Established in 1948, the Brentwood Country Mart is a local shopping institution. Featuring an interior courtyard and a faux red-board barn entry, it has become easily recognizable in L.A. Culture icon, shopping Mecca and eclectic, what can you expect when strolling along the byways and paths?
First and foremost, do away with the notion that the Brentwood Country Mart is a strip mall with the quintessential Walgreens, Dollar Tree and other mall rat hang-out spot. Try international shopping powerhouses instead. In spite of its barn-like appearance, local shopping mavens recognize the venue for what it is: upscale, borderline swanky and thoroughly interesting.
Sure, there are some chain stores at the Brentwood Country Mart. Take for example the Diesel Bookstore with its L.A. book signings in what designers term “urban California aesthetic.” If books are not quite on the horizon but jewelry that was inspired by the Juna Indians of Panama sounds like it may be right up your alley, Pippa Small has what you’re looking for.
Shop for the casual male look (that combines classic elements but is not afraid of high fashion) at Apartment Number 9. If thus far you have limited your couture options to the high-priced boutiques of Rodeo Drive, this clothing store is a bit of fresh air and devoid of the uppity nature of the sales staff. The price tags, however, are occasionally similar.
If all this shopping makes you hungry, the Brentwood Country Mart has a solution. A smaller food court section features Barney’s, a burger joint with a twist. More than 20 vegetarian burger choices vie for hungry shoppers’ attention. If you want to take it down a notch and have a hankering for fried clams, ribs, and other rotisserie favorites, Reddi Chick is the place to visit.
So what separates the Brentwood Country Mart from other local’s favorites when it comes to upscale shopping? The barber shop! Complete with old-fashioned pole and signage, L.A. culture likes to hold on to its time-honored traditions. In truth, the venue has upgraded its services to not only cater to a male clientele but also to women and children. Even so, you cannot help but feel just a bit more at home with that barber shop pole.
Take your time to walk through the red barn entry and soak in the atmosphere of this shopping hot spot. Come on a sunny day, when the light shines into the courtyard. Watch an L.A. culture must-see and understand why there are just some malls, such as the Brentwood Country Mart, that remain the average local’s favorites, even if they cannot afford to buy more than lunch.
Brentwood Country Mart: 225 26th Street in Santa Monica, 90402; (310) 395-9666