California State University, Long Beach

Shannon’s Bayshore
May 2006
by Marc B. Zawel

Problems in Long Beach? Snoop Dogg may have gone through “drama in the LBC,” but it’s hard to imagine trouble in a city with perpetually sunny weather and expansive sandy beaches. For the 30,000 students partying at Cal-State, Long Beach, it’s even harder to imagine a rough day. But when the inevitable disappointment occurs, there’s always Shannon’s Bayshore, a quintessential dive that will improve anybody’s spirits. Established nearly 60 years ago, Shannon’s has always been a spot for Long Beach students to get cheap drinks. And, financing field trips to the pub isn’t as big of a problem here as it is for most coeds; cheap in-state tuition leaves plenty of money left over for getting sloshed.

The Scene: Duck through the doors and the first thing you notice is the bar itself. Supposedly one of the longest in all of Southern California, the wooden monster runs the length of the room, almost 100 feet long. Inside, patrons lounge on stools and watch Lakers games on scattered plasma screens or relax near the pool table in the back. The sound of the eclectic jukebox, which typically spits out hip-hop or sandal-friendly rock from Jack Johnson and Sublime, lingers in the background. “We’re a dive bar with an edge,” says John Austin, the manager at Shannon’s. While the framed, photocopied comics lining a wall and the beer poster babes and defaced dollar bills papering the ceiling scream nostalgia, the place also offers Wi-Fi. Just don’t drink and type.

Girls at the Bar: “Cali girls have a reputation for being blonde, blue-eyed and beautiful,” John says. “That’s the case here.” Indeed, for those not familiar with West Coast bombshells, the initial reaction is shock and awe. After redlining heartbeats return to normal, most guys find the girls remarkably laid-back. “It’s what makes life out here great,” says Greg, a corrections and criminal justice major. “After you get over the fear of talking to a 10, you find that they’re actually really cool chicks.” Josh, a film major and transplant from Massachusetts, agrees. “The girls are all just drop-dead gorgeous. I’m never going back.”

When to Go: Bartenders say that the new hot night is Tuesday. Perhaps the $3.50 you-call-its explain the crowd. If you can’t make it Tuesday, students say that you’ll find an energetic, outgoing group at Shannon’s whenever it’s open. Since the bar pours drinks 365 days a year, that’s every night.

Dress Code: This is a SoCal bar a few blocks from the beach, so relax. Guys will look cool wearing jeans, T-shirts and flip-flops. Ladies typically get a bit more dolled up, with low-riding jeans and skimpy shirts. “Exposing as much skin as possible is the name of the game,” John says.

At the Bar: No visit to Shannon’s is complete without trying their signature drink, shoot the root. A shot of root beer schnapps is dropped into a glass of beer, and both are chugged simultaneously. The combo has been putting Long Beach kids in the hole for 20 years. Other popular house specialties include the Zima thing (shot of berry schnapps dropped into Zima) and the sickly-sweet cactus cooler (a mixed shot containing orange-flavored vodka, peach schnapps and orange juice dropped into a glass of Red Bull, then chugged). Despite the fancy options, bartenders say Jack and Coke and Coors Light are still the most popular.

Hours: Every day from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. The bar opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday during football season.

Phone: 562-433-5901

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