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Photo by Rusty Hogsback.
Nestled toward the northern-most edge of DTLB* at Anaheim and Magnolia is a longtime divey staple, The Nugget.
The Nug is that bar which defines the pleasure of the dive: birthed at some point between the late 60s and early 70s, filled with kitschy, haphazard hints of the Vegas’n’gold-diggin’ life, a floor lined with pink and gray checkered linoleum, its only nods toward any type of connection to the contemporary world are promotional additions from Bud, a handful of electronic games between the two pool tables…
In other words: it’s the perfect place to create an entirely unique concept for.
And that’s precisely what Kyle Flavin, the man who managed one of Long Beach’s best watering holes, The Blind Donkey in DTLB, plans to do with the space he will rename The Hawk. With the building’s staggered wall facade, the introduction of Trademark Brewing right down the street and the overall reinvention of Anaheim, Flavin is confident that his newest bar will become a catalyst for the neighborhood.
“I’m excited to say the least,” Flavin said. “Downtown needs to have that feel that Austin has.”
Flavin hits a particularly valid point: while DTLB has no doubt been going through a renaissance when it comes its culinary and drinking scene (led definitively in part by Flavin’s leadership at the Donkey), it can feel stagnant in a sense, if not banal. Cities like Austin and places like DTLA are creating more distinct identities with their ability to experiment and—more importantly—explore the weird with their spaces while honoring their culture. Think Clifton’s, The Edison, and Seven Grand in DTLA and Midnight Cowboy, HandleBar, and The Jackalope in Austin.
Flavin’s concept is “kinda hard to explain in a single sentence.”
“Here’s the thing with The Nugget: it’s a glorified neighborhood institution—and that means I have to pay attention to the details of what made it that institution,” Flavin said.
A few things. Think midwestern. Focus on hospitality. Low brow, high brow.
“Four dollars to 40 bucks is kind of how I’m explaining it,” Flavin said. “Miller High Life to Russian River. Strong cocktail program but one that isn’t accessible, one that’s on the affordable side of things… With 15 parking spots, two pool tables, and a giant space, I think we’re really gonna create an entirely new drinking vibe for Long Beach.”
In other words, it’s a bar concept that is actually different, exciting, and outright fuckin’ weird—which is what makes the idea, should it come to fruition in the way Flavin hopes, Long Beach’s next coolest bar.
Flavin, who just scored the keys last week, is in the midst of gutting the joint out and moving forward on the revisioning as The Hawk. He hopes to open as soon as July—a mighty feat to achieve but a perfect welcome to midsummer in Long Beach with a midwestern vibe.
“Yes, there will be a booze slushee machine. It’s happening,” Flavin said.
It’s so happening.
The Hawk will be located at 468 W. Anaheim St.
*Let’s put one thing to rest. The boundaries of DTLB are as follows: west of Alamitos, east of the 710, north of, well, the ocean, and south of Anaheim. Nope, not PCH. Definitely not 10th.
Within those boundaries are the East Village and Willmore.