Old School Long Beach

Well-known for its innovative ways when it comes to all manner of food, music, and art, Long Beach is also a city with a long history of honoring places that have always worked. The kinds of spots that locals and visitors have been known to seek out and return to for decades and, in some cases, nearly a century. Check out these local landmarks that continue to exude old school cool without ever getting old.


Well-known for its fluffy pancakes (try the blueberry) and thick shakes (you may want to give the Oreo a sip) Dale’s (4339 E. Carson St.) is equally famous for its friendly staff that has been compared to the cast of a Hallmark movie set in an idyllic, Small Town, USA. That’s by no means a stretch given that Dale’s has been used numerous times as a set location TV and film outfits looking to capture its charm. Of course, the main reason folks come to Dale’s is the food, which is tasty and wide-ranging, everything from breakfast to liver and onions, pastrami sandwiches to a slice of boysenberry pie accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Outside of the Queen Mary and Snoop Dogg, it’s arguable that Joe Jost’s (2803 E. Anaheim St.) is Long Beach most famous resident, if judging by only the global reach of its iconic T-shirts. Add to it about 15 million schooners of “the coldest beer town” served since 1934, along with 5 million “Joe’s Special” – Polish sausage on rye with Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle – and somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 million pickled eggs served, and you’re talking about a bona fide bit of delicious, living local history. One of the oldest, continually operated taverns west of the Mississippi, Joe’s attracts tourists and locals alike, it’s where you can get a taste of the real Long Beach. Busy warm atmosphere that is always welcoming whether to old timer or tourists.


One of Southern California’s oldest movie theaters, built in 1924, the Art (2025 . Fourth St.) is also one of its best art houses, showing a continuous stream of provocative and one-off productions you’re likely not to find anywhere else. There have been extensive renovations to this gorgeous, nearly 100-year old building, improving the movie-going experience even more. It’s dramatic marquee is the eye-catching anchor of Long Beach’s popular Retro Row, especially in the evening when it serves as a beacon glowing on Fourth Street. Another improvement has been the addition of popular wine bar Art Du Vin (2027 E. Fourth St.) wine bar, which is actually connected to the theater, and makes for a great place to meet before a movie or to discuss what you’ve just seen.


The delicious dish in the restaurant’s name is only one reason to go to Roscoe’s. Of course, given that we’re talking about juicy, flavorful chicken in the direct company of soft, sweet waffles and a few balls of butter, all of it bathed in maple syrup, is reason enough and why Roscoe’s is an absolute dining must. Then again Roscoe’s (730 E. Broadway) is more than a restaurant, it’s a meeting place and and community touchstone, that’s also delicious and also happens to serve others things, such as chicken slathered in gravy and onions, wings, along with lots of great side dishes, from red beans, to corn bread to, yep, mac /n cheese. Point is, it really doesn’t matter why you go, as long as you end up there.

About the Author
Steve Lowery