South Bay Events and Manhattan Beach Bars Would Benefit From Bringing in More Local Residents
The Manhattan Beach Grand Prix – a cycling event with some notable world-renowned racers, including at least one teammate of Lance Armstrong during his incredible Tour de France wins – is a fine event that has been going on for an incredible 50 years.
That’s a remarkable achievement for any event, sporting or otherwise, especially in a small seaside town within the mass that is Los Angeles.
Yet it’s one that’s hardly on the radar of many citizens of Manhattan Beach. And of the South Bay, as well, which includes Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.
In fact, there were more people at Redondo’s Riviera Village Summerfest than there were at the Grand Prix and far more people on the beach, a mere three blocks from the GP. In fact, it seemed as if the people heading to the sand were oblivious to what what happening just over their shoulders.
What the Grand Prix needs is something to bring in people other than fans of cycling. To take the event to an EVENT.
What it needs is a beer garden.
Much of the population of the city and the surrounding Beach Cities is not even aware the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix exits. “Oh, so that’s why Valley/Ardmore was blocked off,” someone wrote on a Facebook page. “A few signs would be nice, MB.”
A series of texts and messages sent out on attending the event by PubClub.com resulted in a thud. A “huh” response. For an event that’s been on the city streets for 50 years, it’s amazing how many locals are pay it no attention. A beer garden would put it on the social map of the area residents and also bring in a lot of money to the city.
At, say, $5 a beer, the city could make several thousand dollars. How much does it pay for extra security and services anyway? At a time when the city is under a bit of local scrutiny for spending money on security for the annual 6-man volleyball tournament (last year was overkill, but that issue is for another blog), the money made from selling a few brews should be welcomed by all.
Now before all those half-dozen “do-gooders” who go before the City Council and complain about anything and everything go crazy and start marching to City Hall, this would not be a mega party. Manhattan Beach already has that in the Old Hometown Fair. This would hardly become – or ever come close to replacing – that event. It would simply be an additional attraction for this exiting event, one that would bring in more people and give them a reason to hang around for a while.
There’s plenty of room for a beer garden, adjacent the finish line. Run it from, say, 1-5 p.m.. That would be long enough to bring in more people and make money but not long enough to bother any Valley/Ardmore residents. I’m sure Michelob Ultra would love to be involved. The A-B beer sponsors the Amgen Tour of California, which has Tour de France competitors, so it knows cycling events. Michelob Ultra would probably also host a post party at downtown bar, bringing in much more revenue – and tax dollars – to the business and the city.
As it is now, there’s little for the average person to see at the event and little to keep the few dozens of curious onlookers who stumble upon it. Sure, it’s cool to be leaning against the railing when the bikes fly by, often inches from arms of spectators. But that thrill only lasts for maybe an hour. And the area restaurants and bars get almost nothing from having the Grand Prix in town. During and after the event, there are not people packed into downtown businesses. Believe me, I investigated!
One would think that the bar at Shade Hotel – steps from the event’s main intersection at 15th and Valley/Ardmore – would be slammed. But after the 2011 event, it was hard to tell if it were even open. Downtown should be buzzing with activity, but instead it’s no different than any other sunny weekend.
Manhattan Beach already has several great events, and adding a little spice with a beer garden to this one would put one more good weekend on the South Bay’s social calendar.