At Least Local Legends Shellback Tavern and Ercoles Remain Unchanged
There’s Shellback Tavern, basically unchanged over the years, except for more AVP memorabilla on the walls, a big painted mural of the pier on the wall and a silver box by the bar with digital numbers, which is a beer-cooling devise that keeps draughts at a thirst-quenching 28.6 degrees.
The oldest bar in Manhattan Beach, Ercoles, remains anchored on Manhattan Ave. It’s where the city’s singles meet and mingle after midnight and still has the Best Burgers in L.A. (And they are 2-for-1 on Wednesday nights!)
But there’s a lot more that this person (let’s say a former resident who spent a considerable amount of his or her time losing brain cells at such establishments) would not recognize. The Manhattan Beach bar scene has changed the past few years and there’s even more in store for the small city’s nightlife.
The most significant difference is taking place in North Manhattan Beach (or, as locals prefer to refer to it, El Porto). Sharkeez, the college/sports/locals bar that spawned several sister locations throughout Southern California (as well as a heck of a lot of good times and memories) is moving into, get this, Harry O’s!
That’s right, Sharkeez is relocating into what long-time locals once referred to as “scary ‘hoes.” Most recently, it was Upper Manhattan.
And Beaches is no longer Beaches. It’s becoming a dance, eat and drink bar owned by Mike Zislas, whom many know as the proprietor who brought fresh-brewed beer to the city several years ago with the Manhattan Beach Brewing Company. Oh, and that place has now been renamed BrewCo. Zislas has also opened an upscale Mexican restaurant/bar called Mucho plus Shade Hotel and its Zinc Lounge But his Rock ‘n Fish remains and he celebrates its legacy when it was Habachi each November with half-priced Navy Grogs.
Manhattan Coolers is now Shark’s Cove and while Hennessey’s is still Hennessey’s, a bunch of wall-builders invaded the place and put up a wall of sorts between the diners and the drinkers. This used to be the best place to mingle, leaning over the chest-high rail to start conversations with singes of the opposite sex sitting at a table. There’s no crowd anytime anymore there anyway (and don’t we all miss those dollar draft nights on Thursdays!?).
There is a good new addition to the scene, a nice craft beer bar called Simmzy’s that is hugely popular because it not only has a large selection of draughts and good food but also something resembling a patio for seating (this is a rarity in MB, unfortunately).
The wild times at 12th Street (there were enough brain cells left in that place on Sundays to solve the world’s energy problems) are simi-wild at Twelve+Highland. But H2O is long gone, replaced by both an Italian sandwich place and a sushi restaurant. Even the liquor store on the corner of Manhattan Beach Blvd., is gone, replaced by a showroom for Sketchers shoes.
And for anyone who goes way back, the Australian Bisto – a place so wild people danced on tables and they gave you an oil can of beer when you walked in the place – is now an Italian restaurant called Mamma D’s. Heck if you really go back, then you’ll remember LaPaz, the wildest bar in the history of Manhattan Beach (Hmm, new story idea!)
Back up in El Porto (er, North Manhattan) Pancho’s is still cranking away with great local bands covering rock tunes (Carey Carloff is long gone but Jim Wheeler is still on sax and when Little Jimmy is on guitar the place is jumping). Across the street, OB’s is still there and still packs ’em in for Taco Tuesday.
Of course, all the current spots are on PubClub.com’s bar & nightlife guide to Manhattan Beach.
So, while some thing never change in this cool little beach town in LA’s South Bay, other things are definitely changing.