Manhattan Beach is not as far you think (from LAX, it's just 10 minutes!). The beach, of course, is the typical draw -- but what happens when the sun decides to set? You drink, of course. Then, you eat whatever chef David LeFevre is cooking at his new "social house." And, what the heck, maybe you stumble into a swanky little hotel and crash for the night. It's an LA Date Night meets staycation.
Simmzy's: In Manhattan Beach, everybody knows: You start the night off at Simmzy's. The local hangout is stuffed with good-looking guys and gals all with grins stretched across their sun-kissed mugs, gripping a glass of indie beer. St. Bernardus, Leffe Blonde and Blanche de Chambly are easy to call out for, but try the Simmzy's Hef, courtesy of Firestone Walker, or any of the other two dozen, mostly American, all under-$10 brews off the handle. Ultimate suggestion: An order of 15-Minute Wings plus a beer flight -- either the Bike Tour of Belgium or the Dealer's Choice ($11 worth of limited, impossible-to-find releases). Simmzy’s, 229 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, at Highland Avenue; Manhattan Beach (310-546-1201 or simmzys.com)
M.B. Post: Just a few weeks old, chef/owner David LeFevre (formerly of Water Grill) is shaping a new breed of diners in his beachside neighborhood. This diner is well-versed in the "sharing plates" concept, understands what the culinary meaning of seasonality is, and -- oh! -- just might have an affinity for Vietnamese cuisine just like Chef himself. This is why said diner might order every available carbohydrate listed under "Pass the Bread" (Bacon Cheddar Biscuit, Fleur de Sel Pretzel and Grilled Naan), the Spring Garlic Bacon Tart (with Bellwether ricotta, spiced honey and arugula) and the Vietnamese Caramel Pork Jowl, respectively. It's impossible to leave M.B. Post dissatisfied. M.B. Post, 1142 Manhattan Avenue, at Center Place; Manhattan Beach (310-545-5405 or eatmbpost.com)
Shade Hotel: A nightcap at a hotel bar? How very East Coast of you. But sharing a drink with your paramour at the Shade Hotel is too much temptation; you have to get a room. The boutique hotel, just steps away from your last three haunts on this epic evening (that includes the ocean), is very luxe. Listed as the #6 reason to visit LA by Conde Nast Traveler, we say that the #2 reason to stay -- just after those ridiculous beds -- is to wake up and squeeze in some pool time. 1221 North Valley Drive, at 13th Street; Manhattan Beach (310-546-4995 or shadehotel.com) More Date Night: 3 Reasons Why Thai Town Is Titillating