Sports bars have long been safe zones for adults making bad decisions. For one, you get to watch the game with your friends and contemplate together why you cheer for the same sh*tty team each year. Two, you get to drink cheap beer like you’re 19 and no one will say anything. And three, if a cold pile of tater tots hit the table, you aren’t even mad because it’s a sports bar. But when you go to Fishbar, you realize you should be mad. Sports bars can serve good food and this place is proof.
Manhattan Beach has long been the land of beach-themed sports bars and, at first glance, Fishbar doesn’t seem too different than the others. There’s a large wrap-around bar, flat-screen TVs on every wall, and a palpable Caribbean aesthetic that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tommy Bahama summer window display.
But if you’ve spent time in Manhattan Beach, you know this area as mostly filled with irritated families on vacation and underage weekend warriors drinking from flasks in the bathroom. You’ll see none of these types at Fishbar. Its location on the northern edge of town leaves it clear of tourists and full of people who actually live in the neighborhood. If you could care less about sports, you certainly won’t be in the minority. Locals come here just because they like it - not because of who’s playing. And the food definitely has something to do with that.
As the name suggests, you’re going to eat some fish here. And while ordering seafood at a sports bar isn’t always your smartest strategy, it is at Fishbar. Their fish tacos are easily some of our favorite fish tacos west of the 405, with housemade tortillas, cotija cheese, and something they call taco sauce. The rest of Fishbar’s menu covers just about every category of seafood - shrimp salads, fish and chips, mussels in a garlic broth, and any kind of skewer you could want. And it’s all worth ordering.
Bar food doesn’t have to be caviar-dusted foie gras, but it also doesn’t have to be wet french fries and heat-lamped bleu cheese poppers. There’s a middle ground, and Fishbar has found it. Providing a fun, unobnoxious atmosphere to watch some sports in is just an added bonus. Your sh*tty team, however, is still your own problem.
Some of the best fish tacos you probably haven’t had before. Huge chunks of fresh fish (get them blackened not fried), pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and “taco sauce” all on a housemade tortilla that’s way better than it needs to be. These are a must-order.
If you’re looking to stay a little bit on the healthier side, but also not get ridiculed by your friends for it, order this. Not only is it massive, it’s also good and extremely fulfilling. You’ll get the last laugh.
A big bowl of clam and mussels bathing in a delicious garlic broth. The serving is huge, making it an ideal table snack for the table.
Not the greatest fish and chips west of Britain, but still solid and definitely worth ordering.
Four words: laced in applewood bacon.
This is Fishbar’s signature dish and frankly, it’s a bit underwhelming. It’s not so much mac and cheese as it is penne pasta in a cream sauce with some lobster sprinkled on top. That said, would we eat it all after a few rounds? Absolutely.