Successful Koreatown beer-focused gastropub, Beer Belly, is preparing to open its doors in downtown Long Beach this week. Boasting 24 tap handles, this second location for owner Jimmy Han has been just over two years in the making. Located on the south west corner of Long Beach Boulevard and 3rd Street, the nearly 3,000 square foot restaurant and bar combines both elements of modern, upscale design and unassuming simplicity.
Patrons of Beer Belly Los Angeles will notice one big difference in the new beach-side location right away: Liquor behind the bar. “For me it’s all about creativity,” says Han about the offerings at the Long Beach location, which include not only fresh, local beers but also creative cocktails. “The whole idea is crafty beer, crafty food,” says Beer Belly’s cocktail consultant, Karen Grill, a Los Angeles bartender who’s been working at Han’s Koreatown dive-bar Frank N Hanks for years. She points out that the addition of crafty libations is in line with Long Beach’s growing market for cocktails. “It’s really exciting to be a part of it,” says Grill, who will be helping bring the new location’s bar staff up to speed. Customers should expect to see the cocktail menu change with the seasons.
The decision for Jimmy Han to open a second Beer Belly in Long Beach was a no-brainer for the entrepreneur. “I love the community,” says Han. “There were other places we looked at. But the feel and vibe of Long Beach was right and I had to go with my gut.”
You can expect Beer Belly to showcase many local brews and for there to be a constant rotation of fresh new options. Twenty one of the 24 tap handles will be dedicated to craft brews with one tap devoted to fresh brewed coffee and two cocktails. With Beer Belly surrounded by neighboring brewery Beachwood BBQ and Blendery, along with nearby Timeless Pints and other new breweries soon to open their doors, we can hope to see several taps dedicated to hyper-local brews. “Its all about staying local, growing local,” says Han. “We want to showcase all of the new breweries and allow people to try new things.”
Beer Belly Chef Wes Lieberher has kept a good amount of the menu from the Koreatown location the same, with favorites like duck fat fries and the Beer Belly grilled cheese as fixtures. But there will be plenty of culinary surprises. Expect to find creative additions at the Long Beach location include LBC Crab Corn — corn off the cob with jumbo lump crab, bell peppers, chipotle aioli, mozzarella, lime and micro cilantro — and a Fried Chicken Cuban — pounded and cuban spiced breaded chicken, chili braised ham hock, apple beer mustard, house pickled jalapeños, Swiss cheese on a sesame baguette.
Beer Belly officially opens its doors to the public on Friday, November 11 at 5 p.m. Regular weekend hours will run Friday and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday until midnight. Weekday hours will be from 5 p.m. dinner to approximately midnight. Be sure to sign up for the Beer Belly Long Beach mailing list and get your first beer at the new space for just $1!