Tuesday, May 24, 2011


There are a few of us beer drinkers who still have hopes of trying to stay in good shape, while at the same time spending our free time and spare money consuming massive quantities of high abv beer and otherwise drinking in a manner that would suggest the complete opposite.  I am one of those confused and naive patrons that still clings to that hope of health and beer, and while the results sometimes vary, I've managed to find a good balance.  I've never been a fan of drinking low cal beers or low gravity beers in order to stay in shape; the beer world is too delicious and vast for that.  Instead, I just say work off what you drink.  So this weekend Megan and I cycled a roundtrip 25 miles from Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach and back in order to sample one of my new favorite beer bars in the Southland: Simmzy's.

I had been hearing about Simmzy's for some time on the weekly Beer Blast, where their excellent selection and beer pairing dinners had been touted.  Sometimes it takes a while to make the short trip down to the South Bay, but we decided this was the weekend to do it.  After getting some air in the tires and filling up our camelpak, we set out on our ride.  Cutting through the side streets and back alleys of Santa Monica and Venice wasn't too tough and was actually a pretty enjoyable ride.  Once you get to the Marina, you can pick up the bike trail, which leads you all the way there.  It's actually amazing simple and I imagine even the directionless among you couldn't mess this one up.  I did pretty well on the ride there, I was in decent enough shape to not get tired, but man my butt sure was sore after an hour or so of sitting on a hard seat.

When we got to Simmzy's it was jam packed, standing room only.  What's more, there was a line of people sitting outside with drinks that extended around the corner.  We put our names on the chalkboard, I ordered a Cismontane Blacks Dawn Stout and sat down to prepare for a long wait.  I knew by the map's location that it was close to the beach, but I actually had never seen pictures of the joint and so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Despite being half inside half outside with mostly patio seating, the giant open deck on the place makes it feel like you're on some sort of patio bar as sunlight seeps in through every direction.  This was a welcome feature as I wasn't looking forward to sitting in a dark bar after riding there in the sun.  The place is pretty small, hence the wait, but they pack it full of people making for a pretty lively environment.
The wait ended up passing fairly painlessly and it gave me a chance to check out the crowd.  I was a little shocked that most people were drinking sangria rather than beer, but the manager got them off the collective hook after explaining that they do a sangria special on Saturday afternoons.  It was definitely a Manhattan Beach crowd, predominantly white with a mix of late 20-30 somethings having a beer after a surf sesh, and 40 something beach bums who still refuse to grow up.  Glad to see their down with craft brew too.
I don't know what it is about beer bars that so often inspires well designed or just cool interiors, but this was no exception.  Wood counters with about 20 tables and 10 bar seats and 24 taps.  It's a bit hard to read some of the names off the blackboard, but highlights would include: Avery Dugana, Port Mongo IPA, Blind Pig, and of course staples of the trade like Allagash White, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Primo Island Lager, and Stone IPA.  Emphasis was predominantly on ales, in fact other than Primo and Scrimshaw, I didn't see any other lagers on the list.  They also featured a Simmzy's Heff, which is brewed for them by Firestone, but I didn't order this, so can't tell you much more than that.

My second round was a Dugana and we accompanied that with a couple of burgers.  The menu is fairly short, but focuses on quality over quality featuring mainly sandwiches and burgers with a few salads, tacos, and breakfast options.  We of course went for the test drive on the burgers; after biking 12 miles to get there we weren't short on hunger.  I appreciated their attention to local and organic sourcing, a tough aspiration for a bar located on the beach, but it's not lost on me.

We ordered a Simmzy's regular and added balsmaic roasted shitakes and fresno chili rings.  Then we got there Bacon Bleu Deluxe which featured bleu cheese, candied bacon and frizzled shallots.  As you can see here, both were incredible, although the bleu cheese was the clear winner.  But definitely one of the better burgers I've had in a while, really great.  We also got an order of fries, which were good although nothing to write home about.

So after a nice two hour break of beers and burgers we headed back for a long ride.  It was considerably harder on the way back after drinking and eating, but we still managed fine other than my butt being ridiculously sore.

And that was the weekend trip.  Pretty fun one and I highly recommend checking out Simmzy's and having a taste of their burger.  It may be packed an weekend afternoons so I'm guessing weekday evenings may be a better shot.  Be sure to check it out though. If you're interested in making a bike trip yourself, I've posted a rough, although not the exact route we took below.

Simmzy's is located at 229 Manhattan Beach Blvd. in Manhattan Beach

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