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The Coolers of Venice Beach

September 01, 2021

Story: Dylan James Ho and Jeni Afuso

photos: Dylan + Jeni


The Coolers of Venice Beach

September 01, 2021

Story: Dylan James Ho and Jeni Afuso

photos: Dylan + Jeni

What does summer drinking look like in LA? Four groups of beachgoers offer a glimpse of their favorite go-tos.

With about 75 miles of coastline from Malibu to Long Beach, there are a lot of places Angelenos and tourists like to post up to ditch the hot sun. Without a doubt, with its windy boardwalk flanked with endless sex-themed apparel shops, county-fair level food vendors and reggae-blasting vape shops, Venice Beach is a magnet for quirky locals. You’ll see shiny, bronzed body builders widening their necks and biceps; gravity-defying skaters cruising to hip hop; and no shortage of regulars turning the beach into a makeshift bar. On one summer Thursday in August, we walked along a stretch of sand to see just how people were quenching their late-summer thirst.


Hometown: Chicago

Are you visiting for the weekend?
Alice: Yes, it’s my niece’s birthday.

Oh, she’s your niece? Oh wow. I thought you were sisters.
Alice: How old do you think she is?

Uh, 35?
Tricia: Oh, I love you.

Can you tell us what you are drinking?
Alice: Tito’s and lemonade. I got a bottle of wine in my handbag, too.

Are you eating anything good out here in LA?
Alice: Ooh. We had some Jamaican food that was amazing. Oxtail, beef short ribs.

Where’s this Jamaican spot?
Alice: On Slauson and La Brea.

How long have you been drinking today?>
Alice: She’s been drinking since yesterday morning at 11 a.m.!


Hometown: Hollywood, currently 

So today is beach day?
Daniel: Today is a beach day. Every time we come out here it’s so enjoyable. We probably made this trek three or four times during the pandemic.

What are you guys drinking?
Daniel: Mad Tasty’s Pure Sparkling Water. I’m drinking Unicorn Tears and Becca’s drinking Watermelon Kiwi.

Can you tell us what you are snacking on?
Daniel: Surewe have some hummus and sandwiches from Erewhon.

Everything at Erewhon is beautiful.
Daniel: Everything at Erewhon is a treat. Hey, we are going to have a beach day and we are going to spend too much money at a grocery store.

What else do you like to drink?
Daniel: There’s a lager they make at House Beer in Venice. It’s a small spot around here.


Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

What are you all drinking today at Venice Beach?
Tristan: Truly Hard Seltzer!

Why Truly? You have such amazing beers in Wisconsin.
Tristan: We wanted something sweet and refreshing... We wanted to match with fruits and vegetables in this tropical setting.

This is tropical?
Kyle: For us it is!

Are you Brewers fans?
Morgan: Oh yes!

What are you going to drink tonight after your Truly?
Morgan: I want a fancy cocktail!

Ally, Janet, Melissa

Hometown: Dallas 

So what brings you to Venice Beach?
Ally: Just a little R&R. We are here until Saturday.

I see some white cans. What are you drinking?
Melissa: White Claw. It was accessible from the convenience store right here. That was the biggest factor in our decision-making. It’s lighter for the beach.

So how many are you in?
Janet: Uh, well, we got two tallboys to begin with to make sure we liked them.

So you had a preview and you went back for more?
Melissa: Yes! We went back for the six-pack. It would be obnoxious to buy the 12-pack.

What’s the best flavor?
Ally: Black Cherry tastes pretty good. What is the deal with black cherry these days? It seems to be in everything.

What else do you like to drink at the beach?
Ally: There’s a drink company called DRNXMYTH. They’re like pressed juices and alcohol—you snap them and shake it together. It’s healthy...ish.

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Dylan James Ho and Jeni Afuso are also the husband-and-wife photo duo, DYLAN + JENI. When they aren’t photographing food, cocktails and hotels, they enjoy traveling far and away to unearth some of the world’s most delicious food and drink. They have contributed to Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, AFAR, Travel + Leisure, Garden & Gun, GQ, Mr. Porter and more.