Good Clean Fun Reinvents Wine Culture in DTLA
– VOL. 16
Moving to Los Angeles from Portland as an native Oregonian must be a big shock to the system: the sudden onset of sunshine, blue skies and palm trees, and fast cars merging somewhat recklessly into the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Our Venn partner and friend, Ian Asbury, knows all about it. He made the journey from Portland to LA eight years ago. For Ian, changing state residency electrified his dreams—sparking a big idea—which motivated him to do the hard work of starting his own food and beverage business, Good Clean Fun.
Despite the action-packed demands of running a restaurant in Los Angeles, Ian makes time for road trips, too—traveling up and down the Pacific Coast from LA to Baja California, Mexico. He breaks up the drive with wonderful stops along the way, “There are such beautiful areas that offer serenity; something that can be hard to find in big cities.”
Ian enjoys the escape from the congestion of a big city while immersing in a new culture and partaking in the local fare within the wineries and restaurants sprinkled throughout the coastal landscape. Some of his favorite places to indulge include: Bichi, Casa Vieja, and Vena Cava. As for delicious restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe, he is a big fan of Fauna, Deckmans, and Finca Altozano.
We wanted to know more about Ian’s creative process, so we asked him about the road to starting his own business. He told us that he started with a basic idea that he couldn’t get out of his head—food and wine—and from there moved into doing research on how to build upon his vision.
Located on South Olive and 9th, Good Clean Fun is both a wine shop and wine bar, serving up a daily seasonal menu on the patio.
“You have to think, if the product is already out there, you put your spin on it or if the product is not there then there is an opportunity for it! Or, you sort of hit both of those together at the right moment…” In dreaming up his business, Ian took detailed notes from the way he saw other business owners operating in his previous jobs—examples of what (and also what not) to do. Smart.
Ian’s creation, Good Clean Fun, produces wine without pesticides, chemicals, or other unnecessary additives. The grapes Ian and his crew use to make what he refers to as “fermented grape juice,” are all organic. They also take the same clean approach to their other in-house beverages such as cider and beer. The Good Clean Fun wine bar, located in Downtown LA, has a full-on menu that mixes it up with eclectic tastes, including Southern California fusion, Mexican, Mediterranean, and East Asian cuisines.
Ian is all about supporting our healthy lifestyles by representing local, organic, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients. (BONUS: Not only does Good Clean Fun have a wine club, they have a run club that meets every Wednesday.) Also, FYI, they have some cool wearable merch to sport while sipping with your besties this season. Why not pair their tie-dye tee with a bucket hat while you’re at it?
Good Clean Fun is a local favorite, drawing regulars to the back patio for happy hours and to its weekly running club meetups.
As for wine recommendations for autumn—along with the perfect pairing, Ian is super stoked about the Lambrusco. “It’s a chilled red with bubbles! And we do a mix of tempura-fried vegetables: mushrooms, carrots, and kale with a chile lime aioli… and of course, grated Estero Gold cheese on top!”
Eight years in and Ian is still as happy, fun-loving, and inspired as ever—living the California dream. “There are so many walks of life and so many pockets in LA that offer different kinds of inspiration,” he says. And when it comes to finding inspiration in unknown territory, Ian also relies on harnessing energy from the sun. According to Ian, if you are going to dwell in the City of Angels, you’re going to need the sun’s energy to balance out the heat.
And of course, we also wanted to know how Ian felt supported by the Venn community during all the twists and turns along the way to business success. Here’s what he had to say, “Connecting with amazing people in Los Angeles… We are all spread out—it’s a big city—and it can be hard to connect with people unless you are everywhere out there all the time. Venn helps give you a jumpstart to meeting people to see if they are your people!”
The feeling is mutual, Ian Asbury. We’d happily toast to that. Keep an eye out for upcoming collaborations between Venn and Good Clean Fun including Wednesday Night Happy Hours and potluck dinners for neighbors in DTLA. Follow @venn.city for the details!
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