Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Checking in at Chez Jay

Chez Jay's entrance
This weekend we checked in at Chez Jay, the venerable dive bar and steak house on Santa Monica's Ocean Avenue.

The last vestige of the casual, beach-bum vibe that was Santa Monica before the glossy hotels went up, Chez Jay has been under threat of change since the city began building a large park and subsidized housing on the land next door and behind the old dive.

The City's plan called for the restaurant to be redesigned to provide outdoor dining and more "family compatible" space opening onto the park. That's a pretty tough call for a joint whose claim to fame includes being Beach Boy Dennis Wilson's favorite place to get his load on.

So it was a small victory this October, when the City's Landmarks Commission voted to designate Chez Jay as a local landmark.

We stopped by for a cocktail, and to soak in the frowsty, sleazy - and, yes, historical - atmosphere. I had a gimlet.

Chez Jay's future is still in jeopardy, however, so the story's not over. The ownership of the land it occupies is entangled in the demise of the state Redevelopment Agency.  If it's sold on the open market, developers could raze the funky joint and erect yet another multi-story hotel in its place.

Painted fan vent from the parking lot
 If you're in Santa Monica, take the time to have a cocktail here before it's gone.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I like that place. It's been a while since I had a gimlet...I had some friends in NY who would make them all the time.

Gilly said...

Looks a really friendly place - think I'd like that better than some impersonal upmarket spot!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Hope it can stay!