The best part about the Beer Belly in downtown Long Beach isn't the sudden south-county availability of the decadent Death by Duck fries, or even the location's addition of an equally indulgent brunch menu, something the original Beer Belly in Koreatown could never churn out of its tiny kitchen. It's something much more simple: the beer. Beyond the artery-clogging art of chef Wes Lieberher (a lure, to be sure), the original 12-tap gastropub earned its iconic status thanks to the beer-curating prowess of owner Jimmy Han, who has a knack for procuring special kegs of the latest beers from small, independent breweries across the county (think: Highland Park Brewery, Phantom Carriage, Ladyface and more). In Long Beach, a growing craft beer destination in its own right, Han has twice as many taps to play with — along with a liquor license that allows for both traditional and beer-infused cocktails. The result is a consistent lineup that reads unlike anything south of the 10 freeway, filled with a mix of hard-to-find stalwarts, such as Smog City's Little Bo Pils, Mumford's IPAs and rare sours from Pasadena's Craftsman Brewing.
Credit: Danny Liao