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Carmel Valley residents transformed a car dealership into a new event venue, Del Mar Social

Del Mar Social owners Audrey Brand and Ayal Abed.
Del Mar Social owners Audrey Brand and Ayal Abed.
(Karen Billing)

Carmel Valley residents Ayal Abed and Audrey Brand have opened a new event venue in Sorrento Valley with Del Mar Social. Formerly the pre-owned car dealership Del Mar Motor Cars, it is now an open-air warehouse-style event space with a custom bar and outdoor seating.

“This is our happy space,” said Abed, a Carmel Valley resident for more than 20 years who owns and operates the venue with Brand, a Torrey Pines High School graduate.

Even when the space was still a car dealership, it was a place for fun. For 15 years, a group of friends met every Thursday in the “Man Cave” in the back with its big screen TV, neon lights and fully stocked bar—“We’d cook, play music, just talk and laugh,” said Abed. “And it’s still going.”

During the pandemic, everything changed for the vehicle business: there were shortages and dropping sales. Shifting gears, last November Abed and Brand decided to pursue transforming the space into an event venue instead.

They knew how much they enjoyed their time in the space and knew others would enjoy it too. The conversion was completely a friends-and-family effort, which Abed said makes it even more special.

The bar in Del Mar Social.
(Karen Billing)

Since opening, Del Mar Social has become a venue for birthday parties and concerts, corporate meetings and celebrations of life. The space is used for business meetings and social meet-ups, members can pop in as long as the Social doesn’t have an event going.

When they first started, they simply created a website and business built through word of mouth—Brand said from nearly every event, a guest has booked another event.

The space can be changed up with curtains, stages and screens; furniture can be switched up and moved indoors or out. A curtain kit conceals the neighboring building and parking lot so when guests are outside, all they can see are the scenic bluffs and foliage above the valley.

One inside wall features Instagrammable lights and greenery while a 1970s Toyota Land Cruiser is parked in one corner, a nod to the space’s roots. The Man Cave and its bar also remain as an available amenity for events.

A kitchen can provide catering and Del Mar Social helps completely plan events for clients: “We take care of everything,” Brand said of their all-inclusive services.

Abed said Brand was great in her role at the car dealership but he thinks this was the business she was born to do, with her customer service and event-planning expertise.

“There’s not a lot of this type of place in Carmel Valley,” Abed said. “We feel the community needed something like this, to have something close, it’s not a long trek, it’s right in your backyard.”

Del Mar Social is also committed to giving back to the community. After an event held in their space, they have partnered with Escondido’s Warrior Resource Project to help provide vehicle donations to families in need, using Abed’s connections in the industry.

“This, in my opinion, is the best switch we could’ve done,” Abed said. “We’re enjoying every event that comes here.”

Del Mar Social is located at 3444 Tripp Court, Suite A. To learn more or book an event, visit delmarsocial.com

The Del Mar Social event space.
(Karen Billing)
The Del Mar Social space.
(Karen Billing)


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