The patio was packed per usual with many smiling, tan faces and
quite an abundance of fit bods. It’s just a typical night at Woody’s
at the Beach, one of Laguna’s most popular gay hangouts.
Woody’s is both a nightlife and afternoon watering spot, as well
as a restaurant that specializes in French-California style cuisine.
The main dining area overlooks the ocean, but there are also
options of dining by their fireplace in a cozy atmosphere or outside
on the patio Woody’s is a mainstay for many locals and has a
predominately male crowd. The restaurant also draws people from Los
Angeles and around the country.
Perched at the corner of Cress and South Coast Highway its
location is ideal. It’s by the beach and is also in an area near
other gay owned or predominately gay stores, galleries, coffee
houses, restaurants and bars.
Though the loyal, friendly crowd has a lot of the same faces,
Woody’s has changed a bit, adding new happenings to its lineup.
Monday’s have become a bit of a phenomenon on what usually is an off
night for most bars and restaurants.
Monday is Woody’s Unwrapped where from 6 to 9 p.m. one can find a
menu of comfort food and home-style cooking that isn’t a part of
their every day menu. Dan Ketelaars, who is a co-owner, can’t believe
the incredible response they’ve received since starting this idea
about a month ago.
“It’s exceeded expectations. I am surprised to see how everyone
has embraced it. It’s the gay living room on Monday nights with food
like mothers used to cook it. It’s very busy and more crowded like a
Along with the tasty eats there is live music. Local band Kumandon
played a couple weeks ago and Monday local Spanish guitarist Paul
Galmarini played for the crowd. Server Peter Trimble is equally
pleased with the draw.
“It’s really nice ... to get more inexpensive comfort food. It’s
been amazing. It’s taken off like gangbusters ... on what is usually
a slow night in the restaurant business.”
On Wednesday nights there is usually a sizeable crowd. The outside
patio and bar area is jammed for Martini Night.
Thursday night is definitely one of the most popular nights with
their two for one drinks from 9 p.m. to midnight.
“Woody’s has provided an atmosphere conducive to socializing in an
intimate setting. Two for one on Thursday nights draws a nice crowd,”
said regular Jeff Mourer.
Friday and Saturday nights are a given. There are occasional
specials depending on the time of the year and Friday happy hour has
been changed to 4 to 8 p.m.
“The patio is an excellent place to spend a summer evening. I like
the Feng Shui aspect with the fire pit and fountain,” said Samantha
A large crowd shows up at Woody’s for its Margarita Communion on
Sunday, featuring discounted premium tequila in oversized carafes.
Sunday’s communion is from 4 to 8 p.m. and has the added bonus of
resident DJ Bryan Baptiste spinning on the patio.
“It’s summer and party time in Laguna Beach.” said local Fernando
Nascimento. “A lot of people on vacation come here.I enjoy the pretty
boys from out of town.”
Woody’s at the Beach is at 1305 S. Coast Highway. They can be
reached at 376-8809.
* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline
Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.