Village West popularity continues to soar

If you’ve been in Claremont for more than 45 seconds, you’ve probably been at the Village West public plaza.

The plaza, part of the massive village expansion project completed in 2007, has quickly become the meeting place for Claremonters hoping to catch a nice bite to eat, see a good film or grab a hot cup of coffee.

Arguably the centerpiece of the plaza is the Laemmle 5 Theatre, which shows smaller independent films as well as big summer blockbusters.

In addition to showing the occasional art house film, the Laemmle is also a haven for older Claremonters, giving a special senior discount—$6 for movie tickets on weekdays before 6 p.m.

In a move that certainly makes sense for a college town like Claremont, the Laemmle also gives discounts to students with valid ID. Student Sunday Nights allow students at the Colleges and other educational institutions to pay only $9 for films after 6 p.m. on Sundays.

The plaza is also home to a cornucopia of cute restaurants, whether you’re in the mood for a beautiful day or a classy night.

Casa 425’s lounge and courtyard has been a Claremont favorite for years, providing craft cocktails and good food for those ready to hit the town. Be sure to check out their happy hour special—select drinks for $5 and choice appetizers for $8 before 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.  Casa 425 also has Tuesday Study Hall, where students with a valid ID can get $3 well drinks and domestic bottles, $4 carnitas tacos and a $6 margherita pizza.

Casa Moreno also offers drink deals on Sundays, including $6 Bloody Marys, Micheladas and mimosas. If you’re looking for good Belgian beer, the Back Abbey is a safe bet, offering dozens of hand-selected brews from the finest brasseries.

Le Pain Quotidien, harbingers of the avocado toast, has debuted their fall menu full of savory and healthy treats such as the roasted pear and spinach salad, sunny side breakfast bowl and chicken “zoodle” soup with zucchini noodles.

Those looking for meatless options can visit Loving Hut, which offers a unique and flavorful vegan menu. Check out the dumplings or the Kung Pao and mixed whole grain rice.

The public plaza is also home to great family-centric events like Friday Nights Live. Claremonters can groove to live music as the weekend commences. Bands play from 6 to 9 p.m. The season ends on October 27, so get there quick before they pack it up for the winter.

But if you’re not in the mood for movies or munchies, the plaza is a great place to just kick back, sit at a table and read a good book. It truly is the essence of Claremont.

—Matthew Bramlett


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