Monday, February 26, 2024

Open bar and fireworks? Bungalow Long Beach to host first NYE party—becoming what it’s always wanted to be

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At long last, the party it has always intended to throw is to become a reality at Bungalow Long Beach, as it will host an open bar with full view of the fireworks to be shot off at Alamitos Bay for the lounge’s New Year’s Eve party. It marks not only a steady and stable affair with the 2nd & PCH complex, which seems to have finally found its footing in terms of its relation to the larger Long Beach community, but also a decidedly distinct turn as the brand it altered to this year.

The $119 ticket is now being sold and reflects what owner Brent Bolthouse has always wanted to achieve when it came to his first Long Beach business endeavor: to create a party space like no other.

Wait—wasn’t Chef Michael Mina involved with Bungalow Long Beach?

Yes, Chef Michael Mina was once part of Bungalow when it was the Bungalow Kitchen—but that was never the original intention of Bolthouse’s vision for the massive, distinctly unique space at the 2nd & PCH retail complex.

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Bungalow Kitchen as a concept that was a pandemic-imposed alteration of the space: With bars at a full halt in during the pandemic, Bolthouse understood a massive pivot was needed. And given Mina had already consulted on a snack menu, it made sense to bring Mina on full-board.

Bolthouse emphasized to me earlier this year (and in interviews before) that Bungalow Kitchen’s rebranding to a lounge-like atmosphere (reflecting his two other Bungalow locations in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach) wasn’t to be a shock. It was always what he wanted.

“I am really good at creating vibes, and that’s what I do best,” he told me. “I create spaces that cater to the bar life. The space was designed and built for this when we started construction before the pandemic: DJs, lounge service, [and] bar vibes. And there was always an intention to return to the original plan. Now is finally the time to do it.”

There’s even an impressive mocktail list joining the cocktails, where a stellar zero-proof bubbly, French Bloom, joins an array of over 20 other mocktails.

There have been parties at Bungalow Long Beach—what is so different about this one?

Yes, Anderson. Paak was on hand for the grand opening of what would become the switch from Bungalow Kitchen to Bungalow Long Beach back in May.

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But this feels more like the Bungalow owning itself: These are the types of parties it was always intended to throw. Long gone are the cold trays of lobster and oysters and caviar and in are the shirts on servers saying, “I ran into my ex at the Bungalow.”

“We designed The Bungalow Long Beach to be the community’s living room, much like the design, every celebration and event we host is intended to elicit that vibe,” said Brenthouse. “As we ring in 2024, we look forward to welcoming in the community with the ultimate Long Beach house party: We’re talking premium open bar, live DJ set from Steve Dub, and a panoramic view of the firework show over Alamitos Bay.”

While food will not be included in the party—that means their much-loved pizzas as well as their tacos, fried squid bites, tots, cold noodle salad…—will be on your own tab. And the open bar will be premium: that means you can expect unlimited Patrón but don’t be expecting to have Clasa Azul endlessly poured down your gullet.

And while the complex has had a steady sense of stress among spaces inside the complex—multiple closures have occurred: Tocaya closed as its most recent loss, Hungry Angelina closed its doors in December of 2022; Otosan closed in August; Ample Hills closed in February…—Bungalow Long Beach joins a list of staples like Noble Bird and Italian Homemade that have remained alive and well since opening with the complex.

Bungalow Long Beach’s New Year’s Eve celebration will take place on Sunday, Dec. 31, beginning at 8PM. They are located at 6400 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #200. For 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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