Fun on First St. in Long Beach's East Village

The single block stretch of First Street, between Elm and Linden Avenues, in Long Beach’s East Village Arts District, presents an amazing amalgam of places to eat, shop, drink, grow and create. In this short downtown span you can go from perusing vinyl to eating tacos, from sampling the work of silversmiths to smelling the wares of soapmakers.


MAKE Collectives (430 E First St) offers handmade textiles and jewelry, crystals, candles and beauty products along with an amazingly curated selection of vinyl LPs, from rock to funk to everything in between. Hellbent Silversmith (433 E First St) not only has all manner of handcrafted silver jewelry but also creates custom orders. They also offer group silversmithing workshops each weekend as well as private smithing workshops.


The district’s oldest coffee shop, East Village Cafe (443 E 1st St) not only pours a great latte, espresso and cold brew but frappes and smoothies as well. It specializes in fantastic bagel creations as well as wraps and sandwiches. Across the street is Long Beach Taco Co. (442 E First St) where handmade tortillas, salsas and just-right seasoned meats and veggies have attracted a loyal following. Its alfresco parklet is one of the best spots to take in all of First Street.


Burke Mercantile’s (435 E. First St) sophisticated collection of independent brands and designers was created in reaction to the destructive effects of fast fashion. The store focuses on presenting clothes made by those earning a fair wage, and designed by those who believe great clothes can be made with humans and the environment in mind. Anneise (440 E 1st St) sells chic knit and denim fashion along with vegan leather bags and a wide variety of handmade sunglasses and artisanal soaps from Saffria Sage Soap.


Victorious Barber Studio (426 E First St) specializes in creative hair art and designs: razor lining, tapers, dreads as well as steam towel shaves and beard trimming. All of it amidst a community gathering vibe that just says: Barber Shop! BYO Long Beach (431 E First St) has a wide range of environmentally friendly products for your home and personal care. To eliminate waste, it offers customers the option of refilling their containers with bulk lotions, soaps, cleaners, shower gels, shampoos as well as loose tea.


On the edge of the block is a great neighborhood bar, House of Hayden (421 E First St), an ultra clean, ultra friendly bar with a tight knit but welcoming clientele. Hayden has a cool interior featuring exposed brick, pool table and a terrific jukebox playing lots of classic rock, soul and punk. Next door is perhaps the most unique art collection in the city. Dark Art Emporium (427 E First St) features an ever-evolving mix of fine art and oddities, from surrealism to contemporary in the way of paintings, sculpture, human skulls and taxidermy. The emporium is dedicated to showcasing artists and creators that often are ignored or challenge people’s perception of art.

About the Author
Steve Lowery
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