Long Beach Bars
Downtown to Belmont Shore, A Guide to the City's Best Bars
There's tons of fun in the bars of Long Beach,as these partiers show in the Auld Dubliner.
By KevinWilkerson, PubClub.com
There is a roar down by the shore, and it's happening all over Long Beach.
California's sixth-largest city may be part of the bigger whole of L.A., but there is a whole lot of action happening right here.
They pour it on with the fun in Long Beach's best bars. Photo: Jackleming.com
Long Beach is nearly as diverse as Los Angeles. It has a beach – a long one, and that's not just a pun – combined with a hip mentality, a population of beach-minded bar-goers, lounge lizards and younger clubbers who hang out at places on lower Pine and upper Pine downtown, as well as Belmont Shore just down the shore.
Each April, Long Beach hosts the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It has been going on for a whopping 40 years and, in addition to the actual race, there are free concerts, extreme sports demonstrations, the Miss Grand Prix girls and packed bars. In short, it's a happening. The 2014 race was April 11-13.
Speaking of sporting events, Long Beach also hosts an America's Cup type of sailing event called the Congressional Cup. It involves big, colorful sailboats racing for the oldest match racing prize in the sport. The best viewing spot is the Belmont Pier, where there are concessions, including Stella Artois and other beers. Its 2014 dates were April 7-13.
In October, there's the annual Long Beach Marathon. It starts and finishes on Shoreline Drive and includes landmarks such as the Queen Mary, Rainbow Harbor, the Belmont Pier and Long Beach State. Plus, there's a Michelob Ultra beer garden at he finish line!
Long Beach bars have those dreamy California girls.
There is also a college here, Long Beach State, which produces some pretty good PR people and an endless supply of fun-seeking students.
Downtown Bars, Shoreline and the Pike Nightlife
Downtown Long Beach means Pine Ave., with its collection of restaurants, peppered with a few bars and shops. Just about every place has a patio, and diners enjoy late-night dinners that give the place a European atmosphere. This is a remarkably rare experience in Los Angeles.
Further down on Pine is the Pike, an area of restaurants, bars and sightseeing tour boats.
Her name is Precious and she indeed is precious at the Mai Tai bar.
For fun in Long Beach's Pike, follow the tiki torches. They lead to the Mai Tai Bar, which not only makes a good one but sells them in pint glasses for $4 during a special evening happy hour (8-11 p.m.). This comfortable sit-down bar with a cozy lanai overlooks the harbor just invites aloha shirts and sandals.
The staff has the all-important Aloha Spirit,, the crowd is among the best-looking in Long Beach and it gets younger by the hour. It is, in the words of one patron, "the kind of place where you would come for a couple of drinks after work and stay all night." The menu is primarily pupus – $5 from 4-7 nightly – is accompanied by live music and there is never a cover.
It's a party at PubClub.com's favorite Long Beach bar, the Auld Dubliner.
The crowd is very casual, at least until about 11. That's when it turns over to more of a club crowd scene – complete with lineup at the door. Pubbers may want to consider walking to the Auld Dubliner at this point, while Clubbers will fell right at home.
Fun times and a fun girl in downtown Long Beach.
The Auld Dubliner around the corner is a cozy Irish pub that's a good place for a downtown pint. We're not alone in this observation – it's where to find the waiters, waitresses and bartenders from the adjacent restaurants after midnight.
If you give a hoot about sports – and girls – check out Hooters in Long Beach.
The Long Beach Hooters has relocated from Pine to the Pike and it has one of the biggest TVs to be found anywhere showing sports (the University of Nebraska alumni crowd the place on fall Saturdays). For those who go in just for a beer or two and wind up not wanting to leave because you've scored a table with a smokin' waitress and suddenly need to eat, don't overlook the grouper sandwich here; it's quite tasty, especially for Hooters.
The patio at The Yardhouse in Shoreline Village is relaxing any sunny afternoon. The view of the marina is calming and while it's a bit short on socializing opportunities it serves well as a group gathering spot (do resist all temptations to order the nachos). Inside, the bar is wrapped around near endless taps serving beers from around the globe. It is not really a nighttime destination, however.
Another restaurant which has a patio with a view is Gladstone's. The portions here are huge, and so is the view from the patio. It's adjacent to the Pine Ave. Pier and offers good afternoon and evening lunch, dinner and cocktailing. The Happy Hour here rocks, with half-priced appetizers and beer such as the tasty Kona Longboard going for just $3. Happy Hour is in the bar area only, from 4-7 p.m.
For live music, Blue Cafe is one of the top blues bars on the West Coast. It's where the musicians want to play. It has moved from its location on the Promenade to 217 Pine Ave.
Down in Belmont Shore (keep reading) is a spot called Shannon's Bay Shore. But now, one does not need to leave downtown to go to Shannon's for there is one right on Pine Ave. And the crowd is just as funky; this is a fun, "anything goes" place so let the hair down and check the inhibitions at the door. It's good for sports and great for drinks – a Stella beer is just $5 here!
A popular spot is the relatively new restaurant/bar Wokano. It has Happy Hour with drinks sushi and appetizers for $3 and up from 3-7 Monday-Friday and a late-night Happy Hour with drink specials, 10 p.m.-midnight Sunday-Thursday.
Long Beach also has lots of conventions and business activities. As a result, the lobby bars at the various hotels – Westin, Renaissance, Hyatt and Hilton – can be a source of lively socializing.
Downtown Long Beach Dance Clubs
Hot Go Go dancers at Cafe Sevilla are Long Beach's answer to Las Vegas. Photo: Jackleming.com
The party is ON at Long Beach's downtown dance clubs. Photo: Jackleming.com
On upper Pine, Cafe Sevilla looks out onto the street from an ideal perch. Its patio and lower level greets diners and, later, salsa fans.
Upstairs, Cafe Sevilla's ample space provides for plenty of dancing and drinking, and people pack in here for both. Go-Go dancers add to the aura, the DJ cranks it from an elevated booth and the place pumps.
Cohiba Club, atop the Mum's, is a cigar bar disguised as an upscale dance club. While the guys shoot stick and puff up in a traditional cigar club, the rest of the crowd gets crazy on the dance floor in the next room.
New club competition comes from from Ice. Located where the music venue Vault 350 was housed for many years, it's too soon to tell what its future holds. But it certainly got off to a good start with a rocking opening party.
Mariposa is a hot Latino-focused club with salsa music in a much smaller venue than the clubs mentioned above; in fact it's a restaurant that becomes a hangout and dance bar on the more casual side.
Belmont Shore Bars
The really fun party place in Long Beach is in Belmont Shore.
There are always smiles when going out in fun and lively Belmont Shore.
PubClub.com once used this space for its Belmont Shore bar reviews, but has now expanded that into a separate article, which you can find right here. But here's a quick rundown:
The bars are Panama Joe's (run by Sharkeez); the traditional dive beer joint the Acapulco Inn, or "the A.I." to locals; Shannon's BayShore a dive with an edge; the sports bar with a hot nightlife scene Legends; the relatively tame Irish pub Murphy's and the sort-of casual club Shore Ulra Lounge, which is a short distance away from Belmont Shore at 2nd and PCH.
And we'll leave you with this jewel. A great way to start a day in Long Beach is go a bit further South to the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway for brunch and a beer at the Schooner or Later along the marina.
Long Beach has the second-largest gay population in L.A. Ripples, on the corner of Granada Ave. and Ocean, is primarily lesbian. Ripples. Club Broadway, also on Broadway, is another lesbian bar.