As a lifelong resident of Manhattan Beach, I am proud to be a local in what is and has always been an amazing city.
Manhattan Beach has changed dramatically in the last 15 years, and many of the old spots that made Manhattan Beach the off-the-radar, mom-and-pop store, surfer beach town it once was are now gone. Many people only know Manhattan the way it is seen today, with a multitude of highly-rated restaurants, boutique hotels and high-end shops. Now, don’t get me wrong – I welcome some of these changes and frequent many of these amazing restaurants, such as MB Post, Simmzy’s, Darren’s and Little Sister. However, this blog is an ode to the Manhattan Beach of the past.
Where To Eat:
Uncle Bill’s – Around since 1961, this place serves up breakfast and lunch daily. It’s the must-hit breakfast joint for that old school breakfast you know and love. Pancakes, French Toast, Omelets etc. – Uncle Bill’s has got it all.
Beach Pizza – For over 28 years, this spot on Highland Ave. has been serving up delicious pizza and other comfort food. Chicken Wings and mozzarella sticks are a big hit, along with any of their pizzas. Personal choice – go with the “Manhattan Man.”
El Sombrero – Open since 1975, this local Mexican restaurant is a favorite. The food is delicious, authentic to its roots, and the staff is mostly the same from back when I first started going with my parents.
Where To Go:
The Beach – Some of the best things in life are free; well almost. You have to factor in the $.25 for 15 minutes at the parking meter. Manhattan “Beach” is the best beach in Southern CA. I don’t care what anyone else says, I have been to them all, and it just is. Walk down by the shore and grab some shells (leave some for the rest of us), jump in the water or chill on the sand – it’s paradise.
Manhattan Beach Pier and Roundhouse – The Roundhouse was built in 1922 and is the famous circle at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier. It has been through some renovations over the years and now hosts the Marina Studies Lab and Aquarium, a fun place to stop in and learn about the marine life, oceans and environment. The Aquarium has ever-changing exhibits of the various species that are native to the South Bay area, including a Shark Tank and a Tide Pool Touch Tank.
Surf Concepts – On your way into town, stop by the OG of Manhattan Beach surf apparel. Surf Concepts has been in Manhattan Beach since 1989; it carries all the different surf/skate labels you can think of for both women and men. The friendly guys/girls in the shop know what they are talking about and can help you get a surfboard, wetsuit, bikini or the right pair of shades.
Ercoles – Established in 1927, Ercoles is the neighborhood “Cheers.” This is a special place that merges youth with age. My pop and his old cronies, who have frequented this bar as their “one night a week hangout,” stool up right next to the young entrepreneurs looking for an old school seven and seven. Just put your phone away and you may learn about how Manhattan “used to be.”
Shellback Tavern – One block over and one block down from Ercoles is the other long-time establishment with a beach vibe décor that deserves a visit. This place can get crazy, so be prepared to get after it. Mixed with an eclectic bunch of individuals, Shellback is very popular on the weekends, with a more youthful crowd taking many, many, many shots. Get ready to party the way Manhattan Beach does it best.
Michael Grady is an agent working out of the Venice/Marina del Rey office at The Agency. He has experience in both residential and commercial real estate and has personally been involved in more than 200 purchase, sale and lease transactions. Michael is a proud resident of Manhattan Beach, where he was born and raised.