When people think of Marina del Rey, they don’t think of flashy clubs with throbbing bass, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a thriving nightlife. There are plenty of insanely fun things to do near your Starcity coliving community – just don’t expect Tiesto to be headlining next door anytime soon.
Grab some Grub
Let’s go chronologically, shall we? If you’re heading out, you’ll need to eat; and some of these places are such a great time, you might look at the clock and realize that dinner has become your whole night. I’ve done this many times.
If you’re searching for swank-city, head to the harbor. For those that have read Breakfast vs. Brunch: Battle for the Marina, you’re going to see some repeats, but hey, it’s not my fault these restaurants are such culinary powerhouses.
First up, there’s SALT Restaurant & Bar. I put this first because I already committed to chronology and because it has an amazing happy hour from 4-6 pm. With award-worthy signature cocktails, mouth-watering food, and a breathtaking view of the Marina, I’m pretty confident you’ll be quite comfortable. Also, even though it seems somewhat upscale here, don’t be fooled... you can order a bucket of fried chicken…
Another great option is Killer Shrimp. Even food lovers all the way in the valley have heard of this place. Its seafood is legendary, and they really know how to blend it into a choice pasta dish. Its diner subsection, Killer Café, is open 24 hours a day, which makes this an exceptional late night (or super early morning) choice. And if you love happy hours, they have two big ones: 3-7pm and 10pm-midnight.
Only a short drive over to Playa del Rey, Bacari PDR stands out with its unique selection of tapas that can be enjoyed within a vibrant ambience. And you’re right next to the beach, so if you get enough liquid courage in you, why not take a night swim? I advise doing this with a group if possible.
Hit the Bars
There are quite a few right in your neighborhood, which we’re calling the Marina Arts District – yeah, we’re way cool. If you want pizza, beer, lots of seats, and maybe some sports, Yard House is your new friend. But maybe your heart desires something with a more exclusive feel. If so, Old Lightning will take you back to the Mad Men era of drinking straight whiskey and staring off into the distance. They’ve collected some impressive selections of rare liquor from across the world, and they’re so gung-ho about their old-school aesthetic that they take everyone’s cell-phone away upon arrival, so… you’ve been warned. This practice makes public photos rare, so the best research you can do on this place is to just go there.
Another speakeasy with a similar yet equally fantastic name is Old Man Bar. Come for hard-hitting cocktails, a candle-lit cave setting, practically ancient black and white photographs, and a somewhat unsettling display of taxidermy.
If it’s a Thursday, definitely go to Brennan’s to see, and bet on, their legendary turtle races. And yes, I mean actual turtles actually racing each other. On Fridays from 4-7pm, there’s live acoustic music and complimentary pizza. And again, yes, I mean free pizza. But really, any day of the week is a great time to go. The outdoor area is big enough to feature cornhole, Jenga, and a series of other board games that can be played while you drink your beer and stuff your face.
Have a Laugh
Some might think that you have to battle traffic to find stand-up comedy and other Hollywood delights, but there are options right in your vicinity; you just have to take a second to look around you. The Warehouse Restaurant hosts Comics on the Spot: a Monday night two-hour comedy show. It’s a solid stand-up-line-up for a cover charge of only 5 dollars! Take it from me: that kind of value is like finding a unicorn in LA.
If you’re willing to plan ahead a little, Don’t Tell Comedy is a one-of-a-kind show that takes over random venues for nonstop laughs. You buy a ticket in advance, and then they release the line-up and location the day of; all you know is that it’s going to be in a certain area. The event is BYOB, the venues are often obscure or quirky, and the vibe is much more communal than your typical comedy show. I highly recommend it. They don’t have a specific one for Marina del Rey, but they regularly set up shows in Venice, Mar Vista, and Manhattan beach, which essentially circle MDR. In fact, the one I went to in Venice was so close to the border of Marina del Rey, it was probably walkable for those in our MDR co-living space.
Dance it Up
Tired of bright lights burning your retinas and brutal bass assaulting your eardrums? Guess what? You’re the old school type, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Rusty’s Rhythm Club hosts swing dancing with live bands the first Friday of every month, and then on Wednesdays the rest of the month. Go cut it up.
Discover Your Escape
And finally, what about escape rooms? There’s one right in the Marina Arts District called 60OUT Escape Rooms. I did a Harry Potter themed room called Wizards Workshop with some friends, and it was a blast (the rest of my party was a little averse to the more intense options.) At the time of writing this article, the other featured rooms are called Titanic, Outbreak, and Zen Room.
As you can see, Marina del Rey has plenty to offer. I’ve given you some good places to start, but the best way to experience it all is to try it all. Maybe you’re compiling a list right now, or maybe you don’t want to be told what to do – for the latter, start circling around the Marina Arts District and spiral out until you cover every square inch of potential fun.