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Help! ISO- 23rd Bday Dinner in Malibu/SM//Venice

Day: Saturday
Party Size: 15-25
Group Type: College Students/Recent grads/young professional
Price: $15-$25/person, not including drinks
Need something like: Yard House
Trying to avoid a place like: The Cheesecake Factory (overly extensive menu and no reservations) or Nobu (high-end and not for a picky eater)
Food Type: We're Open.
Considering: C&O and Duke's
Full Bar: Yes!!
Atmosphere: fun and casual (jeans sneakers) that doesn't mind a loud group and where we can stay for a while.

Like a good CH I did a search for Malibu and didn't find much so I need your help! We'll be in Malibu so we'd like something in that area but we're open to other places nearby. Is Duke's a good choice?

Ever been to a restaurant for a bday and didn't like your food/service and felt like you overpaid on top of that? That's definitely the type of place I'm trying to avoid. Thanks for your help!!

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  1. Hard price range for the area. You could do Neptune's Net. Really , really low key. No Bar. Walk up counters, yes, but a great place to sit and watch the ocean with a plate of seafood and a beer.

    Library Alehouse, Santa Monica
    Ye Olde Kings' Head in Santa Monica
    Duke's is OK, but not spectacular.
    Father's Office is too small for your party.

    1. I say you can never go wrong with C&O for a birthday party. A loud group making lots of noise doesn't faze that place in the slightest. But be warned that they are kind of reservation nazis, so make sure you at least have a critical mass of people (i.e. about half your party) there within a few minutes of your reservation time, or they'll boot you.

      1. World Cafe on Main, Enterprise Fish Co, Nikki's. C&O kick you out as soon as you finish your food, they don't let anyone linger over drinks! Duke's will probably be fun for your group.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hrhboo

          That hasn't been my experience... I've had birthday dinners there that have lasted around 3 hours.

          1. re: nick_r

            On two separate occasions we have tried to order more wine after our plates have been removed and were refused. This was the location by the water.

            1. re: hrhboo

              That sucks! We dont want to feel rushed. I've dont C&Os so many times that its my back up plan incase I can't find anything else.

        2. Maybe something in the Palisades, like Marix Tex Mex? The food may not be super spectacular, but the margaritas do the trick and it's good for a large party.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Juji

            Marix might be perfect. I had my 26th bday there and it was a lot of fun, although the food isn't great.

            1. re: mollyomormon

              Or Lula's on Main St. in Santa Monica. Not inspired, but very good Mexican food, excellent margaritas and always fun w/ a crowd. They handle large groups well. Nice patio for your party.

          2. Thanks everyone for the recs. We decided to go with Marix since their location is really convenient and the bday girl wanted mexican. I sooo wanted to go to Musha but our group size was too large.

            Once again, thanks for the recs.