Charlie's - Happy Hour - by Sophie Embrey
December 13th, 2012
When I let my South Bay friends know I was heading over to Charlie’s, they nodded appreciatively, spouting all the good things they’ve heard about the place. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was initially taken aback - I was not expecting a sports bar in a strip mall. Remembering my friends’ endorsement, I hoped for the best and strolled in.
For 4:30pm on a Friday, the place was reasonably full. It’s clearly a favorite among locals, as all the barstools were full, guests familiarly chatting with the bartenders. The crowd is varied; there are your standard sports fans, groups of guys enjoying their drinks as much as their company, but also a few older couples and some families. The message: everyone feels welcome.
The architecture is simple and classic – reminiscent of New York – as it aims to be, identifying itself as a ‘New York Italian Joint in Redondo Beach.’ Deep reds, exposed brick and dark wood complete the look. There are high tops and booths, in addition to the full bar, all within prime view of the dozen or more flat screen TVs mounted on the wall, alit with a variety of sports games.
We sat at a booth and were greeted by a seasoned waitress. She let us know that ‘most of the sixteen ounce beers’ were on happy hour for $4, in addition to three selected house wines and well drinks, also only $4 a pop. She also shared the happy hour food menu, which consisted of some classic Italian plates, raviolis and pizza, and some not-so-classic Italian options, hot wings and burgers. All items were $5, reasonable and cheap enough to make you hungry.
By far, the highlight of Charlie’s is their beer selection. They do have a full bar, so you can indulge any cocktail craving, but on a Friday afternoon, with warm beach weather, the beer will call to you. Their list of draught beer is impressive, not only due to the quantity, but to the selection. Boasting over twenty beers available, they focus primarily on craft beers and microbreweries, a welcome change to the standard Budweiser and Miller, so often offered at sports bars. Seeing our struggle to decide where to start, our waitress generously offered to bring some samples of a few beers we were curious about, which we quickly took her up on. We are not disappointed by our choice of an Allagash White, a Stone Porter and a Green Flash IPA.
After our first round of beers, we were curious to sample a few of the dishes on the menu, settling one Italian option – the meatballs and sausage served in marinara and grilled Nana’s bread – and one non-Italian – a good ole fashioned burger. The burger was perfectly cooked, accompanied with big wedges of seasoned potatoes. Juicy and traditional, the burger was served on a French roll and hit the spot. While the Italian sausage and meatballs were generously portioned, it was a little saucy for a dish that lacked a mountain of spaghetti underneath. The food was satisfying, but certainly not as memorable as the beer.
Overall, for the price and the atmosphere, Charlie’s gets my approval. The clean, authentic New York style makes it inviting and satisfying. When you’re in the mood for a microbrew and a sports game, head over!
601 N Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
REDONDO BEACH HAPPY HOURS
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