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Chez Jay

really, gansta atmosphere in SM...ok, whatever, who cares - It worked. Still my favorite place to grab a beer and a bite, visit with locals and catch the UCLA game on the 1983 color TV.

The bar keeps are bitchy and food is just fine, that's the way I like it. That's the way a local "SM DIVE" should be. I hope they never change a thing. The coolest is during the weekend, you can catch "latino/mexicans) in the back room watching futball/soccer on the 1985 tv.

Really...It does not get any better than this. Peace to chez jay, see ya this week, ck

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  1. Um, okay, if you consider ANYTHING about SM as slightly gangsta..... LOL!

    Seriously though, I get the feeling this place will not be the same once those mega-mall-like trendoid complexes they are building on all sides of it are opened...... Enjoy it while you can!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

      I know and agree with all my heart and soul. That's why I'm posting it NOW. Get it while the gettin is good.

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Yeah, I like this place too. They make a killer (and I mean killer) bloody mary. The bartender makes his own secret recipe mix, which he also sells in bulk to establishments around town.

          The food is barely passable at best.

          The vibe is priceless. Perhaps it's the only remaining dive bar (though Jay lacks dive bar pricing) in Santa Monica and reminds me of the Regal Begal if that dive actually existed.

          1. re: kevin

            I hear the sand dabs are delicious. But I've never eaten there myself.

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              Same here. I have not eaten those sand dabs. But better than the sand dabs proferred at Musso and Frank ???

              1. re: kevin

                No, the food is not better than Musso and Frank, and I don't like the food at Musso and Frank.

                1. re: cls

                  that's the point, you are not going for the food ...

                  1. re: CharlesKochel

                    tell it to yogachick and maudies5

    2. Chez Jay is a lot of fun!

      1. I love the food. The Fiondella steak is fantastic! And, where else can you get a full meal (steak, potato/rice of choice, vegetables, soup or salad) for less than $30? Been going for decades, thrilled that they won landmark status so I can go there for decades to come.

        22 Replies
        1. re: yogachik

          Just watch out for the bananas in the potatoes au gratin...

          1. re: Servorg

            I love the bananas in those potatoes.

            1. re: maudies5

              EWWWWW.

              Wow, bananas in the au gratin. That's pretty fucking vile.

                1. re: CharlesKochel

                  I vote vile.

                  That's kind of a signature dish for Chez Jay. And it's why I can't take the place seriously when it comes to food.

                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                    Their brunch was not half bad, but it wasn't great. Sometimes it's very hard to screw up breakfast dishes royally.

                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                      i like the atmosphere, the foodie side of the entire place is doubtful at best

                  2. re: kevin

                    Maybe you should try it before you dis it. Now, I've gotta try it, sounds too intriguing to pass up.

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      While there is no accounting for taste I found it, while not vile exactly, I'll just say it certainly did nothing to improve what otherwise would have been pretty fair au gratin potatoes. I would never order them again, that is for certain.

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          intriguing it is, to this end, it has sat it's little self across the street from Hotel California for Many Many Years and as we all vote, the overwhelming feeling is the "atmosphere" which is the original point, otherwise go to the Lobster down the road...will be gone when Santa Monica Place is finished...maybe even removed.

                          1. re: CharlesKochel

                            As I wrote in another thread about Chez Jay's last year:

                            "Chez Jay's = Casual Eaters & Serious Drinkers"

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Don't get me wrong. I really like the place too. You have to really dig the atmosphere, which sure feels like Santa Monica in the early 1980s.

                                Anyone have a recommendation that feels like the Regal Begal in Three's Company ???

                                1. re: kevin

                                  Regal Beagle is based on Chez Jay, in fact.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    i don't know but i would like to know this also: REGAL BEGAL like anyone?

                                2. re: CharlesKochel

                                  Not sure what you're trying to say here, I am very familiar with the area, having lived on this side of town for ten years. And I was referring to the potato dish, when talking about trying it.

                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    Hell No. I don't want to eat much, just sit at the bar, by myself and have the bartender's "what would you eat" special and go...but, for those 50 minutes, it's like nothing else.

                        2. re: yogachik

                          I'll third or fourth the "vile" comments re: their banana potatoes. My first trip to Chez Jay, after listening to others talk it up, was an utter disappointment. The steak was gristly and the sides were either tasteless or (the aforementioned "signature" potatoes) pretty darned disgusting.

                          Then, I stopped in a few years later for a drink or four and finally understood the place's charm. It's a drinker's bar, pure and simple.

                          1. re: JeMange

                            It is.

                            If you really really really want to go out on a limb, you can try their breakfast dishes on the weekends, which are not half bad.

                            Those bloody marys are so good that they become excessively dangerous. DD central.

                            1. re: JeMange

                              Totally a drinkers bar. Maybe after a few martinis, those potatoes will taste wonderful to me.....

                              1. A similar vibe and scene is the Galley on Main. A plus there is the great clams.

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: Thor123

                                  Vito's bar on Ocean Park has a major local's crowd, everyone knows everyone's name.

                                  1. re: Thor123

                                    I was gonna chime in with The Galley. Similar vibe and better (but still not great) food. Solid steaks and tasty, as you said, steamed clams.

                                    1. re: JeMange

                                      these are my kind of places to sit by myself and not think of a cold beer a ballgame on tv I don't care about and some non-interesting conversation...a dumb out, if you will. Where the food sucks, just to the point of, I'll eat tapas and wash it down with a cold one style. Great recommendations on the vibe. I'll check out each and give my thoughts on Both Vito's & The Galley. Thanks everyone, see ya where the light is low and the beer floweth freely.

                                      1. re: CharlesKochel

                                        The clams at the Galley dont deserved to be dissed, they are excellent!

                                        1. re: Thor123

                                          I feel a date with a clam @ the Galley, Monday!

                                            1. re: CharlesKochel

                                              I've been dying to go there forever! I'm a sucker for steamers, and a good bar.... Just wish my kids could be otherwise occupied, like with a babysitter, or something... ;-))

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                Yeah, that sucks. No decent babysitters out there these days ?

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  There are, they are just so dang expensive! Only a few more years before I can leave them without one {{sigh}}.

                                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                  Technically, what you get at The Galley are not "steamers" which are traditionally Ipswich or soft shell clams that have the little snorkel. The galley simply steams hardshell clams.

                                                  1. re: JeMange

                                                    I wondered about that. I doubt anyone here sells true steamers out here, just so perishable. But I steam Manilas at home often, they come out as a decent sub.

                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                      Well, you can always get those fried Ipswich at the Jar, (shoot, I don't even know if it's still in business).

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        Thanks, but BPO flies them in almost daily and is much closer to my house. But that's good to know, I think Jar is still open.....