The Place: The Pike Bar & Fish Grill, 1836 E. 4th St., Long Beach, (562) 473-4453
The Hours: 3:00-6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Deal: $1 off all draft beer and well drinks; daily menu specials. The Scene: As a bar with a sterling Long Beach / Orange County punk rock pedigree--thanks to owner and former Social Distortion drummer Chris Reece--the punk and the plaid reign among patrons and employees alike. While this can make The Pike somewhat insufferable on a packed weekend night, its much more welcoming as an afternoon and early evening spot, when you'll find a smaller and much more age-diverse crowd--with tattoos spanning across generations--including late lunch-ers, early drinkers and the occasional writer, student or telecommuter pecking away on a laptop and nursing a beer. In addition to the free wireless, the bar also has windows--a rarity among the dives and faux-dives of Long Beach, as well as a few sidewalk tables. The jukebox may be the best of all the bars on 4th Street, which is a high, high honor.
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The Sauce: The Pike sports a decent list of draft beers, including some Stone brews, Fat Tire, a few imports and the ubiquitous PBR. Well drinks don't include any notable standouts.
The Eats: The Pike sports a full kitchen and has a complete menu--fairly fish-heavy, per its name--which includes much-touted fish-and-chips, a McDonald's-inspired (in the best of ways) fried fish sandwich, and lobster tacos. There aren't any food deals for happy hour beyond the daily specials, but if you're looking for something cheap and beer-friendly, order a side of The Pike's steak fries. They're cut roughly into rounds rather than resembling the classic long and slender frite, and are fried hard to an almost dark golden brown, just the way we like.
The Verdict: Why go against the New York Times? It's a great spot which is arguably at its best during those hours which are happy.
The Grade: B+, because no matter how awesome the jukebox may be (and its really, really awesome), $1 off isn't exactly the greatest happy hour special.