A Guide To The Downtown Stroll – And The Bars!
It’s a party. And in this town, would anyone expect anything else?
There is a band in the street, shops which normally sell dresses and hair products are serving adult beverages and thousands of people look forward to it each and every year.
It’s the annual Holiday Open House in downtown Manhattan Beach (Wednesday, Nov. 18 in 2015), an evening stroll through the shops and stores of this beachside city that is designed to showcase the merchants of the downtown area. The event runs from 6-9 p.m., starring with the lighting of the Pier.
And while many stroll with strollers, for the several single people of the South Bay,it’s a prime party experience, the best Wednesday night of the whole year. Held the Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving, it’s a festive feast not of food, but of fun.
There are carolers singing on the sidewalks, there’s live entertainment at Metlox Plaza from 6-8 p.m., the streets are blocked off, and there’s even a band at Manhattan Ave., and MB Blvd. If this doesn’t get you in the Holiday mood, you’re a real Scrooge!
The shops become bars, of sorts, several of them pouring wine, champagne or, on occasion, cocktails, in small plastic cups. It is, as any savvy local knows, the eventual volume of those small plastic cups that makes it a party.
There’s great camaraderie among not only current friends, but new ones, as well, for the fun single people bond when running into other people and inquire about whether this store or that store is serving alcohol. A sure sign of a “yes” is how crowded a place is; see people and go into it because most likely libations are being served.
The trend the past couple of years has been that the shops along the blocked-off Manhattan Ave., from Manhattan Beach Blvd., to 8th Street, are the most fun places. It’s also on the corner where a band plays and there is a reindeer at the end of the stroll.
The event beings for many singles and many of the local bars. Try Zinc Lounge at the Shade Hotel Shade’s sister establishment, Rock ‘n Fish, is packed afterward, due in large part to the fact it sells its signature Navy Grogs for $4.50, a annual celebration of its November anniversary. A third place by the same owners is Mucho.
Other lively bars include Strand House, and the dive bars Ercoles and Shellback Tavern. The latter is especially popular during the lighting of the Pier, which takes place at 7 p.m.
Holiday Open House runs from 6-9 p.m.