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

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

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

Even when the space was still a car dealership, it was a place to have fun. For 15 years a group of friends met every Thursday in the ‘Man Cave’ out back with its big screen TV, neon lights and fully stocked bar – ‘We cooked, played music, talked and laugh,” Abed said. “And it continues.”

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

They knew how much they enjoyed their time in space and knew that others would enjoy it too. The conversion was entirely an effort of friends and family, which Abed says makes it even more special.

Del Mar Social’s bar.

(Karen Billing)

Since its opening, Del Mar Social has become a place for birthday parties and concerts, corporate meetings and celebrations of life. The space is used for business meetings and social gatherings, members can come as long as the social does not have an event going on.

When they started, they simply created a website and a business built by word of mouth. Brand said that for almost every event, a guest has booked another event.

The space can be modified with curtains, stages and screens; furniture can be changed and moved inside or outside. A curtain kit conceals the neighboring building and parking lot. So when guests are outside, all they can see are the scenic cliffs and foliage above the valley.

An interior 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 available equipment for events.

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

Abed said Brand was excellent in her role at the car dealership, but he believes it was the job she was born to do, with her customer service and event planning expertise.

“There aren’t many places like this in Carmel Valley,” Abed said. “We think the community needed something like this, to have something nearby, it’s not a long way, it’s just in your backyard.”

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

“This, in my opinion, is the best change we could have made,” Abed said. “We appreciate 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.

The Del Mar Social event space.

(Karen Billing)

The Del Mar social space.

The Del Mar social space.

(Karen Billing)