Thursday, May 30, 2024

La Playa Night Market hopes to become Downtown Long Beach’s monthly twilight outing

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Long Beach’s food scene is certainly booming—be it with upcoming restaurants or its pizza renaissance or…—but it would be intellectually dishonest to not acknowledge its lacks. And that is where La Playa Night Market comes in: When it comes to the rich world of night markets—where joints like the 626 Night Market or El Gato Night Market have altered the neighborhoods that have hosted them—we lack.

And La Playa Night Market hopes to change just that.

la playa night market

So what La Playa Night Market, exactly? A locally-owned and -operated operation

Set to take place on May 10 from 5:30PM to 10PM, La Playa Night Market is going to bring some of the best food vendors from the region while also having a full bar hosted by the city’s tiki leader, The Bamboo Club (which just celebrated its fifth anniversary at its Anaheim location).

“We want to create an ongoing market that grows with time and provide a safe and fun environment for people to come—y’know, have a few drinks, dance, shop, eat, make your neighborhood your own,” said organizer Sal Flores-Trimble. “There will be a rotating group of vendors every month and different kinds of music in the hopes that we can draw different crowds for the same purpose: Supporting locally-operated events. And I think the most important thing is that we get the support from our community to help us make this a successful event. And I wanna emphasize: a locally-owned and -operated event.”

That last part is clutch: Long Beach has been (rightfully) attracting festivals across the board from giants in the game: Be it Insomniac’s dance festivals that range from house to dubstep to trance or food festivals like the San Diego-based West Coast Taocs & Beer Festival (which is, let’s be honest, a more corporatized version of Flores-Trimble’s Long Beach-based version).

But the La Playa team wants to take a hold of that before the entire festival scene becomes, well, ran by outsiders. And that likely explains their venerable lineup:

On top of this, the market provides the details that some might not focus on immediately but are essential to creating a vibe: We’re talking live music, some retail options, some games, plenty of reasons to dance, and, yes, there will parking available on site.

Even better, in the name of Mother’s Day, the first 100 moms? They score themselves a gift.

La Playa Night Market aims to activate DTLB ‘beyond the normal areas’ and home in on Long Beach’s Latino base

La Playa isn’t the first night market in Downtown Long Beach—The Queen Mary announced they will have a summer night market aboard the ship and the Long Beach Night Market has been attempting to become a regular facet in the Downtown core for quite some time—but La Playa wants to achieve two different things that are beyond just bringing vendors to a specific space: It wants to become a regular, monthly thing as well as activate a Downtown space that rarely if ever receive love.

Even more, the need to activate the Downtown (and Long Beach)’s night scene is more important that ever.

“I wanted to start a new night market that focuses on activating somewhere beyond the ‘regular’ Downtown area,” Sal said. “And, of course, wanted to give it with some Latino flavor—after all we make up almost half of our population.”

That includes a chancla game that we can only presume will be throwing a sandal at a specific target (and no, your mijo cannot be added to the target list even though it is Mother’s Day).

“It’s honestly about having fun, about lifting Downtown Long Beach up, about activating nightlife,” Flores-Trimble said. “And I think those are things we can all agree on.”

La Playa Night Market will take place at the Scottish Rite space, located at 855 Elm Ave., on Friday, May 10 from 5:30 PM to 10PM. For tickets and more information, click here.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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