Written and Photographed by Cassidy Liston
Long Beach is home to many bars, ranging from trendy to divey, waiting to satisfy your thirst. No matter your preference in libation or atmosphere there is a bar for you, steeped in rich history and wrapped in beautiful architecture. Here are a few historical gems to visit on your next bar hopping adventure.
The Blind Donkey
The Blind Donkey can be easy to miss with it’s low-key entrance, a set of stairs that lead underneath the Broadlind Hotel. The Broadlind itself gives off an air of mystery with its dramatic red brick arches and massive windows. The building is done in an Italian Renaissance style with some old school New Orleans vibes. But down in the basement is where you’ll find me. The building was built in 1928 making the basement prime real estate for a high-end speakeasy/gambling den, and the Blind Donkey does not forget its roots. They serve up some delicious whiskey cocktails and have over one-hundred different whiskeys on site. The whiskey sours are an eternally popular and equally refreshing drink concocted with their house-made sour mix, simple syrup and most importantly whiskey.
Imagine this; you’re walking down the street in Long Beach, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all you’re missing is a drink in your hand. If you’re like many people in Long Beach’s history you’re headed for the Lafayette building. The Spanish Baroque style building has had a fun reputation since its inception; from secret basement speakeasy’s to the famous tiki-themed Outrigger Room in the 1950’s, the Lafayette continues its march into drinking infamy with an always trendy wine bar, District Wine. Plenty of natural light and a dark wood interior leave you feeling elegant sipping on your favorite glass of red or one of their signature wine cocktails in this historical hotspot! Can’t decide on one thing? Ask your bartender for help constructing a flight.
The 4th Horseman
Beer, pizza, and Renaissance Revival architecture? Sounds like a party to me. Everything about the Walker Building on Pine Avenue is eye-catching. From the smooth concrete detailing to the large glass windows and extravagant pillars, you could see how for almost fifty years this was a place where people would spend money. Named after the department store it housed, the Walker Building now uses its beauty to house Long Beach residents, an architecture firm, and one very interesting bar/pizza parlor. The 4th Horseman is a horror lover’s paradise, equal parts kitschy and scary, but beyond the fun ambiance, you go to the 4th Horseman for beer. With a rotating selection of bottles, cans, and drafts there’s bound to be something for everyone, which may as well be Long Beach’s motto.
It can be difficult to appreciate your own city. It’s easy to become desensitized to the beautiful buildings with surprising histories we pass by every day. I hope you take a moment to simply look up and enjoy what you see, learn something new, and make new history. And having a great drink too? What more could you ask for?
If you enjoy food, drinks, and history come take a tour with me at Beach City Food Tours, Come curious and come hungry!