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The Magic of Retro Row, Fourth Street

The Magic of Retro Row, Fourth Street

Retro Row has a ring to it, doesn’t it? The name has existed since the 90s and is familiar to those who have been long-time Long Beach natives and members of the community. Us natives know the name well.

Photo source: Angelica “Jelly” C., Yelp Elite

How? You might ask. Well, just like you, curious reader, we’re looking for places to vibe, hang, sip, explore. All the things. As curious people, whether you’re visiting Long Beach for the first time or have been here forever, we ask questions like, 

“Let’s meet somewhere fun. Where should we go?”

“Hey, do you know where to shop, eat, and hang?”

“Forget the touristy stuff. Where’s the go-to spot that locals go to?”

Retro Row is that spot. 

Its name, if slightly mentioned in any conversation, by the way, a name that originated through the chatter of The Pike Bar & Restaurant Owner Chris Reese (a past bandmate of punk rock band Social Distortion) piques our interest. Does it not? We can’t help it, we just want to know more about Retro Row.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

Retro Row is also known as the establishment called Fourth Street located on (you guessed it) 4th Street between Cherry Ave and Junipero Avenue in the big wide city that we love, Long Beach, California. Just like the really cool streets in any cool cities, like Pico Blvd, for example, that stretches across Los Angeles serving good food and sips to Angelenos, Retro Row is similar in that sense to those who have lived and thrived in Long Beach. 

Photo source: Fourth Street

What makes this street so great is the fact that this is a completely independent community of creators, musicians, artisans, fashionistas, vintage lovers, and all the above. The community that makes up Retro Row are eclectic business owners with good vision and good taste and us, the consumers, customers, and epic supporters that keep Retro Row alive and thriving with our coins!

The soul of Retro Row is in its close-knit people-loving community, business independence, and appreciation for diversity. The establishment celebrates its combination of uniqueness, its beautiful weirdness, its colorful and diverse differences. That’s the power of Retro Row. It’s self-made, and lives and breathes by the way of community. By the 2000s and onwards, the word of mouth of this destination grew and spread as the city grew along with it. 

Some might draw Retro Row’s birth to Kerstin Kansteiner who became one of the first business-owners and pioneers in the area who had the smarts to invest in her own coffeehouse now labeled Portfolio Coffeehouse and later owning and reimagining the Art Theater, a wine stop named Art Du Vin, and the bustling eaterie Berlin Bistro. In many ways, I’d like to think she inspired other unique business owners at the time to take the opportunity to expand on their business ideas. 

The rest is history, paving the way for what Fourth Street has become and continues to be today – a creative launching pad for ideas and enterprises.

Photo source: Gusto Bread

I wouldn’t be doing you justice if I didn’t share with you the prime spots that I find most intriguing (and delicious!) – from dining, shopping, and great sips! So, here are the spots I find most illuminating and worth stopping by and checking out. Don’t forget to tell them Long Beach Home Living sent you!

  1. Gusto Bread – 2710 e 4th st (for carb lovers)
  2. Salud Juice – 1944 e 4th st (for health nuts)
  3. Meow – 2210 E 4th St. (for vintage loving fashionistas + shoppers)
  4. The Social List – 2105 E 4th St. (for day drinking + bites)
  5. #9 On The Go – 2444 E 4th Street. (for our Vietnamese pho lovers)

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