Vegas-Like Outdoor Waterfront Lounge Ideal For Holding Wine Tastings And Beer Festivals
Catalina Express, the company that runs the ferries from Southern California ports to Catalina Island, held an event to celebrate the opening of its sleek new terminal in San Pedro the first Thursday in November.
It had food prepared by the new bistro’s executive chef (Laurel Lyman), a jazz band and wine tasting. It was classy, which fit the environment. The new Catalina Express terminal is beautiful. The building is clean and bright and gives a nod to Catalina’s transportation past with a small replica of a seaplane hanging from the ceiling,. But it’s the patio that’s the star.
It’s huge, L-shaped and can easily hold a few hundred people. It has fire pits and couches like a Las Vegas lounge and is on the water with a view looking out to the harbor and up at the Vincent Thomas Bridge. With the weather we have in Southern California, it’s an ideal place to spend an afternoon or evening.
And so, the thought struck me that they should do this kind of thing more often. Hold regular wine tastings. Say, on the first Thursday of the month. The occasional craft beer festival. Jazz and wine afternoons (or evenings). The patio is certainly large enough to hold events without interrupting passengers. And for those passengers, what a great warm-up or wind-down from Catalina to walk into an event!
And, indeed, it’s opened up a restaurant. the Catalina Bistro, to serve dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings (4-9 p.m.). For other times, it has the Express Grill, and there’s also a small but very nice bar.
The new Catalina Express terminal stands out in San Pedro’s otherwise dingy waterfront like Miss Long Beach Grand Prix standing among a bunch of race mechanics. A yacht next to a bunch of rowboats.
San Pedro needs something classy to bring people down from PV and over from Long Beach. Even the South Bay and beyond. The USS Iowa is a great addition to the waterfront as an tourist attraction, but wine tastings and beer events at Catalina Express’ huge outdoor deck would be a huge boost to social scene.
With the Catalina Express and the cruise ships, most people go to San Pedro only so they can leave it immediately. The Bistro certainly makes for an desirable dining destination. Adding a taste of classy events would be a step toward making it a happening hangout.