A Band & Sensational Crowd Make This A Popular South Bay Weekend Bar Hangout
It is a late Sunday afternoon in Hermosa Beach, California, one of the small beach communities in Los Angeles.
The sun is beginning its daily decent into the blue Pacific Ocean, beach volleyball games are wrapping up and several of the area’s singles are making their way to Tower 12, a fashionable bar on Hermosa’s Pier Plaza.
Already home of the best Friday Happy Hour in the area, Tower 12 is making a push to be if not THE “go-to” place in the Beach Cities on a Sunday night then one of its top destinations. Tower 12 has an acoustic band in the back and a sensational South Bay crowd everywhere, something straight out of Central Casting for a Hollywood movie at the beach (and a better one than “La La Land,” which was filmed in Hermosa).
The place is crowded (tho not packed; you’ll have to wait a few minutes in a line), with the kind of people others not from here visualize when they think about Southern California beach life and beach bars. For example, within 30 seconds of walking up the stairs, I said “oh MY,” four times at head-turning girls and I nearly lost my balance.
I suspect the girls would say the same about the guys in this place, tho I’m no expert on that subject.
The band on the night I went in for this review consisted of a dynamic keyboard player, a guitarist and a long-haired, head-tilting lead singer who softly sang songs such as the Allman Brothers’ “Sweet Melissa.”
The back bar was busy with a good mix of people whom I know with the typical South Bay “hey there” casualness (you know not their names, only their faces), friends and people I had never before seen or met.
At the front bar, there were a few hard-core Sunday drinkers (easy to spot, they are the ones sitting on stools by the bar dressed in tank tops), a few couples (easy to spot, they are the ones sitting at the tables overlooking Pier Plaza) and 20-to-30s singles.
All in all, it’s a great scene and the superb layout of Tower 12 allows for maximum viewing opportunities while also bringing in the light and refreshing Hermosa Beach ocean breeze.
The one drawback came when I went to the bar. It cost $10 for a beer!
Actually it was $9 but of course with the tip it became $10. It was nothing special, either, a simple Maui Blonde lager. As I only had the beer I didn’t ask the price of a cocktail, such as Tower 12’s superb margarita, but I suspect it’s at least $12, if not $14. I must point out that I’ve had other beers in the much more agreeable $7-7-50 range.
At first thought, one might question the wisdom of charging $9 for a beer when 10 yards away you can get one for $3 – also with live music, the popular WISE – at Patrick Molloy’s, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years in the South Bay, it’s never to question the wisdom of those running Sharkeeez and its sister bars like Tower 12.
I quickly concluded that if one wants a $3 beer and a more intense party atmosphere, then by all means go to Molloy’s. If you want a more mild but none-the-less intoxicating scene with mellow live music that doesn’t drown out your conversations, then go to Tower 12.
Or, do as many do in the South Bay – simply go to both.
Tower 12 Address & Map: 53 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA