Landmark Dive Bar Was A Beach Cities Institution On The Strand
I wish it were an April Fool’s joke.
But the only joke here is what’s going in its place.
The Deck bar – for many of its years it was Poop Deck and many locals still call it that – in Hermosa Beach, CA, is closed for good on April 1, 2021. Taking its place: a convenience store.
It’s bad enough that the South Bay is losing one of its few bars right on The Strand but not to have another drinking establishment in its place is a blow that is hard to swallow. All we have now is Hennessey’s and Slater’s 50/50, which is nothing at all like its long-time predecessor, the Mermaid.
Heck, I’m still not over La Playita moving 20-something years ago off The Strand to a place hidden behind a tiny dirt park.
The Poop Deck (see I still call it that, too) was on The Strand in Hermosa for some 60 years. It had a dark inside and a kind of rundown patio in the back.
In its pre-The Deck years, it had a tiny fish tank above the bar with some very large fish in it, swimming from one end to the other. The only beer on tap was Budweiser and a couple dozen locals would start their weekends with 25-cent beers until the keg blows on Friday afternoons.
The Poop Deck was touched by celebrity, too. But not of the Hollywood kind but the Woodland Hills variety. Legend has it that Tracy Lords would hang out there in the afternoons after making her movies.
Once the wine-loving owners from Uncorked took over, they cleaned up the place (including the fish tank), added wines and more draft beers to the menu, brought in bands and had a free popcorn machine.
They did not, however, change the ambiance of the place, much to their credit.
I could not count how many games of flip cup took place on the back deck, nor how many beers were consumed during the AVP beach volleyball and Smackfest weekends.
You walked in wearing your volley shorts, tank top and flip flops or – if you’re a girl – your bikini.
“Why do they call it the poop deck?,” a visiting friend asked while standing on the back patio during her first visit to the South Bay. At that very moment, as if one cue from a movie director, a seagull answered her question by leaving its mark in her hair. (Actually the name referred to spot on a ship but getting pooped on while standing on the bar’s deck was way more appropriate. And funny.)
And now it will be some type of grocery store and deli.
Sad. So sad.