Best Dive Bar, South Bay Division - 2011
Located just 50 yards up from the Manhattan Beach Pier with the best views in the South Bay, the Shellback Tavern started life in 1955 as a bait-and-tackle shop where you could also pick up a couple of six-packs. Still housed in the original concrete-sided box, it is the last of the no-shoes, no-shirt, no-problem bars that once dominated Los Angeles' coastal strip. Owner Bob Beverly defiantly revels in its "beach trash" image, which offends the MB establishment but draws huge crowds of rowdy revelers every weekend night. Surrounded by upscale glitz-and-glamour restaurants and clubs that have come to define Manhattan Beach over the last decade, the Shellback stands out like a sore thumb with its dollar-a-shot tequila specials and $10 steak-and-a-beer deals. Sure, the floor often stinks of spilled beer. But you can get fajitas at 8 in the morning and could easily find yourself sitting next to an action sports star — supersurfer Kelly Slater, skateboarding sensation Ryan Sheckler or volleyball legend Karch Kiraly. Matrimonial bonus: Several Shellback regulars have ended up marrying one of the hot waitresses who keep the alcohol flowing. 116 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach. (310) 376-7857, shellbacktavern.com.