Look out boys, here I come in my virtual Ferrari at Base 51, a new sports bar that specializes in VR Grand Prix racing.

Blast Off to Base 51

Eat, drink and compete at this new restaurant meets VR car racing venue just a few minutes from SpaceX in Hawthorne.

Look out boys, here I come in my virtual Ferrari at Base 51, a new sports bar that specializes in VR Grand Prix racing.Look out boys, here I come in my virtual Ferrari at Base 51, a new sports bar that specializes in VR Grand Prix racing.

I found the perfect therapy for an exasperating week of doing 15 miles per hour on the 405 Freeway: Base 51, a new sports bar in the warehouse district of Hawthorne that provides guests with a futuristic VR car racing experience, a chef’s menu of delectable treats and a great selection of local craft beers, cocktails, wine and champagne.

Driving to the grand opening celebration in my humble 2007 Prius, I began to wonder where in the heck this place was located. But things began to come into focus when my GPS took me past SpaceX, in an industrial area of Hawthorne populated by tech-boy hipsters whose jobs entail trying to find a way to get people like me onto a commercial rocket to Mars.

Base 51 is less than a mile away from Elon Musk’s dream enterprise, and sits in a row of newer warehouse-like buildings including LA Ale Works, a favorite after-work hangout in the area. Base 51 is across the street from the microbrewery, and features a steel and brick open space that’s been converted into a sleek, grown-up funzone that features a VR car racing experience with 10 Elite Motion Pro II Simulators from CXC Simulations, considered to be the world’s best racing simulators and all linked for a “real” car racing experience using either 165-inch display systems or virtual reality glasses.

There’s also an outdoor patio strung with festoon lights and vertical fire pits, a private room with a driver coaching system that is the same simulator used by professional drivers, and a corporate meeting room that can flow into the game space for team-building activities like crashing your virtual Ferrari into the a-hole that always interrupts you during staff brainstorming sessions. Sounds like a good time to me!

The opening night celebration included generous samples from the ritzy menu of foodie fare not usually seen in a typical sports bar: Chesapeake crab cakes, black peppercorn shrimp, spring pesto flatbread and N’Awlins Bread Pudding, to name a few. I’d want to eat here even without the option of taking a few laps around the track.

The car racing experience, my first time doing it, had me positioned to race against nine other guys and a secret desire to kick some ass — despite never having done it before — VR race car driving, that is.

After a few minutes of instruction, I was strapped into my seat, feet on the pedals and hands gripping the steering wheel in a 10-2 position. Then we were off. Whooo-wheee! Suffice it to say that despite spinning out a few times, crashing into a few walls and other cars, I still managed to come in sixth. But after two races in a row, I was ready for a break. Racing a Ferrari at the Grand Prix can take a lot out of you – where’s my golden truffle fries?

So next time you’re puttering along a Los Angeles roadway and wondering how many years of your life will be wasted stuck in traffic, imagine yourself doing 200 mph at the Monaco Grand Prix, and then make plans to exorcise your road demons at Base 51.

BASE 51

MON-SAT: 11AM-10PM
SUN: 11AM-6PM

12831 CERISE AVE, #B
HAWTHORNE, CA 90250

(800) 618-1784

Copyright © Kim Calvert/2019 Singular Communications, LLC.

Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful city living.

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