Didn’t do much over the week-end in terms of hitting bars. In fact didn’t do anything. To much hanging out, barbecuing, and eating at a restaurant where I had already had a drink, Sutton Place. Wish I could tell you I had a great meal but in fact I didn’t. Not only did the restaurant run out of bread which meant we had none to sop up the sauce in the Mussels we ordered, my tuna was so bad that I couldn’t eat it and they took the price off the bill. This was interesting because my buddy ordered exactly the same thing and his came out beautifully. The two dishes didn’t even look the same and then the manager tried to tell me I must have ordered mine well-done. That would be cute, the name of the dish was “Rare Tuna.” Luckily the waiter, probably at the risk of losing his job, stuck up for me and said that I distinctly said I will have the same after my friend ordered. Oh well, the bartender was nice. Maybe they just had a bad night. But I digress. Monday I got back to business.
On the corner of West Beech and California is this old neighborhood bar. Kind of appropriate because this is an old neighborhood. The bar has a plastic brick front with a wood grained Formica top. The back of the bar looked to be fake brick as well with narrow wooden shelves holding the liquor selection. There are a few carriage style lights hanging behind the bar. The ceiling is dark brown with a couple of overhead fans with clear, old fashioned light fixtures hanging underneath. The dark wood walls were covered with autographed pictures of actors including one of one of my favorites, Lee Marvin. Although he was great as both Kid Shelleen and Strawn in Cat Ballou, he is much better, in my opinion, when he plays more scarier roles such as Nick Devlin in Prime Cut. But, again, I digress. There were also numerous montages of photos of regular customers.
There is a back room with a pool table and a television that must have a VCR connected because there are a couple of shelves of tapes in the passageway between the two rooms on a bookcase that also holds a number of standard bar reference books.
I had a bottle of Budweiser, as it seemed like the appropriate thing to be drinking here.
589) Whale’s Tale
A nice little beach bar not quite on the beach but rather on 916 West Beech. It has a copper topped bar with a corrugated metal front with a mural on it depicting an underwater seascape. The same artist did the bathrooms and portions of the ceiling. Lots of large plastic fish are hanging on the walls and ceiling including a not-so-friendly looking shark and his next meal.
The place has seven televisions with sports on six of them and Quick Draw on the other one.
The wall immediately behind the wooden bar chairs is lined with a bench with small tables and chairs in front. Above the bench is a narrow mirror and above that the white wood slat wall are not only the plastic fish but pictures of old Long Beach, a porthole, a ships wheel, and hooks for coats mounted on what looks to be French waiters and waitresses carrying trays holding bottles of wine. There is also a nice picture of a dock, the kind of place you would like to hang out and have a beer.
A large ship's wheel with ship’s lanterns hanging from the spokes hangs from the ceiling towards the back and lights up the place a bit. Christmas lights line the walls above the booths in the back. There are a couple of round glass tables up front by the windows with lots of ferns and that area has a bit of a different feel to it than the rest of the place, but it is small. The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I had fish sandwiches while sitting at the bar (special, $8 for the sandwich and a draft Miller Lite). Bar Man is not a big fan of Miller Lite but couldn’t pass up the deal. The sandwiches were very good and came with a large portion of fries.
There are frozen drink machines behind the bar to churn out margaritas, strawberry daiquiris, and pina coladas or, as my dear departed mother used to call them, penis colossals.
I had the aforementioned Miller Lite served to me by the friendly bartender Jenna.
This place, at West Beech and Wisconsin, has a good-sized knotty pine pegged bar top, quite nice, and kind of a sea-foam green carpeted front and a green tile foot rest with a rubber tread. Mostly knotty pine walls give this place a nice cabin-like feel. Overhead fans and various shades of green tiled floor. Booths along one wall are separated from the bar by a partition. Kind of a brown fabric back to the bar with wooden shelves holding the liquor and a few beer steins. Pennants promoting beer and the New York Yankees hang from the ceiling and provide most of the décor. There is a pool table in the back. The place was full of what appeared to be regulars and I was quite impressed by the degree of intoxication they had managed to achieve given that it was only about 1:00 P.M.
There are open windows lining the street side with a narrow ledge just below for drinks and small green wooden stools sit in front of the ledge. I also noticed stools next to the windows on the sidewalk so I guess you can sit out there and have a drink as well. It appears that certain rules are not too rigidly enforced in this part of town because this is the second bar here, Shines being the other one, where smoking doesn’t seem to be discouraged. Ah well, Bar Man’s philosophy has always been live and let live.
I had a gin and tonic.
591) Tiki Bar
Well, from the looks of the shark out back you might think this would be kind of a neat, well, Tiki Bar. The torn plastic coverings over the windows were a tip-off that all would not be as it seemed.
It is actually a bit of a dive, but not in a totally negative way. Just nothing too much about it that conveys a sense of being a Tiki Bar except for a few masks hanging on one of the walls. The rectangular bar has a well-worn cement top rimed with bamboo, a plain corrugated metal front and a wooden footrest. The bar chairs are kind of neat though, bamboo with worn floral patterned cloth seats. A surfboard covered with pictures of regulars hangs over the bartender’s station in the center of the bar. Nothing fancy about the center island, a plain white cabinet holding the liquor and a two step wood shelf displaying the bottled beers they offer, and not much of a selection I might add. They did have Red Stripe though. There are also ice chests, well liquor, and all kinds of tubes for beer and soda lines. It combines to give the place a kind of industrial look back there. Corrugated tin lining the lower half of the vanilla colored wood walls reinforces this factory-like atmosphere. The glasses hanging above the bar looked like they had at least a couple of years of dust accumulated on them so I guess they are just for show.
The windows on two sides were open and given that it was kind of a drizzly day and the air-conditioner was on you got a nice damp chill sitting at the bar. There appeared to be a garden area back behind the shark but it didn’t look to be open. Given the weather and the time of day that wasn’t too surprising. I might try to stop by here at night sometime.
A beat-up pool table with a worn blue felt top sat in the back. I could see the warp and slant of the surface from where I was sitting at the bar. There would definitely be a home-court advantage for the locals.
I had a Guinness because the Sam Adams Summer Ale just kept spurting foam. Interestingly the beer taps don’t sit over a drain so any spillage just goes, well, I am not sure where it goes.
592) Billy’s Beach Café
After stopping back at my friends house to say good-bye and pick up my bags I headed to the train station leaving myself enough time to stop at Billy’s on my way. It is at 222 West Park Avenue which is kind of the main drag up until you go further west at which point West Beech seems to take over that function. The bar here has a turquoise plastic-like top with a pastel blue, green, and yellow tiled front. The bar rail is made out of plain old plumbing pipe. Would have been more appropriate for the Tiki Bar. The walls are pastel purple and orange with the lower part of one side kind of a pale tan stone topped with about a three foot wide band of mirrors. Above the mirrors is painted a seaweed and seashell seascape painted on a pale orange wall. Hanging on that wall are a few large and colorful fish and a somewhat out of place pink and green chameleon. Very colorful beach scenes are painted on most of the other walls and it makes you feel like you are having a drink on a beach.
Numerous papier-mâché parrots sit on perches hanging from the pale green ceiling with light yellow duct work. Spinning rattan ceiling fans keep the air circulating.
One dining area with booths is separated from the bar by a divider of the same type stone as lined the bottom part of the one wall. It is also a couple of steps up. Two round tables with bar chairs sit against the divider on the bar side and one sits by the large front window. The other small dining area is in back and consists of small square tables and fancy rattan chairs with bright beach scenes painted on the walls.
They have a number of televisions so this looks to be a great place to hang out and watch a game or two. The Ali/Wepner fight was playing on a couple of televisions and I really thought Wepner might take him this time. Luckily there wasn’t anyone around to accept my bet.
This place was packed when I got to Long Beach on Friday but it was pretty empty early on a rainy Monday afternoon. I had a gin and tonic and then braved the rain to catch the train back to Brooklyn.
Despite the kind of yucky weather, some sun, then rain, then humidity, then rain again, it was a very nice day and productive as well with five bars hit bringing the total to date to 592 leaving 418 to go.