As hard as it may be to do, eventually you’ll have to pry yourself off the beach and The Strand. And you’ll be glad you did, too, for there’s several thrills just up the hill in downtown Manhattan Beach.
If you’re like one of the many beach volleyball players, at the end of the day you’ll wind up at Shellback Tavern, the casual come-as-you-are beach bar. Here, you don’t even need to wipe the sand off your sandals.
And yet, to show the diversity of downtown Manhattan Beach, just across the street is the elegant Strand House. One of the top restaurants in Los Angeles with sensational views of the ocean and pier from all of its levels, Strand House features great dinners, fine wines, crafted cocktails and the kind of crowd that will make you think you’re living in a movie.
You can also go its sister restaurant and bar, Zinc Lounge, in Shade Hotel, which is located in a plaza with other classy restaurant/bars and boutique shops, which are scattered all over downtown Manhattan Beach like volleyballs on the beach.
“It’s culinary greatness” in Manhattan Beach, said Michael Zislas of the Zislas Group, owners and operators of Strand House, Brewco (with its 48 craft beers) and Arthur’s restaurants and Shade Hotel. “You used to have to go to the Westside for some of LA’s best restaurants but now we have it right here in a little one mile-by-one-mile area. We’ve got everything. I’m really proud of that fact.”
Zislas has been operating a business in downtown Manhattan Beach for some 20 years and has seen up close the development of the area’s dynamic dining scene through the years.
For the best burgers you’ll ever have, go to Ercoles, a dive bar that is the oldest bar in the entire South Bay, dating back to the 1920s. These are conversation-stopping burgers so juicy you’ll be grabbing every napkin in your vicinity to wipe off your hands. Locals tip: they are 2-for-1 on Wednesday nights.
Now if you like to have your burgers – as well as other delicious food – in an open-air setting along with some rare craft brews, then park yourself at Simmzy’s. It’s such a popular place you’ll likely have to wait a few minutes for a table but that’s okay because this is a prime people-watching corner.
Simmzy’s is an offspring of The Kettle, the legendary late-night breakfast-and-everything diner that’s been a fixture for decades on the corner of Highland and Manhattan Beach Blvd.