The Wimbledon Of Beach Volleyball Is A Big Beach Party For Locals
For the players, it’s the Wimbledon Of Beach Volleyball. For us fans and locals, it’s a Southern California beach party.
And no place parties on Manhattan Open weekend like Shellback Tavern, the long-standing bar by the beach that’s in full view of the pier and the tournament.
Shellback is the first bar off the beach, the place where the amateur weekend players come in with their backpacks thick with a volleyball towel and t-shirt have a few beers after breaking a sweat out on the sand. During Manhattan Open weekend, it’s common to see the pros in washing down some memories of good points or bad points.
And throughout the three days of the Open, locals pour in and out of the place between games on the beach. They go there for breakfast (which here, means anywhere from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.), lunch and mainly, cold beers. Shellback sees to the latter with a controlled cooling system that keeps draft beers at a cool 28 degrees.
During Manhattan Open weekend, the place is crowded starting at noon, and by late afternoon expect to see a line that reaches a peak around sunset and also later at night.
And for what is really a dive bar – one could spend an hour just gazing at all the stuff on the walls and don’t forget to check out the ceiling! – it has a great variety of draft beers. In addition to Bud and Bud Light it has two Kona Brewing selections (personal favorites, I must add) Longboard Lager and Big Wave, Stella Artois and Widmer wheat
Shellback dates back decades – as so some of its regular patrons – but after sunset in a magnificent scene that can be seen from the bar’s back windows, the age drops as quickly as the sun.
Naturally, a fun town with so many fun residents as you find in Manhattan Beach has more bars than Shellback. Directly across from Shellback is the upscale Strand House. You may pay $8-9 for a beer and $12-15 for a cocktail, but its downstairs bar area is highly popular at night for the well-dressed crowd. During the day and into the evening during the Manhattan Open it’s less refined because, let’s face it, volleyball players are not all that refined.
If you like dives, go around the corner to Ercoles (8th Street and Manhattan Ave). And a couple blocks up Manhattan Beach Blvd., a great casual call is the sports bar Shark’s Cove.
On Saturday, the Bud Light party team will be making the rounds at several MB bars. It starts at Shark’s Cove and 2, then moves onto Hennessey’s, Ercoles and BrewCo.
What, no Shellback you ask? Oh they will be there, celebrating another fun Manhattan Open weekend.