Hermosa Beach's Best Bars!
Locals Guide On Where to Party on The Pier & More
Hermosa Beach's best bartender, Juan (left), pops the top at Fenner's on the Pier.
By Kevin Wilkerson, Your PubClub.com Local Bar Guide
Once a hangout for hippies, Harleys and hang-loosers, Hermosa Beach is now the mecca of the South Bay's social scene. All these spots are within walking distance with many are within sight distance.
There is one-block, pedestrian-only Pier Ave., possesses a plethora of places and, combined with more bars on Hermosa Ave., it's a party paradise, right at the beach. And here's another great thing: all these spots are within walking distance with many are within sight distance.
Because the places on the Pier were originally grocery stores, local bars or tiny t-shirt shops, they are small and lines form quickly, so if you want to go out on a weekend – and in Hermosa Beach the weekend starts on Thursdays – you had better be out by 10.
• 12 Bars of Christmas, Dec. 13. Details here!
Smackfest is a silly beach volleyball tournament that is part of the Hermosa culture.
Hermosa Beach house parties are a big part of the long-standing party culture.
Dive bars like the Poop Deck make for entertaining afternoons.
Hermosa Beach is home (bar) of the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings.
Sharkeez is the Pier's prime hangout bar for several reasons.
Blondes in the bars are typical of the people at the Hermosa Beach Pier.
The Hermosa Beach bar scene is friendly, casual and fun.
The ever-popular Sharkeez is the king of this beach town. Locals called Sharkeez the "Black Hole" because they go in for one cocktail in the afternoon and wind up staying all night. People go in for lunch, a Happy Hour drink (pretty much everything is 2-for-1) daily menu specials – the food here is quite good and even borders on spectacular for this type of establishment – or just to get down and par-TY! It's good any day of the week, pretty much any time of any day of the week.
By night, the beach bar Sharkeez turns into a mini dance club.
Have you been on Wednesdays? This place turns into a thumping club with a DJ playing club tunes, people dancing everywhere and incredible drink specials (how does $2.50 Bud drafts sounds!?)
New to town? Sharkeez is the place with the big line. Sharkeez has also been selected as PubClub.com's Best Happy Hour Bar.
As good as it is, Sharkeez is hardly the only party place on the Pier. Start right next door, for example.
American Junkie has picked up right where Sangria left off on the Pier.
There was always a huge line on Friday and Saturday nights at Sangria, so many questioned why revamp it? Well, it needed a little afternoon boost and got it. Re-branded as American Junkie, it was an instant hit and remains so, and having $3 beers – that's all beers, even Stella Artois – on Saturdays until 7 is a great way to earn quick admiration from locals.
There's now a big, full bar on the patio and nightly specials, such as goldfish racing on Wednesday. Check out the photo booth, too! The Happy Hour has now been extended on Fridays until 9 p.m., and it's also in effect during all Lakers, Clippers and Kings games.
Patrick Molloy's is a clean Irish-ish pub that turns clubby on weekends with house music, lights and dancing. Daytime weekends are at a much more relaxed pace, especially on the patio when crowds gather for post-beach beers, cocktails, enticing appetizers and full lunches or dinners. A daily Happy Hour runs 3-8 with half-priced and food specials that go from $2.95-5.95.
People cut loose at Patrick Molloy's.
Molloy's has plenty of plasmas, all-day Happy Hours on Mondays and hosts special events on a regular basis. And then it takes on a whole different personality at night.
The tiki hostess stand in front of Waterman's says it all: This is a Polynesian party palace. It has a bamboo bar, Hawaii's own Kona leading about 10 beers on draught, and a very "aloha" vibe that fits in with its surroundings the way surfboards fit in with the waves.
Having a beer – this is a Longboard Lager – on Waterman's patio is quite satifying.
The Bud Light girls ham it up in Waterman's.
The casual atmosphere of Waterman's makes it a fun bar.
Waterman's has a Polynesian theme, perfect for the casual beach crowd.
People go out in groups in Hermosa Beach and here they stop in Waterman's.
Waterman's is much more beachy than its predecessor, a place called Dragon that was like a loud Las Vegas lounge lost in paradise. Sundays here are particularly lively; there's a reggae band and a crowd of surfers and locals in shorts and sandals all hangin' very loose. It begins to rock on 4 on Sundays and goes until about 8.
Anyone still feeling the wave of pressure to stay out shold "surf" over to Sharkeez.
In the summer, concerts on the beach bring out the locals.
Fenner's provides a bird's eye view of the Pier, here during Fiesta Hermosa.
Typical of Fenners are beers lined up ready to drink.
Get a bird's eye view of the Pier action from Fat Face Fenner's Fishack. Its second-floor balcony provides the only elevated view of Pier Ave and a rustic back bar has live music on weekends. Thursdays are Karaoke Nights with $3 Bud Lights. The front bar has Juan, the Best Bartender in the South Bay. However, getting to Juan can be a challenge because the doormen, but locals should know to show their South Bay i.d., to get in with no problem.
The Best Tropical Drink in the South Bay is the mango margarita served at Cantina Real. It's frozen and delicious, best enjoyed in the daytime on the outdoor patio overlooking the Strand and pier.
The biggest patio is across Pier Plaza at Hennessey's Tavern, that also makes sitting inside on a sunny day not a bad thing with booths next to windows that open up to the Strand. It's also the only place (unfortunately) that has has an upstairs patio, tho it's small city rules dictate that people be seated to be served.
The best thing about The Mermaid is its refusal to change. The proposed sale of the property has fallen through so it remains The Mermaid and not some high-end hotel ready to be built, and is open on weekends.
It's not fancy but that's the Poop Deck's prime attraction.
Another long-standing establishment is the Poop Deck. Directly on The Strand, this is a dirty dive. Its best during the AVP Hermosa Open and Fridays for 32-ounce Budweisers for $1 until the keg blows. At 7:30, people start positioning themselves to be first in line. By 8, a number of mid-20s girls and guys have gathered and upon reaching the bar, the acceptable behavior is to grab TWO Buds. So that’s 64 ounces of beer for $2! People then retreat to the back patio where they down their 64 ounces in a hurry playing beer pong.
On April 20, it turns 56. Go in and have a beer to help it celebrate!
Hermosa Ave. Bars
There may be no life east of PCH as longtime locals like to joke, but there sure is plenty of it east of Hermosa Ave. In fact, this two-block area around the bend from the Pier has become a party playground.
The newest bar in town is Mickey McColigan's and, unlike Molloy's and Hennessey's, it's a little more than just an Irish name. It's all wood decor, has a true "pub" feel to it and with big windows that open to the street there is good afternoon party potential. It serves no hard alcohol (beer, wine and champagne) and has only a few small TVs, so this is a place to have a few pints and enjoy conversation is a cozy, comfortable bar. It's on Hermosa Ave., at 8th Street, across from Barnacles.
And speaking of Barnacles, did you know it's the original locaiton of Fat Face Fenner's? It's a great locals' hangout with a crowd that swells like the outgoing and incoming tide. The good is good, the atmosphere relaxed and there is sometimes live acoutic music at night. It's also becoming the top hangout for Hermosa locals who are looking for someplace close to go that's not on the pier.
On the other side of Pier Ave., sits five bars, on eof which is the slick and sexy Establishment (formerly Blue 32). Crowds come in from Thursdays-weekends and anyone out on party patrol Tuesdays and Wednesdays won't be hurting for activity. It also has very good breakfasts.
And here's a couple of great treats – buckets of 5 beers are just $15 all the time, and if you get the PubClub.com South Bay Party Report, bring in the printout or on your phone and get a 10% discount off a round of drinks. To get the Party Report, send us an e-mail.
Getting "mugged" on mug night in the Underground.
While Establishment if for loungers and clubbers, the Underground Pub (the main entrance is actually behind Hermosa Ave., at 15th St.) is for pubbers. The Underground Pub is not underground as in an underground dance club, but underground as in the London subway system. This is actually two bars in one – a sports-themed pub with a pool table and plenty of plasmas one one side and a fun lounge lounge called the Chelsea Pub on the other.
The Underground is cozy but can get quite crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. Chelsea Pub, with "the twins" behind the bar. has large booths and couches with dancing to hip Euro-style music that's subtle enough to be able to carry on a conversation. Thursdays are "pint nights" at The Underground; buy a 22-ounce mug for a buck and then get a Bud or Bud Light for just $3 or a Stella for $4.
Walk between the two bars for the true pubs and club experience without leaving the building! With its trio of huge plasma TVs, great food and hearty breakfasts, this "combo club" is a good place to start or finish the day. Both places have a casual attitude; Chelsea has more of a club feel to it with the music and even dancing, but it's hardly a club.
That roar you hear is coming not any longer from The Shore, but a bar opened by promter Berry Bly called Studio Lounge. It's on Hermosa Ave., and it's a showcase for DJs.
A bartender happily pours a Bud Light for a thirsty customer at Game Changers.
And there's pool tables, more TVs than you can see and more taps of cold draft beer than anyplace in the South Bay at Game Changers. Half the place is a billiards lounge. Note we did not say "pool bar." There's a different.
Just behind all this, on Monterey and Pier, is an elegant new restaurant and bar (with a bit of funky feel; Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise did some of the wall painting), called Abigaile. It's a remodel of Union Cattle and there's no mechanical bull anymore. But the bar is bigger. If you want to cut lose a little more, then go upstairs where Ocean Club remains unchanged. The views from either of the two patios are among the best in Hermosa. Don't forget to check out its Happy Hour.
The Ocean Club, by the way, is taking over Cafe Boogaloo. It will be open weekends until 1 a.m., Thursdays until 12:30 p.m., but on all other days only until 11 p.m. (There's a lot of closing time issues in Hermosa Beach these days.)
Hermosa Beach fans celebrate the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup at the North End bar.
Farther north on Hermosa Ave. is a round building called The North End. This is fast becoming a hot hangout. Several people, tired of the downtown scene, are enjoying The North End's lack of lines, cheap drinks and super casual atmosphere. They are joined by neighborhood residents who want a few drinks but don't want to walk the extra blocks to downtown. Wednesdays feature $1 tacos.
A former dive bar, Saint Rocke brings lots of live music to the South Bay.
A new bar in the space of Cafe Boogaloo, which brought Zydeco music and more to the Pier area, is reopening soon.
South Bay's nightlife was originated around its live music venues. Back in the 1960s, the The Lighthouse Cafe was known thrhought the world as one of the top jazz clubs in the country.
The Lighthouse Cafe has been bringing bands to the Pier since the '40s.
But then live muisc here began to starve. But now, it's made a comeback and has become a major player in LA's music scene. Pennywise is from Hermosa Beach and the lineup of live music venues is so extensive now that PubClub has created a separate article on places that feature bands.
So click here to read more about the top live music venue in the South Bay, Saint Rocke
– BAR LOCATIONS ON LOWER PIER AVE (310) –
• Sharkeez, 52 Pier Ave. (310) 374-7823.
• Cantina Real, 19 Pier Ave., 372-3454
• At Face Fenner's Fishhack, 53 Pier Ave., 379-5550
• Hennessey's, 8 Pier Ave., 372-5759
• Mermaid, 11 Pier Ave., 374-9344
• Patrick Molloy's, 50 Pier Ave., 798-9762
• Poop Deck (1272 The Strand), 376-3223
• Sangria, 60 Pier Ave., 376-4412
• Waterman's, 22 Pier Ave, 372-4482.
– BAR LOCATONS ON HERMOSA AVE. –
• Game Changers, 1220 Hermosa Ave. 798-3932
• Underground Pub (entrance in alley) and Chelsea Lounge. 1332 Hermosa Ave. (Entrance in the alley), 318-3818
• Establishment, 1332 Hermosa Ave.
• Studio Lounge, 1320 Hermosa Ave. 376-0414
• Abigale/Ocean Bar., 1301 Manhattan Ave., 798-8227