A couple of years ago, Allen Sanford and Rob Lissner created the biggest music festival in the South Bay, and now the business partners behind the popular BeachLife Festival are making waves in Venice with a new live music venue that could offer a sneak peek of future festival acts.
“We’re doing everything from jazz, to blues, to indie, a lot of up-and-comer indie stuff, so kind of all over the map,” said Sanford, who along with Lissner opened The Venice West, a 3,200-square-foot venue, on Oct. 8.
Located at 1717 Lincoln Blvd., in a space that formerly housed the former live music venue WitZend, the new spot hit the ground running with acts The Smash Up, the Wailers and English Beat already rocking crowds in early October.
Some of the notable acts set to perform soon include The Untouchables Oct. 29, LAW on Nov. 12 and Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds on Nov. 26.
“It’s more live music; live music heals the soul,” said Lissner, who is a longtime Venice resident.
And while the new spot has already hosted bands that have performed at BeachLife, like English Beat, it could also offer a preview of what people will see at the BeachLife Festival.
“It’s a great place for us to bring some bands in, listen to them and potentially bring them on to BeachLife at some point,” Lissner said.
And besides a stage, Venice West is also a full-service restaurant serving American fare.
“We’re really trying to redefine what it means to go to a supper house or a dinner and a show,” Sanford said.
The venue holds 225 people who will be able to eat or hang at the bar during shows. With bigger bands there may be a few tables removed to make space, but the goal is to keep it an intimate spot, Sanford said.
“It’s a proper music venue with really good food,” Lissner said.
The Venice West is currently open from Thursday to Sunday but the plan is to eventually have music and food nightly.
Sanford also owns the currently closed Saint Rocke music venue in Hermosa Beach, which is similar in size to The Venice West and is up for sale.
And while his original music club closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, The Venice West is not meant to take the place of Saint Rocke but rather be its Westside sibling since it was already in the works years ago, Sanford said.
“About four years ago, Rob came to me and said he’d love to do a Saint Rocke type of thing in Venice. The Venice Westside is missing music and it should be up here,” Sanford said.
Due to permitting issues and then the pandemic, The Venice West’s opening was delayed until this year.
Saint Rocke, meanwhile, remains on the market and Sanford said his goal is to bring the music back to his original spot as well.
“The revival of Saint Rocke, it may be me owning all of it, it may be me taking on partners, I may sell it. I don’t know that, it’s too soon to know that,” Sanford said.
The Venice West
Where: 1717 Lincoln Blvd., Venice
Hours: Opens at 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday
Information: 424-443-5222 or thevenicewest.com
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