Sip Lounge, inside the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, is like a city with four distinct neighborhoods. Once guests walk past the lobby's large video wall, they're greeted by rows of wine bottles in the glass-enclosed cellar bookending the bar. Behind it, curtains billow beside a water feature that cascades along the wall like the zero-gravity streams found on the moon. Over in the dining room, large tables accommodate groups for gatherings over a local shrimp cocktail or cheese plate. The living room's plush couches cradle pairs for intimate conversations that can be shared over a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a craft beer.
Outside, the large patio embraces the busy energy of Ocean Boulevard without succumbing to it. Umbrellas, heaters, and glass walls separate its confines from the street's frenzy of beeps, brakes, and Model T hand cranks, and a focal fire pit warms both the temperature and the ambiance. The typical soundtrack of upbeat pop and instrumental music supplements Sip Lounge's live series, which hosts local artists from across Southern California.
With a bar, restaurant, and event space inspired by classic Italian design, Bliss 525 swathes guests in an upscale atmosphere. Arched doorways inside the facility open onto a floating staircase and dining tables with high-backed chairs. At mealtime, plates fill with hearty but healthy Californian fare such as Caribbean pasta, braised short ribs, and bruchetta stuffed chicken.
Each week, Bliss 525 hosts blues, jazz, rock, and soul musicians inside the bar. Guests can pair the melodic notes and tinted hues of sunset on the outdoor patio with selections from Bliss 525's full bar of fine wines, tap beers, and fresh-squeezed cocktails.
Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
As the chefs at Paradise Piano Bar and Restaurant plate seasonally inspired fare, bartenders concoct an expansive list of specialty libations within a modern-art-bedecked interior. Like a linebacker who babysits on weekends, brown-sugar paninis are both meaty and slightly sweet with apple-wood smoked bacon, chicken breast, swiss cheese, and onions ($12). Seafaring patrons can sink their fangs into pan-roasted salmon, decked out in a sweet curry-coconut cream sauce and veggies ($21), or name and then lovingly serenade sautéed tilapia accompanied by veggies and a white-wine sauce ($19). Tuesdays host a feast of such baja classics as chicken enchiladas ($12) and massive burritos ($8), and Mondays roll out home-style specialties including fish 'n' chips ($14), chicken marsala ($19), and fried chicken ($17). Open until midnight Monday–Saturday, diners can grab a bite after an evening of carousing or the night shift at the spork factory.
K.C Branaghan's menu puts burgers and sandwiches alongside five different boxty (Irish potato pancake) dishes and a hearty list of traditional Irish fayre, including fish and chips ($12.95), shepherd's pie ($12.95) and corned beef and cabbage ($13.95). To start, dig into a bowl of creamy house-made potato leek soup ($6.95 for a bowl) or a plate of Irish nachos, freshly made tortilla chips smothered with corned beef and melted cheese and topped with a jalapeño cream sauce with avocado ($10.95). Wrap mitts around a Stilton blue-cheese pub-burger ($11.95) before summoning a serving of the grilled Atlantic salmon topped with a raspberry-port coulis ($17.95). Branaghan’s special cottage pie is stuffed with vegetables and tender beef, slow-cooked with Guinness in rich brown gravy, and topped with mashed potatoes ($12.95). Pair your eats with a side of fresh homemade Irish brown- or soda-bread ($3.50), a glass of wine, or one of more than 12 draft beers.
A warm breeze wafts over the iron chairs and benches gathered under palm trees. Lights glow on the airy porches of the buildings across the courtyard. Inside, guests clink wineglasses under a spiral of white string lights, surrounded by bistro tables topped with floral arrangements and tall wooden wine racks. CA WineRoom's outdoor and indoor seating immerses visitors in an intimate atmosphere inspired by the state's coastal and Spanish roots.
CA WineRoom's wine director, Noah Buffet, extends this local focus to his menu: he features only California wines and specializes in smaller batches from family wineries. The selection spans cabernets, chardonnays, and zinfandels from the coast of Mendocino County, Napa Valley, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, and there's a handful of California craft beers on tap as well. Live music often complements drinking here: guest musicians, including pianists, monkeys with accordions, and folk bands, play each Thursday, and the lounge hosts live jazz every Saturday night.