Whiskey Bars in Long Beach

Whiskey is the thinking person’s spirit. Other liquors, clear ones mostly, are great companions at a party, but whiskey is best enjoyed quietly; alone with one’s thoughts or in the company of someone who knows the value of long pauses and knowing glances after taking that first, smooth sip. There are plenty of places in Long Beach to drink, here are a few of the city’s most hallowed and knowledgeable places to drink whiskey.

The Auld Dubliner

The Dubliner (71 S. Pine Ave.) is well-known as a place to enjoy live music, root for the Arsenal football club and get an expertly served Guinness–be patient, great art takes time. What sometimes escapes people is that, this being a true Irish pub, it has a strong commitment to whiskey, which it offers in many varieties and price points. One of its most popular and unique whiskey offerings is its Friday Flight Nights when they offer multiple tastings of a featured whiskey along with handcrafted food pairings.

The Blind Donkey

Everyone knows the Donkey (149 Linden Ave.) is a lot of fun, what with its classic video games, pool tables, Skee-Ball and popular Karaoke nights. But there’s a serious side to the bar once featured in “La La Land,” and it’s very serious about whiskey. Its Old Fashions are legendary and its whiskey menu is voluminous, featuring precious brown spirits from America, Ireland, Scotland and “Everywhere Else.” Selections from Scotland are so many and varied that they’re divided into further regions, i.e. Highlands, Lowlands, Islay, etc.

The Stave

Perhaps not surprisingly for a place named after the oak staves used to build whiskey barrels, The Stave (170 The Promenade N.) actually feels like whiskey. Its expansive main room, with its dark wood walls, tin ceiling and 70-foot long angled bar, to go along with a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio with fire pits of colored glass, reflect a smooth, mellow atmosphere that one can choose from more than 100 scotches, ryes, bourbons and whiskeys. Their whiskey sours are always a popular choice.

Wille’s Tin Shop

This, quite literally, hidden gem is located behind Roxanne’s on Wardlow. Wille’s, a distillery owned and run by Roxanne’s owner Robert Molina, is probably best known for their vodka, Long Beach Water. But the place also produces an aromatic gin and a couple smooth whiskeys with names harkening to a couple of Long Beach school mascots–one no longer in use. Dirty Prospector and Jackrabbit are barrel aged and made with local water. You can try them at Wille’s (1115 E. Wardlow Rd. Ste A), which has a smooth, speakeasy vibe all its own, or in front at Roxanne’s.

The Hawk

This place pairs all the features emblematic of a great neighborhood bar–cheap pool tables, CD jukebox, chummy bartenders–with a weighty regard for whiskey flowing from owner, and whiskey authority, Kyle Flavin. The Hawk (468 W. Anaheim St.) stocks an impressive collection, a good deal of it reasonably priced. It also features some special whiskey events, one being the popular and reocurring “Women Who Whiskey,” featuring specialty drinks and whiskey flights.

Photo Credit: The Hawk
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Steve Lowery