Tavern: The bar will drop “Rick’s” from its name due to new owners. File Photo

Since the end of prohibition to today there has always been a bar located at 2907 Main Street, and the newest owners of the property have no plans on changing that.

The building first opened as Willie Ts in the 1930s and for the last 25 years has been home to Rick’s Tavern. Mark and Addie Van Gessel and their business partner Lance Sellers recently purchased Rick’s from Owner Howard Alpert, and are now preparing to reopen the space as Tavern on Main in time for 4th of July weekend. 

Residents who were sad to see the closing of a longtime casual watering hole need not shed a tear, as Addie says the revamped tavern will keep the spirit of Rick’s alive and has a simple mission of “good pints, good times.”

In a city hawking $30 truffle guacamole where going out can feel more about getting a good photo than a good meal, the pair sees the value in keeping casual and welcoming community spaces alive. In fact, this is their hospitality niche as they own both beloved longtime Venice dive bar Hinano Cafe and the new yet nostalgic feeling Nighthawk Breakfast Bar.

“We’re really so happy to become members of the Santa Monica and the Main Street community,” said Addie. “We’ve been here for over 30 years, so we’ve seen a lot of things come and go, but we create places that we like to hang out in and we’re comfortable in and that we want to go to.”

While the core essence of Rick’s is staying the same, the team will be bringing in some exciting change, the most notable being the addition of a breakfast and lunch service. 

Leaning on their learnings from Nighthawk Breakfast Bar, they are excited to be the only spot on the block offering morning eats and have already crafted a menu of indulgent delights. These include pancakes, steak and eggs, cinnamon churro French toast, chilaquiles and fried chicken and waffles.

The lunch, dinner and light night bites menus are also rooted in comfort food classics. Rick’s well loved chicken wings are sticking around and will be complemented by a fun range of sauces including buffalo sauce, Jamaican jerk, garlic parm, Cajun barbecue and a Thai sauce. Other highlights include bacon wrapped shrimp, short rib poutine, cool ranch Doritos chicken fingers, a Cuban sandwich, bacon mac and cheese bites and homemade cookies. 

With hours from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week, Tavern on Main will be able to cater to essentially any meal time. 

The space is also undergoing a facelift as the Van Gessels want to create a real pub feel where people are comfortable to come dine, drink and hang all day long. The marble bar is being renovated, an interior brick wall being revealed and new seating installed.

There will be a stronger emphasis on beer on tap with the couple planning to bring in 12 draft offerings in addition to select bottles. The cocktail menu is also being refreshed and will complement the brunch service with not one, nor two, but three different types of bloody marys.

“We offer something for everyone: great music, great sports viewing, and a great place to come sit on the sidewalk or by the bay windows and watch the local color as it goes by,” said Addie. “We are really happy to bring our camaraderie and our hospitality philosophy to Main Street and we’re really looking forward to becoming active members in the Santa Monica business community as well as providing a wonderful service to the neighborhood at large.”

Clara@smdp.com