Meet Up and Eat Up at The Hive

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If you’ve ever driven out of Laguna Beach via Laguna Canyon Road, then surely you’ve seen The Hive. There’s no big sign to identify it -- in fact there’s no sign at all -- but it’s easily distinguished by the brilliantly colorful mural on Laguna Beach Beer Company’s exterior wall. That piece, by 2008 LCAD grad artist Beau Stanton, marks the entrance to The Hive, home to Laguna’s namesake brewery, Kitchen in the Canyon, Oliver’s Osteria, and Seven-Degrees, amongst others. 

These acclaimed new eateries have breathed new life into the area; once only busy during summertime festivals, suddenly The Hive is hot.

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The center’s rebirth began when Laguna Creative Ventures took over. It earned its name because they wanted it to be a “gathering center between all of the festival and artistic businesses that surround it.” Wedged between the hallowed grounds of the Sawdust Festival and the Art-a-Fair buildings, the center had always been full of potential, but never flourished year round, except for the Laguna Culinary Arts Wine and Cheese shop, which closed in 2014. 

Replacing LCA is Kitchen in the Canyon, a counter service restaurant that plates healthy food with comforting flavors. Initially a breakfast and lunch destination with lattes and all manner of toasts to die for, KITC started offering reasonably-priced dinners, like fried halibut and a 10 oz. New York strip steak and fried halibut, in June. Open at 7am and with more parking available than any local Starbucks, it’s the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee or an acai bowl on the way out of town.

Seven-Degrees, with its striking blue entryway that leads to multiple event rooms and an outdoor rooftop terrace and promenade, is a 25,000 square foot event space that hosts weddings, art shows, and corporate events. Not only did it win the 2019 WeddingWire Couples Choice award, it also hosted the 2019 Laguna Beach Arts Alliance Art Star Awards Dinner.

Exiting wedding guests could easily walk to Laguna Beach Beer Company for a post-reception sip of owners Brent Reynard and Mike Lombardo’s famous brews. The two opened the tap room and brewery last year, along with a kitchen serving beer-friendly foods like warm, soft pretzels and even a children’s menu. 

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Then there’s the restaurant on all the “Best-of-OC” lists from Eater LA to the OC Register, Oliver’s Osteria is a wildly popular Italian bistro open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Owner and Executive Chef Erik De Marchi, an alum of LA hotspot Angelini Osteria, opened his highly-anticipated and dearly beloved eatery (named after his son) last year to rave reviews and hasn’t slowed down since. With seasonal menu changes, house-made pastas, and cocktails made with the same artisanal detail as the must-try rigatoni cacio e pepe, Oliver’s has taken the limelight from restaurants with an ocean view and brought the foodie crowd into a bustling shopping center in Laguna Canyon. 

The Hive expects new tenants moving in soon in the form of more restaurants and retail shops, which will add even more unique energy to the busy, buzzing Hive. It’s truly the place to be in Laguna. 

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Victoria Kertz is a journalist and co-founder of Third Street Writers in Laguna Beach. She covers food and travel on Instagram at @orangecountess.

Photos by: Grant Puckett.