Longboard Has No Shortage of Warmth, Neighborliness

Surfing pictures grace the walls and a surfboard is perched above the front door, but what else would you expect from a place called the Longboard Restaurant and Bar? And what better place for it than Surf City?

Although it's still the new kid on the block, the Longboard in Huntington Beach has quickly developed a warm neighborhood feel with a bit of flair. One would never guess that the building used to be a Christian meeting hall, where folks gathered to sing folk hymns and pray together.

The bar opened in late May but already has a crowd of regulars who sit at the bar gabbing and downing beers served in Mason jars. The decor and the atmosphere here are both casual, with the crowd leaning decidely more toward shorts and sweat shirts than coats and ties.

During the day, it's a pleasant place to eat--the food's not bad, and head chef Brian Lillis promises everything's fresh. The menu features sandwiches, salads and grilled items with such names as Bodacious Chicken Sandwich and Bone Daddy.

Happy hour's a good bet, too. From 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, a free beer (your choice of brands) is served with any menu item, from oyster shooters at $1.50 to the fresh Maine lobster dinner at $12.95.

Brands of beer on tap include Sierra Nevada ale; bottled varieties include Mamba, an African malt liquor. The bar is only licensed to serve beer, wine and low-proof liquor.

The selection on the brightly colored Wurlitzer jukebox ranges from Glenn Miller to the Doors, with everything in between, but if you don't see something you like, suggest it. The owners have a meeting once a month to discuss possible new additions, said Reid Davies, who co-owns the bar with two partners.

During the day the music is fairly quiet but after dark, when the dinner crowd thins out and the beer drinkers take their place, the volume goes up on the jukebox and the place starts to hop.

On a recent Friday night, a group of lifeguards visiting from New Zealand had the Longboard in an uproar as they led the entire bar in a rousing rendition of "Alouette" complete with hand motions.

Folks who want a bit of quiet can retreat to a back patio, which features a dart board and a beer serving station when things are busy.

Longboard Restaurant and Bar, 217 Main St., Huntington Beach. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight. (714) 960-1896.

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