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Photograph: Daniel Hennessy Photography StrandBar at The Strand House

The best Manhattan Beach bars

Flip flops, great cocktails and a view of the ocean—drinking at these Manhattan Beach bars is pretty close to paradise

By Erin Kuschner

There are a few guarantees when you go out drinking in Manhattan Beach. Beers will probably be had at a sports bar. Flip cup will most likely be played at a dive bar. If you're looking for cocktails at a club, you've come to the wrong neighborhood. And wherever you find yourself, there will probably be a killer sunset to go along with your drink. The next time you're strolling around after visiting one of the nabe's best restaurants—or looking for a spot to celebrate Sunday Funday—head to one of these Manhattan Beach bars.

RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Manhattan Beach

7 best Manhattan Beach bars

Grunion's Sports Bar & Grill
Photograph: Courtesy Grunion's Sports Bar & Grill

1. Grunions Bar & Grill

Bars Sports Bars Manhattan Beach

The name of this Manhattan Beach sports bar might sound like something growing on the bottom of your foot, but trust us—Grunions is far more appetizing. Enter through the nondescript gray building and you'll find a friendly pub that skews on the older side (50 is around the average age of Grunions' patrons), with plenty of TVs that staff members are happy to change to your favorite game. Pints of Guinness are poured with the utmost skill, and if you're hungry, there's a nice menu to choose from: sandwiches, pasta, wings, shrimp and chips, and daily dinner specials. Breakfast is available on weekends, and it's totally acceptable to start drinking at 10am on a Saturday here.

Photograph: Courtesy Ercole's

2. Ercoles

Bars Wineries Manhattan Beach

This Manhattan Beach dive bar has been a staple for locals since 1927. Nondescript and proudly showing its age with initials-etched into wooden booths, Ercoles keeps its regulars happy with legendary burgers, which some like to swear are the best in LA. A dubious claim, but you can hardly argue with thick, juicy beef (fresh from next-door gourmet deli Manhattan Meats) and toppings piled high. The prices are reasonable across the board—pair your burger with a cold beer, or opt for a Dodger dog. Better yet, step in at the right times for the best deals, like $9 pitchers at happy hour (10am-6pm daily). With a crowded pool table in the back, classic tunes from a jukebox and a diverse crowd evenly split between salty old-timers and bro-y surfers, there is no lack of character. Cash-only, but there’s an ATM inside and several banks are walking distance.

Shark's Cove Sport's Bar & Restaurant
Shark's Cove Sport's Bar & Restaurant

3. Shark's Cove

Bars Wineries Manhattan Beach

Drop in for beers with a view at one of Manhattan Beach's best sports bars. The casual watering hole boasts an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, daily specials, a variety of happy hour libations and non-stop sports entertainment. Throw your next boys' night out in the private room (for parties of up to 75) featuring HD TV with BluRay, DirecTV programming and surround sound—plus an ocean-view deck. Sunday night football never looked so good.

Photograph: Daniel Hennessy Photography

4. StrandBar

Restaurants Contemporary American Manhattan Beach

Attached to The Strand House is StrandBar, a swanky cocktail bar with a killer view that serves margaritas made from scratch. Compared to the plethora of dive bars and sports bars in the area, StrandBar is a nicer—albeit more expensive—alternative when you're looking to sip on quality cocktails. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the floor makes way for South Bay residents to bust out their best moves to a live DJ. People-watch to your hearts content, though after a couple drinks, we bet you'll be out there dancing with everyone else.

BrewCo in Manhattan Beach
Photograph: Courtesy BrewCo

5. BrewCo

Bars Beer bars Manhattan Beach

BrewCo is for beer lovers. The boisterous bar near the pier offers a beer list that can be a little intimidating at first, but follow your gut and you'll most likely end up with a solid pint in front of you. A small list of California rotationals features picks from neighboring breweries, like Smog City, El Segundo and Monkish, along with national and international favorites. Snag a seat near the front of the bar, where you'll be able to take in a gorgeous ocean view.

OBs Pub & Grill
Photograph: Courtesy OBs Pub & Grill

6. OBs Pub & Grill

Bars Gastropubs Manhattan Beach

A true sports bar, OBs is a go-to spot on game day in Manhattan Beach, with TVs at every turn and peanut shells littering the tables (free peanuts, guys!). The bar has been around since 1985, and while service can be hit-or-miss, there's a definite sense of comfort here. A big beer list, whiskeys and wine dominate the drink menu, and while you won't find a ton of craft beer, you'll certainly find that favorite can you nursed back in college.

Shellback Tavern in Manhattan Beach
Photograph: Courtesy Shellback Tavern

7. Shellback Tavern

Bars Dive bars Manhattan Beach

Shellback is one of those bars that you vow never to return to. The one where you walk in and are like, "Guys. No. I can't." And then the bartender hands you a plastic shot cup filled with neon liquid, and you head to the back of the room to join an impromptu game of flip cup. You probably won't remember the rest of your evening, save for the gorgeous sunset that can be seen from behind Shellback's large ocean-facing windows. The food is mediocre, the service can be slow, but with a Shock Top in one hand and a golf ball in the other (Is there even room to play beer pong here? Whatever, we're doing it anyway.), you'll forgive Shellback's flaws and embrace it for what it is: a bro-ey dive bar in the South Bay, where every night can be legendary if you want it to be.


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