Aquarium of the Pacific is a Long Beach hot spot. // © 2018 Aquarium of the Pacific
Feature image (above): Take a stroll in downtown Long Beach. // © 2018 Getty Images
For more than a decade, Julian Shrago worked as an aerospace engineer. But destiny in the form of creativity came knocking, and he soon became the co-owner and brewmaster of the popular Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, Calif.
Shrago joined Long Beach’s tight-knit community in 2013, and he says the city — with its business and cultural diversity — is a place where everyone comes together.
An ideal food day consists of: A natural-processed coffee at Recreational Coffee in downtown. Then, a short trek east is Starling Diner; I love to indulge in the blue crab cakes. At Chowder Barge, I keep it classic: clam chowder in a bread bowl. I’d round out my decadent day of dining with dinner at Open Sesame. My favorite entree is kafta: ground beef and lamb that’s well-seasoned and grilled on a skewer.
It’s Friday night. Where to? Beachwood, of course! Also, Blind Donkey has a large selection of whiskeys from around the world, but the old-fashioned is my go-to. At The Stave Bar, I’m able get a break from all the beer in my (daily) life, with a glass of zinfandel, pinot or viognier.
Why is Long Beach a great place for craft beer tourism? The city has so many craft beer-focused businesses that also offer tremendous food for a well-rounded experience, such as Beer Belly and Congregation Ale House. The list of local, independent craft breweries is expanding, with more slated to open this year.
A tourist activity that’s actually worth the hype: Aquarium of the Pacific has a variety of detailed and phenomenal displays; I always feel my time is well spent.
Can you share Long Beach’s best-kept secret? It has a unique history with tattoos. Renowned tattoo artist Bert Grimm opened a tattoo shop on Chesnut — where Outer Limits Tattoo now is — in the early ‘50s. With so many Navy servicemen going through the city around that time, many of them got tattoos at his spot.