Happy 43rd Anniversary to The Sidewalk Cafe!

The Sidewalk Cafe has been serving locals and tourists since ’76?

The Sidewalk Cafe on the Venice Boardwalk rules!  In an ever changing Venice landscape, the Sidewalk is our rock.  You don’t stay in business on boardwalk for 43 years unless you are doing it right!  A big fist bump to the team over there!

Check out photos below by Venice Paparazzi from their 40th anniversary in 2016.

Here is a Venice/Sidewalk Cafe History lesson! 

In 1905, after winning the Venice land on a coin flip with his partners, Abbot Kinney built Venice-of-America to be a personal monument to Venice, Italy. He built a fantasy city with real canals, a wood boardwalk and piers with rides and water slides. It was a huge hit! Celebrities like William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies strolled the Venice Boardwalk. Sarah Bernhardt performed in the Venice Auditorium; Charlie Chaplin clowned in Abbot Kinney’s auto races, and Mary Pickford was rowed in her own gondola. Venice was the place to be!The building that now houses the Sidewalk Café was one of the last of Abbot Kinney’s Venice buildings and was originally designed to be four stories tall, but only the first floor was constructed was built.

The Sidewalk Cafe in 1979. Photo by Gotta Have it

The building sold to the Harrah family (of gambling fame) and was turned into a bingo parlor (later called bridgo because bingo was illegal). During prohibition, Abbot Kinney’s underground utility tunnels were modified to accommodate bootleggers who delivered liquor at night under the pier. In the 1950s and early ‘60s the building housed artists’ studios and served as the crash pad for beatnik writers and poets such as Jack Kerouac. The building stood vacant for many years until 1976 when Mary Goodfader’s bookstore, Small World Books, lost its lease in Marina Del Rey. Bob Goodfader, while bicycling on the bike path, saw the building and called the phone number graffitied on its front. The Goodfaders and their friends, Walter (Skip) and Penny Dixon bought the building as a new location for the bookstore.

Bob and Skip decided to open a small takeout place on the side, not in use by the bookstore. The eatery was such a hit that they expanded it into a patio restaurant. Venice experienced a rebirth with roller skating and skateboarding in the 70s.

The Boardwalk’s unique entertainers, skateboarding’s Z-boys, Muscle Beach’s bodybuilders and Venice’s basketball players attracted worldwide attention. The Sidewalk Café offered great food and a front row seat to the circus. Small World Books is one of the last surviving independent bookstores in Los Angeles and is still run by Mary. See what treasures that their staff can help you discover.

Bob passed away in 2002, but the Sidewalk Café is still being run by the people he trained including his son Jay, his protégé Steve, his general manager Kristen and his head cook Luciano.

Jay Goodfader and family

SWC’s General Manager Kristen Archival and daughter Alex

About the Sidewalk Cafe:

A  full bar, 18 taps,  big screens TV”s for the games  and the best people watching around for the in betweens!

    • Beach side setting with view of boardwalk entertainment
    • Serene mornings & beautiful ocean sunsets in the evenings
    • Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.   
    • Happy Hour 3 -7pm, Monday thru Friday.
    • Every Tuesday – All you can eat Tacos $5, 7-10pm. Bar Only
    • Saturday & Sunday champagne brunch
    • Satellite sports packages shown here.  10 screens for all your sports actions.  Showing all NHL,NFL,NCAAF,PGA,MLB games!
    • A beautiful Venice sunset
    • Validated weekday parking is available one block south at Market Street
    • Live acoustic music, Open Mic sessions.  Click here for SWC  music and  events.
    • View menu

The Sidewalk Cafe.  1401 Ocean Front Walk.  Venice, CA. 90291 thesidewalkcafe.com.  310.399.5547


Check out SWC’s 40th Anniversary and pics from 2009-Present. All photos by Venice Paparazzi.

Need photographers or a photo booth for your event?  Hire Venice Paparazzi!

View all SWC photos by Venice Paparazzi

Need photographers or a photo booth?  Hire Venice Paparazzi!

Dine, drink, people watch and be merry at The Sidewalk Cafe!

1401 Ocean Front Walk.  Venice, California. 90291. www.thesidewalkcafe.com.

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