Meeting Manhattan Beach’s Young Professionals

MBYP Mixers and Events Are Great For Mixing and Mingling Among the South Bay’s Movers and Shakers

Manhattan Beach's young professionals meet and mingle at monthly mixers.


There area lot of singles in Manhattan Beach – and throughout the entire Beach Cities – and in addition to mingling a lot, they have a lot of business to share.

But how do you crack the nut, get “in” with the “in” people? That’s always the million-dollar question in cities. (And in this area, there could be million-dollar answers!)

That’s what the Manhattan Beach Young Professionals seeks to solve: Putting people together in a fun, social environment that encourages not only new friendships but potential business opportunities, as well. There are monthly mixers  not in a basic office building or conference room, but at fun events at area restaurants and bars. These takes place on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m.

To help stir the social drink, so to speak, these mixers involve Happy Hour prices, as well as complimentary appetizers The cost is $10 for members, $20 for non-members.

The next mixer is Thursday, Feb. 21, at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach.

MBYP mixers are good for getting to know the local business community.

 

The MBYP mixers take place at South Bay bars.

 

Occasionally there are fun events like this beer festival.

 

Every now and then, it even puts on rock star type of events, such as this beer tasting festival held at John Elway Toyota.

The Manhattan Beach Young Professionals organization is run by the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce. It’s fairly new, having just been started in 2008 and that’s good, because it’s still opening its arms to new members and visitors. The mixers are made up of people in the community, and those people are anxious to meet others who can enhance their business opportunities.

In a way, the mixers are kind of like speed dating events. People come up to you and give you about a minute or two introduction to themselves and their business, then allow you to do the same. The two hours can fly by like 10 minutes.

Who attends the MBYP mixers? Well, Surfside Sam and PubClub.com, for starters. Plus, people in real estate, owners of restaurants, marketing executives from places like Manhattan Village Mall and Chamber members, as well as any manner of entrepreneurial individual who calls Manhattan Beach home.

The mixers are once a month. Check out the MBYP website website or its Facebook page.

 

Seeing Whales Aboard A Redondo Beach Whale Watching Boat

Voyager Yachts Has Tours Twice Daily & Weekends

A California Gray whale shows its "fluke," or tail, off Palos Verdes. Photo: Jack Fleming Photography


We saw whales.

That’s the first thing everyone wants to know when they get on a whale watching boat, or what they want to know when they talk to someone who went whale watching.

Going whale watching is one of the pleasures provided by living in or visitng Redondo Beach, CA. Voyager Charter Yachts has two cruises a day, at 10 a.m., and 1:30 p.m., with the “season” going from roughly the end of December thru April. Depending on the whales, of course.

The tail of a California Gray whale spotted headed to Baja in 2012. Photo: Jack Fleming Photography.

 

Just after the "blow," the back of the whale breaks the surface. Photo: Jack Fleming Photography.

 

Actually seeing whales can be as unpredictable as UCLA’s football team, but unlike the Bruins on many occasions, it’s an inspiring sight.

And what a sight! The whales – mostly California Gray whales, migrating from the Artic to breed in Baja, and then back again – are huge, slow-moving, gentle creatures. Usually, you’ll spot the spout, which looks like steam from a distance, and the skipper will head in that direction for a closer view. Just look for “the blow.”

The whale breathes this way three or four times, so don’t be dismayed if you miss the first one. This is usually accompanied by the whale’s back arching; the full body rarely is exposed the way it is in that insurance company commercial. Occasionally there will be a “fluking,” that picturesque point where its tail comes out of the water.

Camera are at the ready for a California gray to resurface.

 

People on the upper deck scan the surface for whales.

 

Heading out to sea, passengers see the scenic California coastline.

 

Even with no whales in sight, a cruise on Voyager is time well spent.

 

The initial sightings usually happen in the distance and while the skipper steers the Voyager within good viewing range, there’s a limit as to how close he can get to the whale. So bring binoculars!

Unlike dolphins, whales don’t travel together, so you’re likely to see only one at a time, though there may be several in the same area.

The thing about whale watching is that the skippers WANT passengers to see whales. They want them to have a good experience, yes, but they also want people to come back again and tell all their friends about it, too.

And while there’s definitely a time for the California Grays, the Blue Whales can be spotted just about anytime of the year because they live off California. At more than 90 feet long, they are bigger than the 65-foot Voyager. The past two summers have brought a lot of blue whale sightings.

At the very least, you will see tons of California Sea Lions (they are not seals) and may even get really lucky. In early 2012, a pod of killer Orca whales have been patrolling the California coast and the week prior to Surfside Sam’s whale watching trip a Voyage skipper witnessed a killing of a sea lion.

Surfside Sam on board the Voyager Charters whale watching boat.

 

Beyond the whale watching and other wildlife, just being on a boat for a couple of hours and seeing the beautiful coastline, kayakers and the cliffs of Palos Verdes is a worthwhile experience. Especially for just $15 on a weekday.

The Voyager boat is a two-level vessel with multiple viewing areas. Passengers can go from one side to the other, from front to back, from bottom to the top level (just don’t stand on the benches). There’s a head (bathroom) and a small snack bar on board.

Voyager Charter Yachts is located at the small, wooden pier in Redondo Beach’s King Harbor, just down from Polly’s on the Pier, a great place for a pre- or post-cruise breakfast or lunch on a nice day.

Voyager offers service during the week and weekends. Trips last between two-and-a-half and three hour and depart at 10 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Rates are $15 weekdays and $25 weekends.

Link: Voyager Whale Watching Charters.

 

The 5 Worst Things About Hermosa Beach, CA

A Lack Of Outdoor Patios Tops This List Of Areas Where Hermosa Needs Improvement

The Hermosa Beach Pier is popular but there's not ample outdoor seating.


Not every place is perfect.

And while Hermosa Beach has many positive attributes – here’s the Top 10 of them – there are also things that drive local residents crazy about living here.

And so, in order to provide some sort of balance to this website, SurfsideSam.com presents:

THE FIVE WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN HERMOSA BEACH, CA:

1.) The Pier Patios Are Too Small. The good news is that, unlike Manhattan Beach, there are actually patios in Hermosa Beach. And half the seats face the ocean!

The problem is that those patios cannot meet the demand of the numbers of people who want to sit outside in this fabulous weather because the patios are simply two small. They are only wide enough to allow two rows of tables, about 30 people.

The city actually charges that patio space by the square foot, and since the city is in desperate need of cash, it would seem to be a no-brainer to simply allow the patio space to be extended. Nothing outrageous so as to squeeze out pedestrians, mind you, but extending it by another two rows seems reasonable.

2.) No Balconies on the Pier. This is really an extension of the previous point. The only bar with a balcony is Hennessey’s, and it’s so tiny it only holds 20 people and they must all be seated. Sure, there’s a walkway/patio at FFFF, but no seats face the ocean.

There’s a balcony ready to go at Sharkeez and with a go-ahead, other spots could quickly spring into action, as well. At least a place like Silvo’s should have a second floor. The way they are now, the bars are simply too small to handle all their incoming customers. Balconys and upper decks would remove the shackles hindering bar/restaurant owners as well as patrons willing and ready to spend money in Hermosa.

3.) Parking. It should first be noted that Hermosa Beach has a fine multi-story parking structure steps from the Pier (entrance at 13th and Hermosa Ave, a not-so-cheap $1.25/hour and the time does expire). But once that’s full, it’s fend-for-yourself parking. Locals occupy much of the street parking and the only other lots are small ones on either side of Lower Pier.

Also, visitors should be aware that the SILVER poles fees expire at 9 p.m., while the YELLOW poles are 24 hours. If possible, ride a bike to Hermosa.

4.) City Council Members Who Hate Bars. Perhaps that’s a bit of too bold a statement but sometimes it seems this way. The point is that City Council members needs to loosen up on the bars (which are really bar/restaurants) and allow them to expand and do things that will increase their business. The more business these businesses create, the more revenue goes to the city. Despite claims of raucous behavior, by far the majority of people who go out in Hermosa are locals and look after their fine little beach town.

And this makes a nice transition into point No. 5.

5.) The Handful of Pesky Citizens Who Go To City Council Meetings. There is one individual whom Surfside Sam will not name but everyone in town knows his identity. He apparently has nothing better to do with his time than attend the weekly City Council meetings, and nearly every week goes there to complain about the bars (although he has been spotted drinking in them). His latest personal crusade is an attempt to get a measure on the November ballot that would increase the business license tax for bars from $2,268 to – get ready for this – $100,000.

Why does the City Council listen to this guy and even consider anything he has to say? He’s one of about a half-dozen residents who complain about any type of change or improvement. This in a city of more than 20,000 people.

Whenever one of these people show up at a meeting, the City Council should go on a long coffee break.

 

The 10 Best Things About Hermosa Beach, CA

Dining, Drinking And The Weather Highlight This Beach Town’s Top Attributes

Sunsets, like this at the Hermosa Beach Pier, are definitely a HB benefit.


 

Hermosa Beach, a small coastal Southern California community, sits somewhat unassumingly along the long Los Angeles beaches.

Except for those who know it and about it.

Hermosa Beach is as vibrant as the sun that shines down upon its shores on a near-daily basis.

Here’s a list about the best things about Hermosa Beach – for its residents and visitors – as well as a look at a few things that make it not quite so perfect.

Take away a City Council that is too harsh on well-meaning bar owners, a few cranky citizens opposed to any kind of change and the head-scratching shortage of patio space and the place would be nearly ideal.

THE 10 BEST THINGS ABOUT HERMOSA BEACH

Rolling down the Hermosa Beach Strand on a bike is a top benefit in this town.

 

The Strand is the focal point of activity in Hermosa Beach.

1.) The Location. Starting with the obvious first, the best thing about Hermosa Beach is the old real estate line of “location, location, location.”

Hermosa Beach has it, located right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in LA County’s South Bay. That means it’s close to LAX (about 20 minutes from the Pier). Hermosa is also fairly flat inland, unlike its somewhat hilly neighbor to the north, Manhattan Beach.

2.) The Weather. Sunny and mid-70s. It could be left at that, because that’s the weather nine days out of 10. There is also no humidity, but be careful of ocean temps; even in the summer it only reaches into the mid-70s. In the winter, it dips to a chilling 58 or so degrees.

3.) The Strand. The two-lane concrete path that runs from “the wall” at the south end of Hermosa Beach to the “90210 house” (yes, it was indeed the beach house in the TV show) is known as The Strand. This is a walking path, an outdoor “treadmill” for runners and joggers, a workout route for rollerbladers and a recreational road for people on bicycles.

No cars are allowed so it’s pedal to the plastic and pedestrian power only. On one side is the beach and ocean and on the other are houses (most of which occupied by renters). At the halfway point in either direction is the Pier and Pier Plaza, which is full of restaurants, bars and, well, Hermosa Beach life.

4.) The Pier & Lower Pier Ave. The heartbeat of Hermosa is it’s Pier. Or, more specifically, its businesses around the Pier.

The one-block pedestrian-only plaza is wide enough for walkers and bicyclers and defines the very culture of this small community (the entire “city” only a occupies a couple of square miles in LA County). The Pier is the prime gathering place and the prime spot for meeting people are the small bars stringed along its south side.

Chief among these is Sharkeez, but there’s also Sangria (for dancing), Patrick Molloy’s, Silvo’s Brazilian restaurant, longtime anchor Hennessey’s, plus the upper-deck FFFF, the old-timer’s hangout Mermaid, and, well, you get the picture.

The summer concerts on the beach attract thousands to picnic at the Pier.

In July and August, Hermosa Beach holds free concerts on the beach.

 

5.) The Events. In the summer there are concerts on the beach, right on the sand, and people bring food and beverages and spread out on blankets for the ultimate picnic. Plus the city has Fiesta Hermosa, the arts & crafts fair with bands and beer gardens each Memorial and Labor Day, the largest co-ed volleyball tournament in the country (Smackfest in July) and a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The sister site of Surfside Sam, PubClub.com, has a done us all a favor by compiling a list of all the great events for 2011, not just in Hermosa but for the whole South Bay.

The restaurants on Upper Pier Ave., bring in crowds of diners each night.

 

6.) The Cool Little Restaurants on Upper Pier Ave. This is so European, so cute, one is tempted to spread out the arms and just hug the place.

Just up from the frenzy of Lower Pier is a row of small shops and restaurants on what is know as Upper Pier Ave. There’s a crepe place (talk about European!), a Thai restaurant and the absolute favorite spot of locals as a host for birthday parties, Bona Vita. This is an Italian restaurant (in two small buildings, no less) with most delicious entrees in the $15 range.

Among the retail outslts are Becker’s Surf Shop and Marx Hair Studio, where Nyshia makes sure Surfside Sam is always looking his best. Well, his hair anyway.

Upper Pier would be even better if the recently-remodeled sidewalks were a bit wider to allow for a row of outdoor tables.

Sunset at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

 

Here are two things that go together in Hermosa Beach: Sunset and beach volleyball.

7.) The Sunsets.One look at photo says it all. Nuff said.

8.) The Activities. People here are healthy. The surf, they play beach volleyball, they rollerblade, they run and they work out all the time. The near-constant sunshine inspires people get outside and get fit, and the Strand provides the perfect workout station for any number of health-conscious activities.

There’s a reason people in California appear so tanned and healthy to people in the rest of the world. It’s because they are tanned and healthy, and Hermosa Beach is a prime reason why that’s the case.

9.) The Lack of Traffic. Some locals may laugh at this point, especially on PCH going to and coming from work. But let’s face it, people face nothing like the 405 when they are in Hermosa. Progress through town is slowed by pedestrians going through crosswalks and stop signs seemingly every 15 feet, but there is rarely bumper-to-bumper traffic in Hermosa Beach.

10.) The Lack of Crime. Perhaps this should actually be No. 1 on the list. But it’s such a given here that it comes in at No. 10.

Hermosa Beach is not crime free by any means. But it is pretty safe to walk down the streets (and on the Strand) day or night with little worry of being a victim of violent crime.

 

About SurfsideSam.com and Contact Information

Welcome to SurfsideSam.com! This is a website about the beach, on the beach and around the beach.

If you’re not at the beach, you should be on SurfsideSam.com, the place for the Ultimate Beach Bum!

Surfside Sam has been to beaches in the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, throughout the USA, and even beaches in Canada.

He resides in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Surfside Sam welcome your comments and input (and also your advertising dollars!). Here’s how to contact him via e-mail:
KevinWilkerson@pubclub.com

 

The ‘Dollar Taxi’ Cheaper Cab Option in Hermosa, Manhattan And Redondo

The BCT 109 Runs Through the Beach Cities For A Buck

The 109 BCT bus goes from El Segundo to Riviera Village for a dollar.


With the price of cabs – going from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier, a distance of a mere mile and half – costs about $10 with tip – it’s nice to have a cheap transportation alternative.

Ten dollars to go a mile and a half!?

How about $1? How about going all the way from El Segundo to Riviera Village for a buck?

It’s the Beach Cities Transit (or BCT) buses, those white vehicles smaller than a Greyhound but bigger than a rental car shuttle that go north and south from El Segundo to Redondo Beach.

Primarily using Highland, Manhattan Ave., Hermosa Ave., and Catalina Ave., they go on the main beach streets that put passengers right at the beaches and the bars, restaurants and shops of the piers and Riviera Village. They are also ideal for going to events such Concerts in the Park, where parking is impossible.

The buses even have a bike rack, which makes for a comfortable ride home on cold evenings after a day biking on the Strand.

Buses are clean and so empty SurfsideSam.com calls them the "Dollar Taxi."

Buses are clean and so empty that I refer to them as the “Dollar Taxi.”

The staff and drivers are very, very friendly and will even stop and wait if they see you sprinting to a stop. Just drop a dollar in the slot when boarding and you’re on your way.

The buses are clean and they are also mostly empty. In fact, hardly anybody is ever on them and as a result, don’t make the frequent stops that can be a bit annoying when taking public transportation elsewhere. At most, there’s maybe one person getting on or off every mile or so and sometimes you’ve got the bus all to yourself.

For that reason, Surfside Sam refers to BCT as the “Dollar Taxi.”

BCT buses runs about every 40 minutes on weekdays and each hour on weekends.

The BCT is a great alternate service for people who want to get up and down the beach. Surfside Sam uses it frequently, the only complaint being that it stops running too early. The last run is approximately 9:30 p.m., southbound during the week from downtown Manhattan Beach (9 on weekends) and about 8:15 northbound from 11th and Hermosa Ave (HB Pier).

However, the city of Redondo Beach, which operates BCT, is considering extending service to at least 11 p.m. So call the number below and let them know you support such a move!

The BCT has several stopping points in all the Beach Cities. Here are the primary ones (north to south direction; south to north stops are across the street. Look for concrete bench with a white sign and BCT colored logo):
• Plaza El Segundo.
ª Douglas Street Metro (just down from Fleming’s, so you can hit the Happy Hours on Rosecrans without having to drive!).
• Manhattan Beach 33rd and Highland (in front of Beach Pizza a for El Porto) and at Marine Street.
• Manhattan Beach Pier & downtown: 14th and Highland and 8th and Manhattan Ave.
• Hermosa Beach Pier: 11th Street.
• Redondo Beach Pier: (Harbor Drive & Beryl (at the side of the Crowne Plaza) and Catalina and Torrance.
• Riviera Village.

In 2011, BCT changed the rout from Vista del Mar to downtown El Segundo and now heads east-west on Rosecrans to the Douglas Metro station and the El Segundo Plaza. It sill goes to downtown El Segundo but it takes an extra half-hour.

This also means it now takes about an hour to go from downtown Manhattan Beach to the LAX connection, a second bus that goes to the airport terminals. Taxi fare from the Manhattan Beach Pier to LAX is about $25 without tip and takes about 15 minutes.

That’s one trip where the taxis have the advantage.

Beach Cities Transit Phone: (310) 937-6660.

Link: Beach Cities Transit Website.

Top Tips and Things to Know About Traveling to Charlotte Amalie

Shopping, Crime and Cruise Ships in St. Thomas

Charlotte Amaile awaits eager-spending tourists for shopping and rum.


The main city on St. Thomas is Charlotte Amaile, a romantic-sounding place if ever there was one.

In trust, Charlotte Amalie is hardly a city. It’s really just a town and a very touristy one at that, for it’s where the island’s legendary shopping district is located (jewelry and rum, primarily) and where thousands of cruise ship day trippers spend their shore leave.

The streets of Charlotte Amalie are lined with shops – and cruise ship tourists.

It features the kinds of duty-free shops one would expect for an area that caters to cruise ship passengers. The stores stay open only as long as the cruise ship passengers are around, and they leave at 5.

After that, the doors are shut and the workers get the heck out of there, for there is trouble in paradise.

St. Thomas is not a safe place in many places. Oddly, Charlotte Amalie is one of them. Don’t be there after dark, plain and simple.

It’s a shame, because the streets are narrow and pirate-looking, there’s a bar with a high level of fun potential called the Green House (although the bartenders are handicapped by the “corporate pour”) and about a dozen years ago the place was jumping with bars and restaurants that created a street party atmosphere.

Instead, it’s advisable to retreat back to the hotel or a safer area such as Red Hook or Frenchtown.

The Holiday Inn, located across from the ferry terminal, could instead be called the Green Zone. Inside, it’s like a compound. It has a gate around the entire property and the elevator only works by inserting a room key. On the plus side, the outside bar is a pretty good place to meet other travelers.

A similar situation exists at the Marriott. It has one of the island’s best pools and is located in the intoxicating-sounding Frenchman’s Reef. Its bar is also a good place to encounter island encounters with other visitors. But don’t go beyond its boundaries at night.

When in St. Thomas, use common sense in these areas. Down in this Banana Republic, things are not always as warm as they seem.

The cruise ships actually dock to the east of Charlotte Amalie in a place called Havensight. There are duty-free shops here, too; the upscale Yacht Heaven Grand shopping area and Buccaneer Mall.

A safe place for shopping and dining well into the night is in Frenchtown (between the airport and Charlotte Amalie, at the Crown Bay Marina).

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