Bottle girls fly by us with sparklers arriving at a long table carrying two enormous martini glasses filled with cold brew and alcohol for The Victorian’s Saturday Spiked Coffee Brunch. The cold brew mega martini can be sipped by 4-6 people. It appeared 2 guys were celebrating their birthdays as they hit a gong tableside. I dig it. The pandemic dragging on makes me delight in this kind of celebratory behavior to make up for lost time.
You may have seen our article on Lonely Planet about Best LA Restaurants touting dinner along with the food and beverage program at The Victorian in Santa Monica.
Originally built near the Hotel Miramar in 1892 in Downtown LA as the residence of one of the neighborhood’s founding families, this two-story building moved to its current location in 1973. The Victorian continues t evolve as the westside hotspot. Not too long ago (maybe 10 years) we danced in the basement and also attended a funeral in the space upstairs for a victim of the boat fire off the Channel Islands. Today a tech party was happening on one side of the venue. Newly remodeled and decorated in Boho mid-century chic furniture and decor, the entire place has also had a clean white paint overhaul inside and out.
Today the revelry continues strong a block from the beach on Main Street Santa Monica as DJs on weekends spin til 1 or 2 AM and lines go down the block for Salsa Night Thursdays. Many college kids we heard from LMU, USC, and Pepperdine make this spot their weekly festive ritual and why shouldn’t they – after being locked down for 2 years during a pandemic.
But the older folks like us should come for the relaxed outdoor weekend brunch setting in the palms where it’s easy here to fall in love with Santa Monica all over again. With a robust wine list and cocktail menu, order Mediterranean-Californian-inspired dishes. Highlights include the Santorini, a Greek salad with tomatoes freshly plucked from the weekly farmer’s market that tastes like candy, the Smash Burger topped with egg, and the Breakfast Burrito stuffed with hash browns, beans, bacon, and cheese. Amp your brunch with one of our favorites, the I’m Basic cocktail with strawberry and lemonade, or the Pina Peno with jalapeno, pineapple, and lime.
We had a chance to talk to co-owner and nightlife legend Adir Tal (also known as DJ DIJITAL) who is the man behind the food, beverage, and music programming. His travels have taken him all over the world to experience the world’s most prestigious venues, restaurants, and hospitality groups giving him a broad perspective of the hospitality industry.
Where did you get your inspiration for the fun programming at the Victorian? Do you have anything new in the works you can share?
My inspiration for The Victorian stems from the basics of hospitality. I think no matter what age you are or how connected you are, everyone can agree that house parties are always the best time. Everyone feels welcomed and social at a house party, they feel able to open up to new people and just enjoy! That was my vision for The Vic, I wanted our guests to feel like they are walking into a home. I wanted the staff to treat them like friends. As for new initiatives in the works, I have a massive event with some world-renowned DJs coming up…but that’s all I can say at the moment.
Do you ever DJ at The Victorian since you have been a DJ worldwide? How long have you been a co-owner?
I DJ at The Vic occasionally, and do some more back to back sets with DJ friends who come by. I’ve officially been a partner since October 2021, but have been involved with the venue since 2018.
What are your favorite dishes at The Victorian?
I love our spicy mambo salad. The spicy mambo is a play of two separate dishes I’ve had and loved. I combined them to be my favorite salad and it’s become very popular with our guests. The salad is also an elevated finger food that you can eat with your hands and just dive in!
How long have you lived in LA and what are some of your favorite restaurants beside the Victorian?
I’m a rare breed of Angeleno, as I was born and raised here. My favorite restaurant is a hard one…I love La Vechia next door to The Victorian for Italian. I also like Tsujita Annex for ramen, and Brothers Sushi for, well sushi…
We love the fun brought back to the Victorian which reminds us of 10 years ago when we use to dance in the basement. We love the mega martini and strike the gong table side with the “bottle service sparklers” concept. Will you come up with other ideas like this? Can you share some?
The house has evolved so much over the past decade and will continue to evolve for the better. The next big thing will be a tequila punch bowl table side with an upside down bottle of Lo Siento in the middle, surrounded by fresh fruit. It’s a play on a “Margarita meets Sangria.” We like to keep an endless Summer vibe at the house.
What is Bomani Brunch on Saturdays? Will brunch be more than just 2-4? What is the reasoning behind those hours? Or does it merge into something else?
Bomani is a coffee meets spirits label run by my good friend, it’s a perfect mix of caffeine and alcohol. The founders are local, eager to hustle, and wanted to partner with us in a creative way. The Bomani Brunch has been a huge success and we have no plans of stopping it anytime soon! The timing is largely in part that it flows right into our “Apres Day Party” we do with Martin Group entertainment which starts at 4 PM on the weekend. Saturday at The Vic has become the ultimate destination for our guests from 2pm – 2am, with brunch day party vibes and three floors of music to follow…
What do you think is the biggest draw right now at The Victorian for the younger set lining up to get in and have fun?
I always circle back to my desire for the venue to feel like a house party. I wanted to branch away from the pretentious Hollywood nightlife ideation to attract a creative and aligned crowd that appreciates what we offer. I’ve been working so hard on the venue, and keeping everything in the same wheel-house so our guests know that they are going to have a fun, interactive time.
We have experienced The Victorian for the last 16 years in many forms. What should someone now know about this venue?
We are constantly evolving and adapting to what is going on in the world around us. We truly understand hospitality and will always be accommodating and caring of our guests; providing a fun and care-free time, but also a safe space where they see The Victorian as their home away from home.
2640 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405