Sitting on the southeast corner of Anaheim Street and Stanley is Supply and Demand. No, it is not a lesson in basic economics, it is a cocktail bar, and a fantastic one at that. The previous bar in that location was known for being raucous and brimming with a contentious energy. Supply and Demand is on a completely different wavelength with a focus on community love, curated drinks, and propping up local artists and musicians. Not to say they aren’t edgy—they are. They’re just a sharper edge, like a refined chef’s knife versus a rusty cleaver.
Supply and Demand opened in July 2019 by Erica and Kevin Norton, and Jair Aguirre. Erica, a Long Beach local since ’97 always loved the diversity and the nightlife of the city. Having been involved in the restaurant business for most of her life, she was impassioned to create a place where everyone would feel like they belong. While Kevin, a musician, wanted to build the coolest music space in Long Beach. Both of their wishes came together to create their ideal neighborhood hangout. “Like the bar on Cheers, but with Minor Threat on the jukebox,” said Kevin.
When I first visited the bar, it was during the height of the pandemic. As I walked through the space it was buzzing with creative potential. Behind the counter, the shelving was adorned with retro boomboxes that celebrate the street culture of the 1980’s. On the walls hung music memorabilia, show photos and a collection of lowbrow art. There was a stage perfectly set up for live music and performances. A green screen area created for the 60+ musical artists that have filmed livestream events that Kevin and SOS Booking streamed on Twitch for free during the height of the pandemic. The entire space was clearly built and designed to showcase artists of all types, as Erica told me, “this is a space for artists by artists”. After taking a brief tour, I stepped outside to take a seat at their parklet, awaiting some food and drink.
The food menu is simple yet crafty, with attention to detail. Handmade tortillas are wrapped around your choice of house marinated carne asada, achiote chicken and al pastor options that also include a delicious vegan picadillo and vegan street corn. Guests have a choice of tacos and/or mulitas, which are a take on street style quesadillas, and everything is served with their homemade red or green salsa.
I really dig the tacos, and I particularly enjoyed the al pastor. The marinated meat was sweet and savory and topped with a charred pineapple salsa that brought a fiery heat. The handmade tortillas were also a plus. Once their kitchen is built out, they also plan to serve Mexican-inspired finger foods and American breakfast with the intent to keep everything affordable and continuing to foster a welcoming environment for the community.
Erica has developed a fun cocktail menu that is focused on quality and value. Many of their cocktails are focused around highlighting small-batch distilleries, showcasing fun ingredients, and presentations worthy of an Instagram post. Their beer menu currently offers 7 draft beer options ranging from popular beer options to popular local brewers. We can expect their beer options to grow as the year progresses to a whopping 12 draft beers. Staff is friendly, engaging and knowledgeable, and happy to share their favorites with guests. This path has led to a beer and cocktail menu that is both familiar and compelling.
The first drink I tried was the Prick. The aptly named drink is pink and served in a saguaro-shaped vessel comprising of tequila blanco, prickly pear purée, lime juice, and ginger beer. It is light, fizzy, and refreshing.
Secondly, I had the Funkadelic which was made of jalapeño-infused mezcal, tepache, simple syrup, and lime juice. This drink was definitely funky as its key ingredient, the tepache, is a beverage made of fermented pineapple rinds. The result is earthy, tangy, and carries a little spice.
Following that, I got the “Killa Beezzzz” which is a rum blend with orange juice, pineapple juice, mango purée, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and grated nutmeg. It is their most popular drink and a tropical delight perfect for summer drinking. It is fruity, bright, and aromatic.
Lastly, I got the Camp Fire which is simply rye whiskey, roasted marshmallow syrup, and Angostura bitters. Reminiscent of an old fashioned, this drink is peppery, sweet, and smoky. Served with a flaming marshmallow garnish, this is a fun drink to enjoy with friends.
Overall, they are an amazing local bar and live music venue. The name Supply and Demand was inspired by artist Shepard Fairey (aka/OBEY) who had written a book of the same name. Erica and the team wanted to take the influence of guerilla street art, pushing the envelope of what the bar scene in Long Beach can be, embracing art, culture and diversity and taking on different subcultures including punk, hardcore, metal, hip hop & EDM. “If you don’t belong, don’t be long,” mused Erica, referencing other more exclusive bars. “At the heart of it, we want to be a space where we could just be.”