In "Million Dollar Baby," Hilary Swank's boxer character waited tables at On the Waterfront Cafe in Venice. Her character may have punched your teeth down your throat for looking at her sideways, but On the Waterfront offers a better choice of things to pour down your gullet, namely, a frosty, wheat-laced Erdinger hefeweizen or a tangy Bitburger pilsner.
Located at the north end of the Venice boardwalk, On the Waterfront offers a vaguely European vibe within the sterile, Communist-bloc construction that plagues much of modern Venice, though it atones with its variety of heavy Swiss food and German beers.
The Enabler likes to sit at the bustling tables out front and play the Hipster or Homeless? game with the dudes bashing golden oldies covers on their guitars. When the sun sets into the ocean, the boardwalk becomes a festival for the senses, and there's no better vantage point than the Waterfront. The reefer-fueled drum circle can be heard in all its dreadlocked glory, and the river of the bizarre that flows by On the Waterfront's outdoor picnic tables reminds us of when the "Venice" of old didn't need scare quotes to evoke a hippie bacchanal.
205 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, (310) 392-0322