Venice has an eclectic mix of restaurants that can only be called American: BBQ, sports bars, a soda fountain, a piano lounge. Here they are:
Spare ribs, baby back ribs, BBQ chicken—it’s all good, at very reasonable prices, with efficient, friendly service. The menu goes well beyond barbecue to seafood and chili, but barbecue is why I go to the Gold Rush, 661 Tamiami Trail South, at Fairway Boulevard.
Those younger than retirement age won’t remember when real soda fountains were found in every American town, so this is their chance to visit one. The Soda Fountain has authentic mid-1900s decor, some sidewalk tables and, as a bonus, Vinnie’s Pizzeria—two good places in one, at 34West Venice Avenue, near Harbor Drive South.
Television screens crowd the walls at Bogey’s, 652 East Venice Avenue, near US 41 Bypass. The major sports event you want is sure to be on several of them, so find a seat, order a pizza or calzone, sandwich, burger, plate of nachos, a big salad or plates of small bites, and a drink. Sports on screens? Bogey’s is the place.
A chain restaurant with a location right in the center of the downtown business district, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, 300 West Venice Avenue at Nassau Street, has lots of open-air tables, live (and loud) music, and a long and varied menu heavy in shellfish and fried food. The gift shop sells Daiquiri Deck-branded items: hot sauce, hats, t-shirts, gift cards, tumblers, and hoodies.
Live music by a pianist is the draw at the Zebra Lounge, 217 Miami Avenue West near Nokomis Avenue. The wine and specialty beer choices are abundant, and light meals are served: cheese and cold meat plates, pizzas, paninis, desserts.
Zebra Lounge is open in the evening, closed Monday.