charters, bareboat rentals and sunset cruising options are also available.

·      Fishing: Head out to the open water and catch your own dinner. Marina del Rey Sportfishing offers half-day or three quarter-day sportfishing trips for beginners and pros alike. This is a perfect excursion for the entire family. MDR Sportfishing also offers their popular twilight fishing trips, which is a wonderful way to cool down after a hot summer day. Captain Rick and his crew have a “never give up” attitude, and you’re almost guaranteed to catch seasonal gamefish like halibut, barracuda, and sea bass. Join them on the New Del Mar this summer!

·      WaterBus: Nobody walks in L.A.! For only $1 per person, visitors in Marina del Rey can get from one point in the marina to another and enjoy the waterfront activities without the hassle of driving in LA. The WaterBus returns this summer on June 24th with seven stops including Fisherman’s Village, Burton Chace Park and Marina Beach on weekends and holidays.

WaterBus Schedule:  Fridays 5 p.m. to midnight
            Saturdays 11 a.m. to midnight
                   Sundays 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
*Fourth of July/Labor Day: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. 

·      Sunset Series Regatta: If being ON the water just isn’t your thing, enjoy a weeknight in the crisp, summer air of the Marina with the whole family while viewing the Sunset Series Regatta hosted by the California Yacht Club, held every Wednesday at 5:55 p.m. through September 8. The Sunset Series Regatta provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enjoy a sailboat race from a variety of fantastic vantage points on the water including waterfront restaurants and the grassy Burton W. Chace Park.

Don’t forget to slather on that SPF! See you on the water!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Has Arrived in Marina del Rey

Our favorite time of year has arrived in Marina del Rey…. outdoor dining, free concerts all summer long, and beach and water shuttles to make it easy to get around. Read here for the latest on summer activities in the Marina. Hope to see you here. Check our Facebook page for more updates!

Marina del Rey Summer Concerts
This popular series of free outdoor concerts is held in one of the most spectacular waterfront settings in Los Angeles, Burton W. Chace Park. Attracting stellar musical talent, four classical music concerts featuring the 75-member Marina del Rey Summer Symphony alternate with four exciting pop concerts on select Thursday and Saturday evenings. All concerts are free to the public. Concerts begin at 7 p.m., and generally last about two hours.

Classical Thursdays
Thursday, July 7
A Night at the Opera

Thursday, July 21
Naoko Takada, Marimbist

Thursday, August 4
Lindsay Deutsch, Violinist

Thursday, August 18
Claire Huangcl, Pianist

Pop Saturdays
Saturday, July 16
Oleta Adams

Saturday, July 30
Tito Puente, Jr. Orchestra

Saturday, August 13
Aimee Mann

Saturday, August 27
Frankie Avalon

All concerts take place outside on the green in Burton W. Chace Park, 10-acre park surrounded on three sides by water. Audiences are invited to picnic in advance of each concert. Bring your own low beach chairs and blankets for first-come, first-served seating, and a limited number of chairs are available for rent on site. Come early for best seating, and bring along a jacket or sweater to stay comfortable at night near the water. The park is located at 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey.

Free Summer Weekend Beach Shuttle
Visitors love to use the Free Summer Beach Shuttle as a convenient way to explore the community. The shuttle runs summer weekends and holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.

Look for the Starfish on the BusThe white shuttle buses are decorated in beach sand and starfish graphics. Look for the signs reading Free Beach Shuttle – Playa Vista, Marina del Rey, Venice Pier. The same graphics are used on Shuttle Stop signs along the route.

Regular Days and Hours of Operation
The Beach Shuttle buses will travel from Playa Vista every 30 minutes beginning at 10:15 a.m. Important Schedule Exception: there will be no 3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. shuttles departing to allow for required shuttle drivers’ lunch breaks.

Fridays & Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m; Sundays, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Memorial Day (Monday, May 30), 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Independence Day (Monday, July 4), 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Labor Day (Monday, September 5), 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Special Days and Hours
In support of four Thursday evening Marina del Rey Classical Concerts taking place at Burton Chace Park, the Beach Shuttle will operate from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Beach Shuttle will also provide one day of service for the Abbot Kinney Street Festival on Sunday, September 25, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.Disabled AccessThe vehicles are ADA accessible and space for bicycles is available.

Marina del Rey WaterBus
Park your car and take the Marina del Rey WaterBus for a unique water’s-eye view of the community. These colorful boats carry passengers on the water to many of the Marina’s major attractions, hotels and restaurants. Dock Attendants are available at each pick-up location and will call for the WaterBus upon your arrival. 2011 WaterBus Dates Friday, June 24 - Monday, September 5.

Regular Days and Hours of Operation
Fridays, 5 p.m. - Midnight;
Saturdays, 11 a.m. - Midnight;Sundays, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Independence Day (Monday, July 4) 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Labor Day (Monday, September 5), 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.;
On busy weekends and holidays there may be a wait to board the WaterBus.

Special Operations Schedule for Summer Concerts
In support of four Thursday evening Marina del Rey Classical Concerts taking place at Burton Chace Park, the WaterBus will operate from 5 p.m. - Midnight.

$1 per person, one way. Cash only (no credit or debit cards).Season Passes are available for $30 and can be purchased from Dock Attendants at the gate. Bikes and strollers are welcome onboard.

Disabled Access
To accommodate our disabled community, ADA accessible ramps are located at Burton Chace Park, Waterfront Walk, Marina “Mother’s” Beach, Dolphin Marina Apts., Del Rey Landing (Marina del Rey Fuel Dock), and the Esprit Apts.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Where To Enjoy Mother's Day in Marina del Rey

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, finding the perfect way to celebrate Moms becomes an ever-important task. For those looking to do something fun, fresh and different for their M-O-M, check out Marina del Rey!

Here’s a check list of why choosing Marina del Rey will make Mom feel even more special!

Let’s see…views of the water? Check!
Outdoor dining with sunshine? Check!
Gorgeous boats and yachts docked in the marina? Check!
A chance to breathe in the fresh ocean air? Check!  

What are you waiting for? Check out some of the fun, unique options below and then get planning – don’t forget, the holiday falls on May 8 this year!

·    Dine on-the-water with a special brunch or dinner aboard a Hornblower Cruise. The Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch Cruise explores the harbor for two hours with a brunch buffet, private tables, live entertainment, scenic coastal views, free flowing champagne and sparkling cider, complimentary soft drinks, juice, coffee and tea. The dinner cruise offers live DJ and dancing, gorgeous sunset views, private tables and boarding glass of champagne. Reservations required.
·    A local favorite, Tony P’s Dockside Grill offers a Mother’s Day full of excitement with a lively brunch buffet, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. including an array of breakfast items as well as specialties.  Reservations recommended.
·    Café del Rey hosts an amazing three-course brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Saturday & Sunday) that includes champagne or mimosas. Live music and a special craft for the kids will keep everyone in the group happy. Reservations recommended.
·    Warehouse Restaurant, a Marina del Rey landmark, will offer a special Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet that will include champagne or mimosas from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Reservations recommended.
·    The Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey's sophisticated dining lounge, jer-ne, hosts a lovely Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch Buffet with two seatings, 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Reservations recommended.
·    Enjoy Mother’s Day at Vū Restaurant with their special fixed price three-course menu, featuring free-flowing blood orange mimosas, soft drinks and coffee or tea. Their a la carte menu will also be available. Reservations recommended.
·    Spend quality family time in the casual elegance at Stones Restaurant,located at the Marina del Rey Marriott. From 10 a.m. through noon, Stones will offer a Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch Buffet. Reservations recommended. 
·    With a reputation for great views and fantastic brunch options, Shanghai Red’s will offer a Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch on both Saturday (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) complete with a wonderful selection of foods including homemade waffles, omelets made to order and succulent crab legs. Reservations recommended.

·    Creative Chakra Spa celebrates mom with specials including Chocolate & Roses for Mom, Mother’s Day Massage and Facial and Mom & Others retreats for two. Reservations required.
·    At Massage Envy, mom can upgrade her relaxing massage to include the healing powers of its Vibrant AromaTherapy blend for an additional $10. Reservations required.

·    Not up for braving the restaurant scene this Mother’s Day? Try renting a jet-ski, standup paddleboard or a Duffy for the entire family at Marina Boat Rentals. Reservations recommended.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Get into the Spirit of the Royal Wedding

Whether you are DVR'ing the ceremony or getting up at 2 a.m. to watch Kate Middleton walk down the aisle to marry Prince William on April 29, 2011 (which by the way is a 4-minute walk before she reaches the altar at Westminster Abbey!), here are some fun ways to get into the spirit of the royal wedding festivities. You don’t have to be in London to take part but you can certainly enjoy the magic of it all on your own:

  1. Start off the day by enjoying house eggs benedict with homemade biscuits and black forest ham at Vū Restaurant located at the Jamaica Bay Inn.
  2. Wear a stylish feather or fedora-style hat a-la Kate Middleton. Or better yet, wear a replica of Princess Di’s engagement ring (cubic zirconium of course) to truly embrace Kate’s style. Check out Charla’s Place to pick up the costume hats and jewelry!
  3. Tea time can be enjoyed at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey. Sit in the lobby lounge with a view of the marina and enjoy a little English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea.
  4. Relive the original concept of Prince William’s stag party (aka bachelor party) -- according to reports, it was supposed to be a water-sports themed day on the English Channel. Rent jet-skis or a power boat at Marina Boat Rentals.
  5. Finish off the historic day by sitting inside the large tavern at Tony P’s Dockside Grill where you can toast the newlyweds with a pint of hand-crafted beers such as Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (crafted by Wells & Young’s Brewery, Bedford, UK) or Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout (crafted by Samuel Smith Old Brewery, Tadcaster, UK).

    Send us some pics if you are having a viewing party! And of course, happy Wedding Day! 


    Photo credit: Mario Testino. Telegraph UK.