Portuguese Bend abruptly closes storefront amid legal battle between owners

The city's first grain-to-glass distillery—a hallmark of the pre-pandemic food scene in DTLB—has taken a massive step back in its presence.

by Brian Addison

Portuguese Bend Distillery, the city's first formal distillery and one of the largest anchors to move into DTLB, has abruptly shuttered its entire storefront and restaurant, directing customers to its online shop for bottles and merchandise.

The move comes after Beachwood also closed its kitchen—but is keeping its space open as a tap room—and DTLB faces uphill battles, including Portuguese Bend's neighbor, Lupe's, which has remained closed and vacant for weeks.

Nothing but a note on the door from Portuguese Bend about the closure of its storefront. Photo by Joe. E. Bee.

The space's most active owner and the company's distiller, Simon Haxton, has not returned request for comment on the closure, which follows a steady decline of service hours across the past several months, from open seven days a week for full lunch and dinner service when the space first opened in 2019 to three days a week with limited hours come January of this year.

Additionally, surrounding rumors about the distillery, landlords have confirmed that its two owners—Brenda Rivera of Lola's and The Social List, and Haxton—are in a legal battle concerning Haxton's handling of the distillery.

"With all the labor of love it took to create the first distillery in Long Beach, it saddened me to see its doors closing," Rivera said. "No one could have ever predicted COVID-19, imagined the climate of downtown, and Haxton's inability to pivot the business."

Portuguese Bend Distillery is located at 300 The Promenade N.