Downtown MB Restaurant Is A Great Place To Enjoy Wine With A View
One of the most pleasant places to spend Happy Hour in the South Bay is at Mangiamo’s, the quaint Italian restaurant just up from the Manhattan Beach Pier.
That’s because it’s a soothing sensation, a relaxing reward at the end of the day, like slipping into a Jacuzzi. Looking at the downtown activity along Manhattan Beach Blvd., with a $4 glass of house wine (upgrades are certainly available), sometimes with a just-completed sunset filling up the sky, is a stress-evaporating experience.
Happy Hour at Mangiamo is like receiving a mental message.
The large window looking out to the street provides the view – I call this the “fish bowl” because it gives one the feeling of looking into one of those large tanks at an aquarium, if not actually being in the aquarium – but the bar itself can be equally entertaining. That’s because conversations with the staff or other patrons can pop up like the cork on another bottle of wine.
From 5-6:30, Monday thru Friday, people trickle in for this exact experience. For much of the year – well, about half of it anyway, certainly now in the winter and heading into spring – the Happy Hour coincides with the timing of the sunset. So you can watch the sunset at the Pier, then enjoy what I call the post-sunset glow with a glass of wine inside Mangiamo. Sometimes, the post-sunset glow is the equal to the actual sunset, and it often lingers for as long as half an hour.
The people who go to Mangiamo are, for the most part, wine connoisseurs. Not wine snobs, mind you, just individuals who enjoy having a few good glasses in a classy place, most often with one good friend. And while it’s certainly beach casual in its attitude, Mangiamo is most definitely a classy place. It’s not a whoop-it-up bar; in fact, management prefers that people not even talk on their cell phones. Texting and Tweeting – my Twitter handle is @barblogger, by the way – is fine.
The bar area is small, so there’s at most a dozen people in it. And frankly, this intimacy is a big part of what makes it so appealing.
What you get are nice, relaxed moments to reflect on life.
And if you’ve lived in the area long enough, in will stride a friend you’ve likely not seen in a while. This in fact happened to me one Monday night in January when longtime buddy Lee sat down, and as we began to chat I learned he’s started a shorts company, running it right of the South Bay. Among the places selling his shorts is a Ritz Carlton hotel. That’s a pretty good beginning for any business! Check out the shorts at oldbullshorts.com.
Another thing I like about Mangiamo’s is the fact that it attracts a lot of single women. They are often in twos, sometimes threes, and they flock to the place as if it’s some kind of secret haven. And in many ways, that’s exactly what it is for them.
On several occasions, I’ve been in there when conversations start up, and try as I might to bring in a wingman, my friends seem to prefer chasing ladies at other places. It’s their loss (and, on a couple of memorable occasions, my gain).
There’s food, too, but don’t expect a Happy Hour cheap meal. The prices will ding the credit card a bit. The least expensive items with meat are a braised short rib quesadilla, grilled tiger prawns (always a good call) and fried calamari at 9 bucks each. Even the mac ‘n cheese is $8. The most popular item – and for good reason – is the tuna tartar – for $11. If you want to make a full meal of it, you’ll need to get two items.
Mangiamo’s is located at 128 Manhattan Beach Blvd.