The inaugural Long Beach Night Market—a collaboration between Recreational Coffee owner Bobby Hernandez and business partner Rob Marquez and the popup food world of the region—was a glowing success: With little advertising, hundreds showed up to pour into the tiny-but-mighty alley and hangout space that sits behind Recreational Coffee and Rosemallows.
The result? A revival of nightlife in DTLB, a decent chunk of business for the 3rd Street corridor between Long Beach Boulevard and The Promenade, a new event that is likely to become a regular mainstay should crowds continue to be this consistent.
The event returns this month on Nov. 18 and brings with it more local food sitting side-by-side with some of the region’s best. Particularly of highlight are Shlap Muan, the Cambodian chicken wing joint in North Long Beach that serves up what I call the city’s best wings, and Speak Cheezy Pizza, the Belmont Heights pizzeria (with an additional pizzeria on wheels) that is dedicated to the almighty sourdough pie.
“I know that Long Beach Night Market was the brain child of Jimmy, James Oreste, and Rob,” Hernandez said. “They saw LA’s night market and we figured Long Beach needs this. We have such a diverse and creative food community here that it’s a no brainer. On top of that, I know that Downtown Long Beach needs to be activated. Stats show that increased foot traffic and a community presence lowers crime, clears out sketchy activity. The people need this, the city needs it, and we’re here to make it happen.”
Hernandez’s point about activation is a key one: With a skyrocket in residents both experiencing homelessness and earning less combined with a post-pandemic Downtown bereft of events, Hernandez is not the only DTLB business owner who recognizes that the key to Downtown’s future lies in foot traffic, community, and, well, hanging out.
“The point of the event is simple,” Han said. “Long Beach Night Market is bringing you the best international food from our local friends. So walk the sidewalks and alleys and find a new favorite bite to eat. And maybe come back again.”
The Long Beach Night Market is free to enter and will take place at the southwest corner of 3rd Street and Long Beach Boulevard on Nov. 18 from 6PM to 11PM.