There are plenty of great bars in Long Beach - but the city is so spread out that it’s sometimes difficult to get a real grasp of where you should be, and when you should be there. No one wants a night of bar-hopping that includes circling aimlessly in an Uber... which is why you need to go out with a game plan. Whether you’re in the mood to day drink by the ocean, listen to live music, or play bar games in a basement all night, this is your guide to drinking extremely well in Long Beach.
Not to be confused with the outlet mall downtown, this Pike is a dive bar on 4th St. During the day, this nautical-themed spot is more of a diner, but at night it turns into a full-on live music venue with a great beer list, a low-key crowd, and a late-night food menu that goes until 1am on weekends. Drinking at The Pike feels like you’re drinking at a bar from one of those ’90s movies where everybody could break into song at any moment simply because they’re having a good time.
Not every secret bar is actually a secret - just because you have to walk down a flight of stairs to get a drink, it doesn’t mean you’re in a “speakeasy.” But Bar Tiki Tiki is the rare secret bar that’s actually hard to find. The only way you can get in is by pushing on a specific part of a blank wall in Beer Belly (ask the bartender if you can’t find it). Inside, you’ll find a tiny, smoke-filled room serving excellent tiki drinks like the Frozen Bird, with rum, Campari, and coconut cream. It’s a great place for a first date when you’re trying to show off, or if you’re looking for a spot to celebrate something over deadly-strong rum-based cocktails.
We love the Blind Donkey because it’s basically a college bar, but for people in their late 20s. Located in the basement of a building downtown, Blind Donkey has every type of activity to keep you and your friends entertained: Darts, Skee-Ball, billiards, shuffleboard, karaoke, a photo booth, and even an old-school vending machine. There’s also a massive whiskey stock, a solid craft beer list, and a selection of very strong cocktails.
Joe Jost’s has been in operation since 1924 and is a Long Beach institution. This legendary dive bar on a random stretch of the Eastside is not where you go for a rowdy late night. It’s where you go on Sunday afternoon to drink giant steins of beer with a room full of local pirates, play some billiards, and eat pickled eggs and pretzels in the corner. It’s bizarre and wonderful - and a place no one should miss.
Do you really need to go to a tasting room for beer you can find at any grocery store? Yes, you do. The Ballast Point Tasting Room is basically just a massive, two-story shrine to day drinking, only with the best views in Long Beach as an added bonus. On weekends this place becomes a bro-pocalypse, but luckily it’s so big, you can always find a quiet corner to get away from that guy in a Quiksilver hat shouting about his threesome in Brazil.
The sours-only version of Beachwood Brewing, the Blendery takes the lambic base used for Beachwood’s beers and makes all kinds of crazy brews from it. They age each of them in oak barrels with aromatics like muscat grapes, guavas, and strawberries with Herbes de Provence. They rarely have the same options more than once a year, so you can go back often and never see the same list. If you love sour beers, then this is one of the best places to drink them in LA County.
The Exhibition Room is a speakeasy inside a dive bar in the Cal Heights neighborhood of Long Beach. They have a strict dress code and require reservations, and there’s a tiny phone booth you have to squeeze through to get into the place. Also, you need a password that you’ll receive via text. If it sounds like a complete production, it is. But the good news is that it’s worth it. Once you’re inside, expect live brass bands, burlesque shows, and incredibly well-made cocktails that aren’t too expensive. If you’re looking to impress a date, you can’t do much better than The Exhibition Room.
The reason most people know about The 4th Horseman in downtown Long Beach is because of its aggressive (and awesome) horror theme. The TVs inside show a constant loop of B-movies and slasher films, and the walls are filled with posters from flicks like Night Of The Living Dead. But even if you’re not into blood and guts, this is a great place to hang out, because of their excellent tap list filled with local craft beers, and the surprisingly great menu of pizzas. Those pizzas are also huge - 16 inches - and definitely enough feed a few folks. Prepare to spend a whole lot of time here.
Located just a ten-minute walk down 4th St. from The Pike, The Stache has a rowdier, last-call kind of feel to it most times. There isn’t a designated dance floor per se, but show up after midnight on a Saturday, and people will have created one between the tables. If that sounds like a lot for you, stop by midweek, and you’ll find a more relaxed crowd there to play some board games, watch the Dodgers, and drink Moscow mules with house-made ginger beer.
There are lot of places to drink on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore, but one of the nicest places to do so is the upstairs balcony at Saint & Second. This restaurant and bar serves a big, gastropubb-y menu, but that’s probably not what you’re here for. You’re here for Happy Hour. It runs from 3-6pm during the week, and involves discounted food (try the charcuterie) and $9 cocktails.
Portuguese Bend Distillery
Downtown Long Beach’s Portuguese Bend Distillery is a full-blown restaurant, but the best reason to come here is for the house-made gin and vodka. They make good cocktails with them - our favorite is the Moonlighter, with their vodka, falernum, and ancho chili - but if you really want something that showcases their gin, order Smoke Bay in a martini. It’s a classic London-style dry gin, and it’s great. No matter what, drink them out on the patio that looks onto 3rd St. And if you do get hungry, get the pastrami chili cheese fries to snack on.
Elinor is a multi-story spot with just about everything you could think of in a bar. You order from a wide selection of local beer, wine, and hard kombucha (no hard liquor, though) at a small bar, and then you’ve got a bunch of options on what to do next. There’s a huge stack of board games to choose from, a free billiards table, and a massive room next door with live music most nights. Or, you and your group can go hang out upstairs in the art gallery, which features truly weird pieces from local artists that we highly recommend investigating.
Beachwood Brewing is a full-scale restaurant, but while their food menu is totally fine, everybody’s really here for the beer. They’ve been brewing some of the best crafts in California for a while, and their location along downtown’s Promenade is an ideal spot to sit and unwind. If you’re an IPA fan, get their signature Amalgamator, and if you’re not, you’ll find plenty of other things to drink. Also, like we said, Beachwood Blendery is right across the street, and specializes in sour beers.
Long Beach has its fair share of sports bars, but Rasselbock in Bixby Knolls is the best. This biergarten is an excellent place to spend a weekend afternoon watching the Dodgers, Trojans, or Rams. They’ve got a long list of hard-to-find German and Belgian craft beers like trappist ales, quads, and tripels, and the food is exactly what you want to be eating while you’re watching sports and drinking dark beers - sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, and an excellent pork loin schnitzel with garlic cream sauce.
This tiny wine bar is a good place to start a night out. Walk in, sit at the bar, and tell the guy behind it what kind of wine you’re in the mood for. He’ll keep pouring until you find the one you’re looking for - and will keep going even if you nailed it on the first try. After you’ve picked your wine, sit on the sidewalk patio, and repeat. Actually, you might just end up spending your whole night here instead.
If you want a relaxed place to drink some beer and stare at the ocean, go to Belmont Brewing. Located right on the beach in Belmont Shore, this neighborhood brewery has been around since 1990, and caters to a local, low-key crowd. Are they brewing the best beer in Long Beach? No. But if you don’t really care about what notes you’ll taste in your IPA and simply want to be left alone on a sunny patio, Belmont Brewing is your Saturday afternoon dream.