The Best Drinking Spots At And Around The Pier
Once a hangout for hippies, Harleys and hang-loosers, Hermosa Beach is now the mecca of the South Bay’s social scene. All these bars profiled here are within walking distance and many are within sight distance of one another.
There is one-block, pedestrian-only Pier Ave., possesses a plethora of places and, combined with more bars on Hermosa Ave., it’s a party paradise, right at the beach. And here’s another great thing: all these spots are within walking distance with many are within sight distance.
It’s important to note that the bars must close at 1:30, with last call at 1 a.m. Yes, it’s ridiculously early but it’s why so many people party early, either in the bars or with warm-up drinks at home.
And on weekends, locals start early here, especially on Sundays when people fill up AJ’s, Patrick Molloy’s and Sharkeez for mimosa-filled breakfasts, in which you get bottomless mimosas with breakfast from 9 a.m.-Noon.
Hermosa Beach Pier Bars Reviews
Because the places on the Pier were originally grocery stores, local bars or tiny t-shirt shops, they are small and lines form quickly, so if you want to go out on a weekend – and in Hermosa Beach the weekend starts on Thursdays – you had better be out by 10.
The Hermosa Beach bar scene is friendly, casual and fun.
Every place has Happy Hours – Fenner’s is from opening until 7 p.m., seven days a week, for instance, but there’s no “go to” Happy Hour bar.
The ever-popular Sharkeez is the king of this beach town. Locals call Sharkeez the “Black Hole” because they go in for one cocktail in the afternoon and wind up staying all night.
People go in for lunch, a Happy Hour drink (pretty much everything is 2-for-1 until 7 p.m., M-F) daily drink and menu specials – the food here is quite good and even borders on spectacular for this type of establishment – was sports on any of its ridiculous number of TVs, or just to get down and par-TY!
It’s good any day of the week, pretty much any time of any day of the week.
Sharkeez also owns Fat Face Fanner’s across Pier Plaza. This his a highly popular place with 30-s plus locals on Friday and Saturday nights, in large part because of the acoustic music in the back and bartender Juan at the front bar. (Sharkeez, AJ’s & Molloys, the three most popular places, generally have a 20s crowd, about half of which are people from outside the South Bay.)
The biggest place on the pier is next door, American Junkie. AJ’s as locals call it, has a long bar in an indoor/outdoor area and a second bar inside in what’s more of a restaurant setting.
There’s also a back area with a DJ booth. The crowd here, like most places, gets younger as the night progresses. Like Sharkeez, it has daily drink and food specials and it’s the college football home for Arizona State and Ohio State alumni.
Happy Hours are great here – $3 for any beer or basic cocktail, M-F, 4-7.
Patrick Molloy’s is a clean Irish-ish pub that turns clubby on weekends with house music, lights and dancing. Daytime weekends are at a much more relaxed pace, especially on the patio when crowds gather for post-beach beers, cocktails, enticing appetizers and full lunches or dinners. A daily Happy Hour runs 3-8 with half-priced and food specials that go from $2.95-5.95.
Molloy’s has plenty of plasmas, all-day Happy Hours on Mondays (and the latest M-F Happy Hour as it goes until 8 p.m.) and hosts special events on a regular basis. And then it takes on a whole different personality at night. It’s the best bar in the South Bay on Sunday nights with a non-stop band and Happy Hour drink prices.
The tiki hostess stand in front of Waterman’s says it all: This is a Polynesian party palace. It has a bamboo bar, Hawaii’s own Kona leading about 10 beers on draught, and a very “aloha” vibe that fits in with its surroundings the way surfboards fit in with the waves.
Waterman’s is a beachy paradise. Sundays are particularly lively; there’s a reggae band and a crowd of surfers and locals in shorts and sandals all hangin’ very loose. It begins to rock on 4 on Sundays and goes until about 8.
Anyone still feeling the wave of pressure to stay out should “surf” over to Sharkeez or Molloy’s.
The biggest patio is across Pier Plaza at Hennessey’s Tavern, that also makes sitting inside on a sunny day not a bad thing with booths next to windows that open up to the Strand. It’s also the only place (unfortunately) that has has an upstairs patio, tho it’s small city rules dictate that people be seated to be served.
There’s two other bars on The Strand to mention. One is The Mermaid, a long-standing spot that’s been spiffed up a bit and is very popular. There’s nothing fancy about the place and most people just stand around the bar in conversation but frankly, with a place right on The Strand, what more do you need, right?
The Mermaid has Happy Hour each night until 7, $4 house wines and select drafts plus a “Drink of the Week” for $5. And the drinks here well, the sexy bartenders make the best cocktails in town. It’s also the top Hermosa Beach bar for singles in their 30s.
Another long-standing establishment is The Deck.
Once a dirty dive where Tracy Lords drank when she was making all those less-then-wholesome movies, it’s now owned and operated by the Uncorked wine shop people. It now has cleaner bathrooms, smaller fish in the tanks above the bar, several craft beers on tap and a wine list. It’s the latter that is bringing a different type of crowd than its predecessor.
Hermosa Ave. Bars Reviews
There may be no life east of PCH as longtime locals like to joke, but there sure is plenty of it east of Hermosa Ave. In fact, this two-block area around the bend from the Pier has become a party playground.
Mickey McColigan’s is, unlike Molloy’s and Hennessey’s, ia little more than just an Irish name. It’s all wood decor, has a true “pub” feel to it and with big windows that open to the street there is good afternoon party potential.
It serves no hard alcohol (beer, wine and champagne) and has only a few small TVs, so this is a place to have a few pints and enjoy conversation is a cozy, comfortable bar. It’s on Hermosa Ave., at 8th Street, across from Barnacles.
And speaking of Barnacles, did you know it’s the original location of Fat Face Fenner’s? It’s a great locals’ hangout with a crowd that swells like the outgoing and incoming tide.
The food is good, the atmosphere relaxed and there is sometimes live acoustic music at night. It’s also becoming the top hangout for Hermosa locals who are looking for someplace close to go that’s not on the pier.
On the other side of Pier Ave., sits five bars, one of which is the slick and sexy Establishment (formerly Blue 32). Crowds come in from Thursdays-weekends and anyone out on party patrol Tuesdays and Wednesdays won’t be hurting for activity. It also has very, very good breakfasts.
While Establishment if for loungers and clubbers, the Underground Pub (the main entrance is actually behind Hermosa Ave., at 15th St.) is for pubbers. The Underground Pub is not underground as in an underground dance club, but underground as in the London subway system. This is actually two bars in one – a sports-themed pub with a pool table and plenty of plasmas one one side and a fun lounge lounge called the Chelsea Pub on the other.
The Underground is cozy but can get quite crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. Chelsea Pub, with “the twins” behind the bar. has large booths and couches with dancing to hip Euro-style music that’s subtle enough to be able to carry on a conversation. Thursdays are “pint nights” at The Underground; buy a 22-ounce mug for a buck and then get a Bud or Bud Light for just $3 or a Stella for $4.
Walk between the two bars for the true pubs and club experience without leaving the building! With its trio of huge plasma TVs, great food and hearty breakfasts, this “combo club” is a good place to start or finish the day. Both places have a casual attitude; Chelsea has more of a club feel to it with the music and even dancing, but it’s hardly a club.
Just behind all this, on Monterey and Pier, is an elegant restaurant and bar (with a bit of funky feel; Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise did some of the wall painting), called Abigaile.
If you want to cut lose a little more, then go upstairs where Ocean Club remains unchanged. The views from either of the two patios are among the best in Hermosa.
Further down on Hermosa Ave., at first street, under the blue awning is one of the South Bay’s great dive bars, the Hermosa Beach Yacht Club.
It’s known for its big beers in schooners, served by sultry and sexy bartenders, a fun jukebox and great food; the place has some of the best burgers in all of L.A., served with its signature HBYC chips. Ymmm!
Hermosa Beach Live Music Venues Reviews
The South Bay’s nightlife was originated around its live music venues. From the 1040s through the 1960s, the The Lighthouse Cafe was known throughout the world as one of the top jazz clubs in the country.The place looks as if it’s not changed since, and bands still play on its old stage seven days a week.
The South Bay is currently a major player in LA’s music scene. Pennywise is from Hermosa Beach. The top bar for live music is Saint Rocke (2nd Street and PCH, away from the pier) with bands each night (cover charges range from $10-15 and sometimes more if a bigger name is playing).
By the beach, each Friday and Saturday great mostly local bands rock Standing Room. Unlike Saint Rocke there’s never a cover here, so you can just roll in and you’ll find a very lively scene, a happening crowd mostly in their 30s and hip lighting of the stage areas.
You can also hear music for free at Waterman’s on Sunday afternoons, Patrick Molloy’s on Sunday nights and acoustic performances at Hennessey’s on most Saturday evenings and sometimes other nights.
And while it’s not in Hermosa it’s in close enough proximity to mention here; there’s a band Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Naja’s, a dive beer bar on the Redondo Beach Pier and also a little further down at The Slip.
HERMOSA BEACH BAR LOCATIONS ON LOWER PIER AVE (310)
• Sharkeez, 52 Pier Ave. (310) 374-7823.
• Hennessey’s, 8 Pier Ave., 372-5759
• Mermaid, 11 Pier Ave., 374-9344
• Patrick Molloy’s, 50 Pier Ave., 798-9762
• The Deck (1272 The Strand), 376-3223
• American Junkie, 60 Pier Ave., 376-4412
• Watermans, 22 Pier Ave, 372-4482
– HERMOSA BEACH BAR LOCATONS ON HERMOSA AVE. –
• Underground Pub (entrance in alley) and Chelsea Lounge. 1332 Hermosa Ave. (Entrance in the alley), 318-3818
• Establishment, 1332 Hermosa Ave.
• Abigale/Ocean Bar., 1301 Manhattan Ave., 798-8227
• Standing Room, 1320 Hermosa Ave., 318-1272
• Hermosa Beach Yacht Club, 66 Hermosa Ave., 376-6767