Welcome to the South Bay Beach Cities!
Know What Locals Know In Hermosa, Manhattan & Redondo
Girls goofing around in a bar, a typical scene on the Hermosa Beach Pier.
The South Bay is where the idillic Southern California lifestyle becomes reality.
This is the land of the tanned and the healthy, where perfectly fit men and beautiful beach girls run, skate and ride their strand beach cruisers along the sand with a seemingly endless amount of energy.
In the summer, Hermosa Beach hosts free concerts on the beach.
The natural beauty of the South Bay shines the most at sunset.
There are great restaurants, spectacular sunsets, entertainment events and laid-back locals.
There are also all sorts of activities and events, Fiesta Hermosa on Memorial and Labor Day weekends in Hermosa, a St. Patrick's Day parade on the Saturday before St. Paddy's Day in Hermosa, summer concerts on the sand in Hermosa Beach, Hometown Fair with its legendary beer garden the first of October each year in Manhattan Beach and the Manhattan Beach Holiday Firewworks the second Sunday of December.
The Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza
The Hermosa Beach Pier at its peak, during Fiesta Hermosa.
A Hawaiian-themed gathering is just one of many bar crawls at the HB Pier.
It is the birthplace of beach volleyball and a haven for surfers.
At night, the bars are packed with people fresh from the sand or the waves, drinking as hard as they were just playing. There are pub crawls, house parties, drink-and-draw volleyball tournaments, even a hotline locals call to get updated party information. It's a fraternity party for adults, the Club Med of California.
Even in this high-end environment, dives like the Poop Deck thrive.
The South Bay is comprised of three seaside cities, Hermosa, Mannattan and Redondo Beach. This guide contains information on restaurants, bars, available activities and the major South Bay social events. For more specific infomation on the bars, visit the Manhattan and Hermosa/Redondo-specific pages(links are on the left navigation bar).
Pub Clubbing – Beach Cities Bar Scene
It's always a party at the bars in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach.
In the summer, the South Bay is active seven nights a week. This is in addition to Saturday and Sunday afternoons. (During the winter, the pace slows only slightly, with Sunday nights, and Mondays often providing the only breaks in the action, though Patrick Molloy's all-night Happy Hour SIN Night on a Monday is a hard challenge to pass up often). There's Taco Tuesday -bustling at OB's in Manhattan – and tons of Happy Hours. Click here for the Best Happy Hour Bars in the South Bay.
The activity happens by the beach because locals believe there is" no life east of PCH."
Even the bartenders are fun in the South Bay's bars.
The South Bay is divided into two main social areas, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach (neighboring Redondo has a few spots but overall is far less lively). To the casual observer, it would be hard to distinguish one city from the other. The MB/HB border is marked by the "90210 House" on The Strand, the beach house used in the television show.
There are, however, differences worth noting. Hermosa's nightlife mixes in twentysomethings from Los Angeles with youthful locals. Bars in Manhattan are largely for locals and here, that's a good thing for everyone.
Men in both places are notoriously casual dressers, somewhat of a frustrating but reluctantly accepted fact among the women. Shorts, t-shirts and sandals are common attire in most places. Hey, it's by the beach!
House parties are as much a part of the culture as surfing and volleyball.
Not all the social action in the South Bay occurs in the pubs and clubs. Since the area is really an outgrown fraternity party, much of the scene revolves around an active house party scene.
Live bands on the Strand are a common house party occurrence.
In the summer, there are dozens each weekend, many of them afternoon bashes on The Strand with live bands. Invitations to the bigger parties come via the coconut telegraph; to dial in, befriend a local in a bar and buy him/her a drink.
Dining and Restaurants
Eat 10 tacos and get your name on a plaque at OB's.
It's not just about the food. but the fun, at the South Bay's restaurants.
The South Bay gets little respect from the rest of Los Angeles when it comes to restaurants.But locals know where to eat,, and eat well.
One emerging trend is fine food in upper-end lounges like Blue 32 in Hermosa Beach. With a menu featuring filet migon, lobster and enchiladas, a kobe beef burger and sides like "mac daddy and blu cheese" (entrees $16-32) dinner and Blue 32 is a natural set-up to the lively nightspot that arrives as soon as the plates are pulled away.
Cafe Pierre and Rock 'N Fish (downtown Manhattan Beach) and The Bottle Inn (21st and Hermosa Ave., in Hermosa Beach) are outstanding restaurants, though not for the wallet-watchers. Cafe Pierre serves elegant French food, Rock 'N Fish stays true to its name with seafood and the Best Clam Chowder on the West Coast, and the Bottle Inn is classic Italian. Mamma D's is the most popular Italian restaurant in dowtown MB, a fairly casual place that is packed nearly every night of the week. Good and inexpensive Italian dining is found at Bona Vita on Hermosa Beach's Upper Pier Ave.
In the north section of Manhattan Beach, just north of Rosecrans on the west side of Highland, is an outstanding fish restaurant called FishBar. It's Tommy Bahama casual and so poplar among locals it may take a wait to find a table even in the middle of the week. The food is fresh and excellent and most of it is priced in the $10-15 range. You can't get this quality at that price hardly anywhere in Southern California. And the clam chowder is the best you'll find anywhere.
Chez Melange in Redondo Beach (Sepulveda Blvd., at the Palos Verdes Inn, just past "the turn") is one of the finest dining spots in all of Southern California. Some of best food in the South Bay is at The Mermaid, an old-timers bar and restaurant at the end of Hermosa's Pier Ave. Anything on the menu, from fish to the roasted chicken, is fantastic and the sauteed mushrooms are orgasmic!
On the Redondo Beach Pier, Tony's – with a 360-degree view of the ocean and a potent drink knows as the Fire Chief – and Kincaid's are superb for seafood; Tony's is a bit more moderately priced and serves the South Bay's Strongest Drink, a potent rum concoction known as the Fire Chief.
Because the South Bay is somewhat of a never-ending fraternity party – even those into their 50s are watering hole regulars– bars offer better-than-average food to refuel their patrons' party appetites.
The most sensational stirfry? It's not found at a Chinese restaurant,but at OB's in Manhattan Beach's north end (Rosecrans and Highland). Simply put, it's delicious. It's a dollar off on Wednesdays. OB's also has a highly popular Taco Tuesday with marinated steak the best, and specials on drafts and margaritas.The BBQ sandwich – order it with steak fries – is good enough to make any Texan cry.
The shepherd's Pie is good at The Underground Pub, especially with big beers.
It's sister establishment, The Underground Pub in downtown Hermosa, has a big menu of sandwiches, salads, English dishes and hearty breakfasts. On the Pier, the aforementioned Patrick Molloy's has as many choices as TVs. It's nightly and all-night-Monday Happy Hour menu features dozens of dishes for $2-5, including a full pizza that will fill up any appetite (ask for extra sauce).
All locals know about not only the drinks but the food at Sharkeez. Fish tacos, burritos, combo plates, burgers and more make up the menu of this ever-popular cantina. There are several locations in Southern California beach towns – including one undergoing a renovation on the Hermosa Pier – but original its in north MB.
The burger at Ercoles is one of the best anywhere in L.A. – or the world.
The World's Best Burgers can be found at Ercoles, a dive bar on Highland just South of the Manhattan Beach pier. Have it at lunch with a cold beer; the bartender is crustier than the bun.
Some of the best Mexican food North of the boarder is at Gringo's. This is the place for plate-filling burritos and satisfying sangria (you can spike it by adding a bottle of champagne, obtainable at the liquor store across the street). Across the street at The North End, crowds come in for Taco Tuesday, except here it's on Wednesdays.
For the down-and-dirty, there's none better than El Tarasco (Rosecrans and Highland in North Manhattan). Nothing more than a taco stand with a roof, it's cheap and delicious and is especially popular on Friday and Saturday nights after the bars close.
Breakfast is a South Bay's specialty. No place in California has as many quality places serving a breakfast menu (which, for many locals is actually eaten at lunchtime). Among the best are The Local Yoke (Highland in Manhattan), which specializes in omelets; the Koffee Kart in downtown Manhattan. In Hermosa, Martha's on 22nd (across from the Bottle Inn) has Strand-side outdoor eating, though prices are a bit high for breakfast fare.
And for 24-hour breakfast fare there's the legendary Kettle in downtown Manhattan. As one can imagine, it's at its busiest on Friday and Saturday nights at, oh, about 1:30 in the morning.
South Bay Beach Activities
Beach volleyball is a culture here; there are pro tournaments in HB and MB.
The Beach Boys sang about it – "All over Manhattan" in Surfin' USA. Heck, they even lived here.
Surfing is a core culture of The South Bay. Consistently the best waves are from 42-25th Streets in what locals call El Porto. This is particularly true in the winter. The best place to watch surfing is atop the Manhattan pier.
On the sand, it's beach volleyball that rules. The annual Manhattan Open is regarded as the Wimbledon of professional beach volleyball.
Visitors can rent a board, try and pick up a v-ball game or rent bicycles or rollerblades and enjoy the scenes up and down concrete-lined beach path known as The Strand. There are few better ways to experience the true California beach life than a trip down The Strand while making few drink stops along the way.