Usually, bars and restaurants in the same neighborhood are in direct competition for business; unless, of course, it's in laid-back Venice. In an effort to create a great bar scene and a great restaurant in the old Menemsha space, the chefs and owners of Amuse Cafe (Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts) teamed up with the Brig and Club Sugar owner (David Reiss).

The best thing Beechwood has going for it is the vibe. With warm ochre and amber hues, stunning atrium seating, a fire pit on the loungey patio and a dining room that's separate enough from the bar so you can actually have dinner in it, it's sophisticatd yet casual. It's like a souped-up living room for lingering with friends forever, which is exactly what most people seem to do.

The menu is classic American bistro fare circa 2005, which is exactly what Williamson and Roberts are known for. One menu is more bar-friendly for the lounge with good-for-sharing items like shoestring frites; grilled lamb meatballs with roasted red pepper pesto; and a pressed pulled-pork sandwich. The dinner menu features elegant comfort fare like sauteed John Dory with sweet pea orzo; duck leg confit with roasted yams; or pulled beef shortrib pot pie with Tuscan black kale. When chef Williamson was at Zax, her grown-up version of the ice cream sandwich was all anyone could talk about; at Beechwood, the desserts are just as playful and, thankfully, just as decadent. Peanut butter truffle tart with homemade Cracker Jacks, anyone?