Classic waterfront-adjacent dive spot Chez Jay, a literal historic landmark, is finally ready for its big new mid-life reveal. The colorful, friendly 60-year-old hangout on Ocean Avenue is about to show off an updated back patio experience (called the Backyard, naturally) that comes complete not only with more seating and salty ocean breezes, but also an entirely new food and drink menu.
The plan to expand more thoughtfully into the Chez Jay back yard has been in the works since at least 2013, when the whole area around the bar and restaurant was being redeveloped by the city. The younger new owners of the place want to pull in not just tourists but young locals as well, all while keeping the same eclectic vibe that the bar has had for the past six decades.
Whereas the longstanding Chez Jay menu has focused on salads, sandwiches, and occasional throwback dishes like big steaks and sand dabs almondine, the backyard will offer dishes like kimchi guacamole, shrimp ceviche, truffle fries, fried chicken sandwich, and more traditional beach fare like fish and chips and a burger. There will also be all new cocktails, including plenty of classics like margaritas and an old fashioned. The opening menu is below.
As for the space itself, expect an outdoor lounge vibe complete with Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and those all-important string lights. The Backyard’s opening is happening next week (Thursday, August 15 to be exact, starting at 4 p.m.).
Chez Jay. 1657 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica.