There is a great place to watch the Sunset in Venice these days, high above the Boardwalk at High. It's the bar on top of the Hotel Erwin (used to be the shoddy Best Western), and the view is so gorgeous you can't even barely stand it.
You enter the Hotel Erwin lobby (centrally located on Pacific and almost Windward) and take the elevator up to the Roof. You walk down a long Hamptons-like wooden sidewalk that leads to the seating areas, where you set up camp in one of the comfy couch sections, and Behold! The entire Venice Boardwalk, and the mountains and sea beyond. stretch out to infinity. There is nothing left to do but toast your good fortune to be in this moment.
As with any decent place with a view, High gets its fair share of Tourists and Tools, but if you and your posse of locals can finagle one of the front couch areas from the very nice manager, Tom, you will pat yourselves on the back as you keep your eye out for the Green Flash. The sun sets over the vast Pacific .. the Santa Monica Mountains turn purple before your eyes.
There are blankets and space heaters for your coziness as the night air turns brisk, and the menus light up so you can see what you're in for. Innovative. One drag is that the bathroom is two floors down (via stairs or elevator) and that can seem like a haul, but there are worse hells.
I haven't had any of the food really, other than little appetizer things, but I can vouch for the drinks - good and stiff (though a little pricey, like most Hotels with a view. Perhaps not a nightly hang spot). There is a restaurant on the street level called Hash that looks pretty good too. High and Hash. The Erwin seems to be familiar with much of its Venice clientele already.
I haven't seen any of the rooms in The Erwin yet, but have heard that they are clean, well-designed, and affordable. The art on the hallway walls seems pretty beachy and cool ... I will for sure recommend the place for my out-of-towners to stay (when my own Hostel is full).
We had a fun and fantastic High Happy Hour last Friday, and the colors of the sunset were mind-blowing. It put us all in an excellent mood to carry on to First Fridays over on Abbot Kinney (aka Food Truck Alley - weird). The lights came on all over town, and from the High vantage point, it looked so charming, that all just had to be well.
Check it out when you want to impress someone with the stunningly beautiful side of Venice. I'll clink to that!