From The Redondo Beach 10K To The South Bay Bars To A House Party, It Was A Long And Fun Day
We were laughing it up in a cut-loose dive bar with no plan for the future, just living in the moment.
The day was Super Bowl Sunday and the location was the VFW bar in Redondo Beach, CA. I was on my fifth or sixth beer, I had already run six miles and spent two hours in a sun-splashed beer garden on the sand that was more like a huge beach party.
Everyone I had encountered was smiling, laughing and acting silly. I was having one of my best Super Bowl Sundays of all time.
And it was just past noon. The game wasn’t going to start for another three hours!
Super Bowl Sunday is awesome in the Los Angeles Beach Cities of Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo Beach. In 2013, my day’s journey took me to all three places, from a beach to bars to a house party, and involved exercise and a lot of socializing.
The day started, as it usually does for the Super Bowl, with the annual 10K in Redondo Beach. This is what is known as a fun run, meaning most of the participants do it more for kicks than exercise. Several run in costumes, some just stroll with boomboxes and even pause along the way, and at the end Michelob Ultra hosts a beer garden on a beach. During the race, someone shouts out at almost ever marker, “Only four more miles to free beer!” “Only three more miles to free beer!”
I actually can’t wait that long, and always peel off the course in Riviera Village to have a pint (or two) at Hennessey’s. This used to be a huge tradition for many runners; as many as 30 would pack the place all during the race. Now, I’m about the only one who does it, although this year I was joined by my friend “Joz.”
I had a Stella Artois and it was ice cold, which revived me because while I’m in easy 10K shape, the warm weather had me struggling for the first three miles. After the beer, I emerged refreshed. The sun was shining and the day was gorgeous. Right out of bar, the course runs along the Pacific Ocean and it’s an easy three miles to the finish line. My time was 1:12:15, and that included the beer stop. Plus time to pose for a pair of photos with Joz on the Esplanade.
By the time I got to the beer garden it was already packed. I grabbed my two free Michelob Ultras and joined the party. The weather was perfect – sunny and in the 70s – and I had several “cheers” with just about everyone in the beer garden. The atmosphere was electric!
“If they had a big screen in here for the game, I would never leave” a friend remarked. It’s a great idea!
Eventually the beer garden began to thin out but I didn’t want to leave. It was sunny, I was on a beach (well, sand in a lagoon anyway) I kept being handed beers. Strangers would just come by and say “I have an extra, you want it” and hand it to me. Michelob Ultra, the low-carb brew, is the perfect beer for this event because you don’t get too filled up and it has more flavor than a light beer.
I never wanted to leave. In fact, my fiend and I were the last ones TO leave! To check out more photos and a beer garden review; click here.
We then made a “veterans” move among South Bay partiers and went to the VFW.
It’s just a few blocks up the street and while there were only a dozen or so people in it, they were rocking the joint! The beer prices are like a college bar – a Stella and two Jell-O shots cost just $4 – and the bartender was encouraging us to party. He even made shots to help us along, as if we needed any help in that department. Turns out, the bartender is a multi-time winner of the Hermosa Beach Ironman, so we have nothing on him in the party department.
Someone from the race had brought in boxes of bananas, which somehow added to the comedy of the moment.
So we all took the bananas, put them in our bicycle baskets, and rolled a few blocks down the street to the Hermosa Beach Yacht Club. This is one place that most definitely does not live up its name. It’s a dirty old bar that somehow manages to employ really hot and sassy bartenders.
I actually began to bond with one of them after the shift change – hope she e-mails me! – and got a great photo of the other one.
After a few fun beers at HYBC, we continued north. A friend knew of a house party not too far from where we live in North Manhattan Beach. But first, we stopped off at a bar. Of course!
We rolled into OB’s, where we had more beers. By this time, the game had started but we didn’t care.
The house party was awesome. It was actually catered and not only that, one of the caterers was a former bartender from the good ‘ol party days in Manhattan Beach. Back when 12th Street was the prime summer party place on Sundays.
I was having so much fun talking to him and others that I paid no attention the game. Missed Beyonce’s sizzling halftime show. All the commercials.
Even the blackout!
I did manage to see the last play of the game – a holding flag should have been called on the Ravens – before we left (by now there were only three of us from our original crew of half a dozen). And guess where we went – that’s right, a nightcap at another bar!
We went into FishBar, which was pretty quiet and it proved to be the perfect way to wind down and catch our collective breaths.
And all I can say now is wow, what a super day in the South Bay!