The familiar scene of a local pizza party post Little League games and AYSO practices are the first thing to go through your head as you enter Vito’s Pizza. Just then you notice the wooded bar reminiscent of Tokyo hi-fi joints before realizing the music is curated vinyl from behind the bar. It’s the ultimate clash of nostalgic and yesterdays cool that make Vito’s so unique. As you sip your IPA or old fashioned you take a stab at learning backgammon or hit the pool table. When the pizza arrives it’s a glorious display of New Jersey pie might and LA hipster vibes. Opt for a fold technique or drop that slice in your mouth like a payload from a helicopter. Either way that cheesie goodness and the groups of kids laughing at each other will bring you back to 4th grade antics if only for a few moments.
Alternative: Pizza not sounding like your jam, grab a bite at Ingo's Tasty Diner. They've got everything you could ever want.
The few blocks walk through the Santa Monica neighborhoods is a great way to work off the carb load from moments before. In no time you’re heading into the great hall known as the House of Billiards. You trade your drivers license for a rack of balls and a couple chalk cubes. With table number in hand you scurry past the intimidating billiards bros betting beers per game and teenage kids escaping their homes to hang at one of the few refuges in town. You split into teams before breaking and realizing these are professional tables, with professional pockets and you are no professional. The games are challenging but the music sets an incredible mood being full of 90s bangers and classic hits. After a few beers and a few games you settle on best 2 out of 3 for who has to get on stage first at the next stop. Cause it’s getting close to show time.
The night may be early but as you stroll up to The Gaslite you notice the throngs of drunken co-workers, college students and SM bros pouring in and out of the dark doorway. Upon entering the rush of hot air, cranking karaoke and red lights surround your crew. It’s the classic dive bar scene complete with middle aged folks sitting at the bar, newbies on the dance floor and the bartender pouring cocktails the way it should be done. After grabbing a vodka soda and Samuel Smith beer for your friends it’s time for someone’s name to be thrown into the hat. After sneaking to the front to conquer the k-lists fate you notice the famous popcorn machine ready for your salty paws to get all over it. Within a few songs your name is called and it’s time to get to the test…don’t worry no one knows the words to REMs “It’s the End of the World.”