Monday, April 22, 2024

This (free) Big Red Bus crawl will explore some of the best Long Beach dive bars

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As we push toward celebrating Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call—a 10-day, 15-event celebration of our city’s rich bar culture and the people who make it happen—we will offer a series of features that highlight everything from our most stellar cocktail programs at restaurants to Long Beach dive bars (such as this event, part of the 15 that will be celebrated throughout its span)… All to raise glass to a social and economic driver that rarely receives the love its deserves. For more information on Long Beach Last Call, click here.

Long Beach has pride in many things but one unparalleled sense of pride it holds is for its dive bars. Unapologetic, unfettered, unwavering, Long Beach’s love for dive bars is one that shouldn’t be messed with—and with that, there will be a free Big Red Bus ride that will explore some of our finest on Monday, Mar. 4 beginning at 3PM at Crow’s in Naples.

And is all a part of Long Beach Last Call.

Wait—what is Long Beach Last Call and how do I score a spot on this free bus ride-slash-crawl thing?

After the success of my restaurant week last year during August, Long Beach Food Scene Week, bar owners and tenders rightfully asked: “What about a week for us?”

So I decided to oblige and present Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call, a ten-day long celebration of Long Beach’s amazing bar culture, it’s even more amazing workers, and the industry that often goes without recognition as one of our city’s largest economic and social drivers.

Thanks to my collaborators—Scott Lennard of RNDC and Chris Lewis of Nosotros Tequila y Mezcal—we’ve created some 15 events across the ten-day span on Last Call. To say the least, we’ve worked our asses off and we hope you’ll come out and celebrate with us (that is, if we make it to Day 10 alive).

It has resulted in events like this one, which will kick off at Crow’s on Mar. 4 at 3PM. The other bars will be announced Feb. 26.

This will be a part of our Last Call’s “Dive Bar Bingo” event, where patrons are encouraged to grab a card from varying locations and check off their list in order to win prizes at a party on Mar. 4 at 7PM at Roxanne’s.

And while this is free, an RSVP is required so click here to reserve your spot.

Why are Long Beach dive bars such a thing here—and isn’t that a derogatory term to refer to them?

For the uninitiated, the term “dive” is definitively derogatory, insinuating run-down, nasty, if not outright avoidable spaces—but when it comes to bars and especially the multitude of 48s (that is, alcohol licenses allow an establishment to serve alcohol and alcohol alone), the more divey, the better respected.

And we’ve had a massive change in our dive bar scene that hasn’t been seen since the 1990s: Divey staples like the Red Room (where I witnessed a gun go off inside once and is now Baby Gee’s), Ashley’s on 4th (now El Barrio Cantina), Fern’s (which was then The Bird and is now The Hideout)… Have all become non-existent. That isn’t to downsize their new owners, many of whom have outright elevated Long Beach’s stature in the overall cocktail community.

Due to this, there are many that want to uphold (if not outright preserve) classic, seedy, underbelly-like, wonderful, sometimes dangerous, stucco ceiling-filled, popcorn machine-ready, questionable health code ethics-laden Long Beach dive bars that deserve to keep their dried-out lime light like any other watering hole.

Click here for my full feature on Crow’s and its new owners.

The Big Red Bus Dive Bar Crawl, part of Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call, will kick off on Monday, Mar. 4 at 3PM at Crow’s in Naples, located at 5728 E. 2nd St. (Not to be confused with Crow’s Nest, another bar.)

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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