Venice Boardwalk CASUAL!
I'm a FL Chowhound making my way over to LA for a few days and was planning to spend the first afternoon at Venice Beach and then Santa Monica pier/beach. I was looking for recs for a casual and fun place to get some drinks and grab a decent lunch. I'm thinking fish tacos or something of that casualness (if there is such a rating scale), although I've heard I should wait and just go to Taco Nazo for the best around. I've heard good things about Abbot's pizza but that's off the beach, correct? Any good happy hours? Thanks!
Are you walking to the Pier from Venice (or vice versa)? You could go to Shutters fantastic happy hour in their downstairs bar. If you're in Venice first, just walk over to Main Street for lunch - Chaya Venice is at Navy, the northernmost end of the Boardwalk. Or, if you're at the southern end, go to Abbot Kinney - someplace like 3 Square. It's difficult to recommend someplace without knowing where you'll be (and be parked). If you're parked in Santa Monica, this won't help. Also -- there's a Tide Shuttle for 50cents that takes you around that area, so you wouldn't need to re-park...
Yeah, as someone who works blocks from the beach I can attest that there is really no good food on the beach during the daytime. Near Rose & the beach walk there are several places that have good beer and not-so-great food. (Waterfront Cafe especially for beer, Fig Tree, etc..) But that's not to say you can't enjoy a good hour of kicking back, drinking, and people watching at those places.
If you don't mind being indoors a half-block from the beach, go to Hinano's on Washington at the southernmost point of Venice beach. Nice cold beer and awesome $5 burgers.
As the other poster says once you're on Main or A.K. there are a ton more options.
Although not a "shack" James Beach would be very casual for lunch and is by far the best option, food wise, for the immediate boardwalk area.
60 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291