Live Music, Dive Bars, Beers And The Old Tony’s Fire Chief
Sometimes, the South Bay party people want a change of scenery from the bars on the Hermosa Beach Pier and Manhattan Beach.
But heaven forbid they would ever leave the “South Bay Bubble!” Heck no, they just travel (usually by bike) about two miles south of Hermosa to Redondo Beach.
Their destination is the Pier, a somewhat gritty area that doesn’t exactly have the visually perfect Southern California crowd of suntanned surfers and bikini bodies.
Instead, it’s more ethnic families pushing strollers.
But, on sunny weekend afternoons, the bikes roll down from Hermosa and Manhattan and other parts of Redondo and converge on places like Naja’s and Old Tony’s. And now, there’s Barney’s Beanery for sports, food and just hangin’ loose.
Sometimes, if they’ve had enough Fire Chiefs while watching sunset from Old Tony’s “crow’s nest,” they hang around to have a few beers and hear a band at Starboard Attitude.
Redondo Beach Pier Bars Reviews
Most locals arrive at the Redondo Pier on bicycles and there’s looking for a place to have a few drinks before turning back north to Manhattan and Hermosa.
So they stop at one or even two of the three mostly beer bars along the lower pier so-called International Boardwalk.
The biggest of these is Naja’s, which has been there forever. people are rewarded with 77 beers on tap and, they claim, 777 in bottles.
Certainly, it has a huge variety and the servers know about every one of them. Suffice to say you won’t leave thirsty. It’s 10 bucks for a large and hardly anyone gets the regular-sized pints. They also have pitchers.
On weekends Naja’s has bands of the “the more you drink the better we sound” kind like the Land Sharks, which of course sound pretty darned good after a while.
Naja’s is true to its surroundings in that like the Pier itself, it is largely worn down by age. And so, too, are some of its regular patrons. And like too many places in the Beach Cities, Naja’s has a roof over it, so you can’t sit outside on a sunny day by the water and drink your beer(s).
Still, sometimes it’s hard to leave Naja’s. Eventually a small group of friends becomes a bigger group of friends and that planned “one or two beers” turns into several beers.
Now there are two other places to hit, new in the summer of 2015, King Harbor Brewing and The Slip.
King Harbor Brewing is a tasting room for the local Torrance craft brewery. It has an open-air feel to it, which is quite an accomplishment in this location, and rotates a half dozen of its beers in for full pours.
It has food brought in from its neighbor, The Slip. This is a full bar with live acoustic music that’s owned by several people that several people know in the South Bay. So walking in there is like walking into a friend’s living room.
The Slip has cocktails, more than a dozen craft beers on tap and several more in bottles. But it’s the crowd – late 20s to late 30s locals, most of whom are single – that are this place’s big attraction. Mimosas, by the way, are just $2 on weekends until 2 p.m.
Then there’s Old Tony’s. A very good seafood restaurant, Old Tony’s is known primarily for having the Strongest Drink in the South Bay, a Mai Tai with a 151 floater (and who knows what other fun-inspiring toxins) known as the Fire Chief. They give you the glass when you order one and every house and apartment in the South Bay has dozens of them stuffed into the cupboards.
At sunset in the upstairs bar – known by some as the “crow’s nest” and indeed it does seem as if you are looking out over a ship from the tables facing due west – you have to elbow your way into the place. The bartender, who’s been there for decades, wears an Aloha shirt and you feel as if you’ve stepped right into some 70’s TV drama. Magnum P.I., for example.
There’s also a bar downstairs and it’s really cool, as well. It has a fire pit and a lower view of the waves crashing to the shore beneath the pier. It’s also not crowded so the only person you have to contend with to get a drink is the restaurant waitress.
Sunsets and Fire Chiefs are a great way to transition from daytime to nighttime. There’s even a guy playing guitar. Be warned, though, one Fire Chief may light your fire and two might put you on fire.
Usually, the South Bay singles depart the pier shortly after sunset and head back to go out in Hermosa or Manhattan Beach. Occasionally, tho, they stay and when that happens, they go to Starboard Attitude.
It’s right next to Old Tony’s. Go up the stairs and into what is a small, live music dive bar. The bartenders are always friendly and fiesty and one of them is quite the looker. The bands can be awesome: Blues, rock and it was one of the last places to feature Jay Spell, part of Jimmy Buffett’s original Coral Reefer band.
You bring your own party for the most part but you can find some amazing musicians on occasion. It’s a shame more people don’t go into the place because it could be a great, casual live music hangout. There’s never a cover, either.
The Hollywood institution Barney’s Beanery gives the pier what it’s needed for a long time: A good sports bar. If you’re lucky, grab one of those big reclining captain’s chairs at the bar.
Redondo Beach Pier Top Happy Hour Bar
Like Happy Hours!? Well we do at PubClub.com, and Kincaid’s delivers with not one but two Happy Hours seven nights a week. You can get a Stella Artois, Longboard Lagar, Red Hook IPA or other great beer selections for 5 bucks. Or house wines. Or mixed drinks.
There’s also an awesome menu with prices from $7-15 for fantastic food. Happy Hour runs each day from 3-6:30 – and gets quite popular around 5 on weekends – and again from 9:30-closing. Yes, even on Friday and Saturday nights!
King Harbor Bars Reviews
There’s other places in the vicinity of the pier.
One is at the Portofino Hotel, the beautiful BALEENKitchen overlooking King Harbor. It is, without question, the nicest, classiest, most romantic and sexiest restaurant/bar in the South Bay.
Baleen is a lounge featuring outside tables with individual fire pits facing the boats in the marina and an inside bar with a fireplace and a band on weekends. It gets boat owners and wedding parties from the hotel. The bar is classy – yet with the casual South Bay beach attitude, of course – and has a wide selection of fine vodkas, whiskeys and even rums.
It has all-day Happy Hour on Mondays and Thursdays it’s half-priced wine night.
Just down from Baleen through the parking lot is Rocky Point, a great spot for a daytime beer. It’s just a bait and kayak rental shop but it has cold beers in a cooler for $2.50 and picnic tables looking out over the water. Put a steel drum band out on the dock on weekend afternoons, and you would have the equivalent of an ATM machine for the city of Redondo Beach.
Two other places to check out for Happy Hour are Bluewater Grill and the Chart House (both go until 6:30, M-F). Bluewater is on the north side of King Harbor and even has a fireplace inside.
The Chart House is on one of the best surf breaks in the South Bay and is best for Happy Hour on Fridays.
In the works is Shade Hotel, Redondo’s version of the swanky and popular Manhattan Beach Shade. It’s along the Harbor Drive waterfront and the owner is no dummy; he knows that a good bar scene will attract thirsty locals and that means more revenue.
It’s due to open in the fall of 2015 but is more likely to welcome customers in early 2016.
Baleen and Shade aside, if the city were ever to clean up the Pier – City Council members have talked about it for years and even have some plans in the works but considering they spent $1 million on a bathroom in Seaside Lagoon you have to question their judgement – this could be a shining jewel of the South Bay. And, quite frankly, all of Los Angeles.
They should look to the gleaming Embarcadero and Seaport Village in San Diego as an example of the potential of the pier area.
With the right touches, the Redondo Beach Pier could be a real destination rather than what it is now, an occasional daytime diversion from Hermosa and Manhattan Beach.
– REDONDO BEACH PER BAR LOCATIONS (310) –
• Baleen, 260 Portofino Way, 379-8481
• Barney’s Beanery, 100 Fisherman’s Wharf, (424) 275- 4820
• Bluewater Grill, 665 N. Harbor Drive, 318-3474
• Chart House, 231 Yacht Club Way, 372-3464
• Kincaid’s, 500 Fishermans Wharf, 318-6080
• Naja’s Place, 154 S. International Boardwalk, 376-9951
• Old Tony’s, 122 Fisherman’s Wharf, 374-1442
• Starboard Attitude, 202 Fisherman’s Wharf, 379-5144