By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Nightlife Blogger
When I go out in Hermosa Beach, CA, I’m presented with a plethora of options in nightlife, from neighborhood pubs to small and lively places by the beach to live music venues and a nice new lounge.
So picking a Top 5 took some time to create, and it was cultivated only after months and months of careful consideration. And, of course, plenty of research!
These are the places I go to first, where I want to meet friends and where I take visiting friends among the many bars in this Los Angeles beach town. I base my rankings on the venue, the staff and of course the people that go into it. After all, you can have a great bar but if there’s no people in it, it’s no fun.
I do have to admit that I lean to casual, even dive, bars neighborhood over the more “scene” ones. Tho there are exceptions to that general philosophy because there are times I like to be – and thrive in – a good nightlife scene.
This article covers bar in Hermosa Beach, bars on the Hermosa Beach Pier (actually, Pier Plaza more accurately), my picks for the best bars in Hermosa Beach and Hermosa Beach bars and restaurants.
1.) Tower 12
This new lounge-style bar in a familiar old location is not only nice but so is the crowd. It’s mid-20s to late 30s, primarily semi-upscale locals with some of the most handsome men (so the girls tell me anyway) and prettiest girls in any South Bay bar. The drinks are very good – it has the best margarita in the Beach Cities – and the food is borderline gourmet, among the places serving some of the best food in Hermosa Beach. Combine this with this good-looking crowd and this is a as good as it gets here. And when it comes to Friday Happy Hour, then then Tower 12 zooms to the top of this list.
2.) Barnacles Bar
This is a neighborhood bar two blocks south of the Pier (on 10th and Hermosa Ave.) that’s just the kind of locals’ hangout that almost puts it #1 on my list. I nearly always meet some interesting local – people seem to have their “nightlife guard” down in here more so than in other places and I can’t tell you how many times a stop in for one or two drinks winds up lasting a couple of hours. You can get a basic mixed drink for $5 and the food is good, too.
3.) North End
This bar is pretty much identical to Barnacles in that it’s a neighborhood bar that keep you in there even when you only intended to go in for one or two drinks. The bartenders are great, friendly and it’s so crowded on weekend nights there’s a line and a guy at the door. But folks, it’s worth the wait! North End is in the north end of Hermosa Beach on the Manhattan-Hermosa border across from El Gringo.
4.) Agave Azul Kitchen & Tequila Bar
This is a cool and cool-looking bar on Hermosa Ave., because of it blue lighting. Agaze Azul is a blend of casual bar and “scene” bar, which makes it an ideal place for like-minded PubClubbers. On fall weekends, it hosts game-watching parties for South Bay’s Los Angels Chargers fans. Fans of all teams are welcome, of course.
5.) American Junkie
This is the biggest bar on Pier Plaza and is kind of like three bars in one, the main patio-style area, a side bar that’s like a restaurant and then an area in the back where DJs and sometimes bands play. AJ has the best Happy Hour deals in the South Bay (M-Thursday 3-7 and 3-9 on Fridays all its draft beers, even the good ones, and mixed drinks are just $3 and the $5 Supreme pizza on Thursdays is delicious), there are huge TVs to watch sports and there’s usually some lively patrons in there drinking or watching games or just hanging out in there. Plus, I must admit, I always like to check out Junkie because it has several good-looking bartenders and it’s always worth a peek to see which ones are working that night. Hey, I’m a guy!
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Molloy’s on Sunday nights with its $3 beers and live music is THE place to be in the South Bay that night of the week. And, of course, there is always the “old reliable” Sharkeez. Locals refer to it as the Black Hole because it’s easy to go in for one two drinks and not emerge until after last call.