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Site of Venice West Cafe, Beat Generation hangout, designated city landmark

March 19, 2010 |  1:09 pm

The former Venice West Cafe. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday approved a new city landmark -- a Venice building that from 1958 to 1966 was a hangout for disciples of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other Beat Generation pioneers who planted the seeds of L.A.'s counterculture movement.

At the time, the place was known as the Venice West Cafe.

Although the style of the building on Dudley Avenue near Ocean Front Walk is listed as "commercial vernacular" and the designer is unknown, the city Planning Department's Office of Historic Resources said the spot had "social and cultural significance."

The building's uses and tenants have evolved since the cafe closed in 1966. A restaurant called 5 Dudley gave way to Piccolo, an upscale eatery that recently expanded into the adjacent portion that had housed Venice West Cafe.

Alan Leib, a preservationist who helped submit the application, said in January that he envisioned eventually closing off the short stretch of Dudley Avenue as a pedestrian-friendly zone and creating a bohemian district with brick paving and period lampposts. Ideally, he said, he and others would re-create the Venice West Cafe.

-- Martha Groves

Photo: The former Venice West Cafe. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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