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 to get the night rolling and if it’s Friday THE place to start is Tower 12. Sure, the Happy Hour with it’s great food & drink specials ends at 6 but the great-looking crowd make this the quintessential Southern California beach lifestyle 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.
The biggest place on the pier is 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 a basic cocktail, 4-7 Mondays thru Thursdays and until 9 on Fridays.
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 3-7 – and all-night on Sunday with live music starring at 5 – 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 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 the non-stop band and Happy Hour.
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 places on The Strand to mention. One is the long-standing establishment, The Deck
Once a dirty dive called the Poop Deck 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.
The other is Slaters 50/50 burgers, which is a burger and craft beer restaurant and bar. It’s in the location of what for decades was a Hermosa Beach bar landmark, The Mermaid. Slaters has spots to sit by windows to watch the action on The Strand right in front of you and a side patio.
Hermosa Ave. Bars Reviews
There may be no life east of PCH as longtime locals like to joke, but is some of it along Hermosa Hermosa Ave. In fact, this two-block area around the bend from the Pier is somewhat of an alternate Pier Plaza party playground.
PubClub’s favorite place is Barnacles, a locals’ dive bar with strong drinks poured by feisty-fun bartenders. 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.
The Underground Pub is not underground as in an underground dance club, but underground as in the London subway system.
There are 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 tho is gets quite crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. Chelsea Pub, home of a large contingency of transplanted Philadelphia Eagles fans – has large booths and couches with dancing to hip Euro-style music that’s subtle enough to be able to carry on a conversation.
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. 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.
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 Area Code)
• 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
• Tower 12, 53 Pier Ave., 379-6400
– HERMOSA BEACH BAR LOCATIONS 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
• Hermosa Beach Yacht Club, 66 Hermosa Ave., 376-6767