Although its quirky vibe, midcentury modern treasures and cool old stuff earned Retro Row its name, a different kind of variety is helping to fuel the Long Beach shopping district's most recent renaissance: the craft beers and curated wine lists offered by a growing number of wine bars and restaurants along the 4th Street strip. There's a sprinkling of (relatively) new or expanded stores to boot.
Robert Murphy, co-owner of the high-end design store Trebor Nevets, says the change has transformed the street into a gathering place. "At night," he says, "it's hipster central." Sarah Benton, owner of the children's shop Lil' Devils, agrees. "We've got all these restaurants now. The Art Theatre is booming, the little wine bars are great and there's live music. It's changed a lot."
Retro Row is also bigger. Chris Giaco, co-president of the 4th Street Business Assn. and owner of the vintage emporium inretrospect, says the organization expanded the boundaries of Retro Row by a few blocks (between Cherry and Temple avenues) to include a new restaurant, a record store, a surf shop and a Volkswagen repair service.
What follows is a highly selective guide to some of Retro Row's offerings:
Opened in 2014 by the same folks who brought us Lola's Mexican Cuisine and the city's first parking-spaces-turned-patio-seating area across the street. Social List's offerings include handmade sausages and fresh-baked bread (and, yes, massaged kale is on the menul).
2105 E. 4th St., (562) 433-5478, thesociallistlb.com
4th Street Vine
This neighborhood bar recently added an outpost inside Long Beach Airport, but the good vibes and selections of wine and craft beer are classic Retro Row. There's live music five nights a week and a menu of small plates — including a "lunch box" with pepperoni, cheese, smoked almonds and crackers and bread, and a charcuterie plate — for anyone who gets hungry while they're shopping.
2142 E. 4th St., (562) 343-5463, 4thstreetvine.com
Past & Present: Retroda
Beautifully styled displays feature vintage finds, gift items and artisanal goods that come together as "little stories." Think Midcentury Modern man cave, Hollywood Regency, "Leave It to Beaver" and "The Partridge Family." The store also offers complimentary gift wrap and an old-fashioned candy counter
2001 E. 4th St., (562) 434-6464, www.facebook.com/retroda
Trevor Nevets is an upscale home and décor shop that offers vintage as well as new and private label and custom furniture made in Los Angeles. It's kind of like stepping into the super-swell apartment that's on all your Pinterest boards. (Interior design services available.)
2116 E. 4th St., (562) 901-0600, TreborNevets.com
P3 Artisan Pasta
P-Cubed, as it's called by locals, serves pizza, pasta and panadas (think empanadas), which is the basis for its name. Marble counters, silver fixtures and crisp white walls offer a cool, modern contrast to rustic, artisanal food, wines and microbrews.
2306 E. 4th St., (562) 439-8565, P3pasta.com
Lil Devils Boutique
If you've been searching for the perfect hand-knit lightsaber for the infant in your life, you're likely to find it here. Pair it with a "The Force Is Strong in This One" onesie and you're golden. The shop sells children's wear and gifts for newborns to 6-year-olds; in this store, sophisticated-sassy trumps sugar sweet. Also in house: re-released Fisher-Price toys, such as the Chatter Phone, Xylophone and See-and-Say.
2218 E. 4th St., (562) 439-0555, lildevilsboutique.com
Aji Peruvian Cuisine
In July 2014, Mitto Barriga and Rosita Wang, the owners of P3, opened a second Retro Row restaurant next door to their first. An enormous wooden wine rack behind the bar anchors the space, and Peruvian cuisine is served nightly and for lunch on Sundays. Specials include papa rellena (shredded chicken breast inside a fried pocket of potato dough topped with aji amarillo peppers, ground walnuts and Parmesean) and lomo saltado (beef tenderloin wok-seared with tomatoes and onions).
2308 E. 4th St., (562) 439-8545, AjiPeruvian.com
Owner Chris Giaco says his store, one of the largest on the row, carries "a little bit of everything ... clothing, records, housewares, furnishings, books, jewelry and midcentury stylings from the '50s, '60s and '70s — and more recently reaching into the '80s and '90s as well." Don't miss the store's "objects of coolness" and original works by David Weidman, whose art graced the sets of "Mad Men."
2122 E. 4th St., (562) 433-6600, inretrospect.co
Restauration's large outdoor seating area comes with vertical gardens, handmade tables and repurposed lighting. Regulars praise the pizza and fries, to say nothing of the bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys and peach sangria. Bonus: The patio is dog-friendly.
2708 E. 4th Street, 562-439-8822, restaurationlb.com
Johanna Moynahan opened Far Outfit, which features midcentury vintage clothing, sustainable clothing and eclectic furnishings, in August, but the vibe is all '60s and '70s. "I loved learning about the history of the '60s," says Moynahan, who was an American studies major. "The '60s and '70s were totally my bag." Shop for 1970s maxi dresses, "Saturday Night Fever"-style disco dresses, butterfly-collared shirts and hats, vintage T-shirts and jewelry, men's Hawaiian shirts and seasonal costumes.
1944 4th St., (562) 686-2707, www.faroutfit.com
Art du Vin
Adjoining the classic Art Theatre, this cozy Art Deco wine bar offers wine (and beer and cider) and small plates, such as charcuterie and cheese selections, from 5 p.m. to midnight. The heated patio attracts locals who love to people-watch.
2027 E. 4th St., (562) 286-4634, www.artduvinwinebar.com
And don't forget about ...
Meow (for shoppers who love vintage): 2210 E. 4th St., (562) 438-8990, www.meowvintage.com
East 4th skateboard store: 2228 E. 4th St., (562) 856-3685, www.east4th.com
Port (contemporary clothing for men and women): 402 St. Louis Ave. (just off 4th), www.Facebook.com/portlbc
Sneaky Tiki (vintage and used clothing and consignment): 2234A E. 4th St.
Songbird (a gift store from the Sneaky Tiki folks): 2240 E. 4th St., www.songbirdboutique.com