Steps off the sand and just a block from Hermosa Beach’s main drag, The Standing Room hosts the same fun-loving ambiance you’d hope to find in a South Bay Beach Bar, with a level of sophistication in its food that isn’t nearly as easy to come by. While others may be grasping at straws for how to become something new and different in the age of the gastropub, The Standing Room has owned its distinguished culinary identity for nearly a decade. So step inside this rustic place and see what American-Korean is all about.
Biting into The Standing Room’s tuna poke nachos unleashes a myriad of lovely emotions associated with the indulgence of rich, fresh, crispy and velvety. A mountain of ahi makes this starter a meal in itself, and perfectly-fried wonton makes you wander what made tortilla chips so good in the first place. Then witness the soft shell crab sliders, with black buns colored with squid ink, to confirm that Chef Lowell Bakke is going to wow you every step of the way
The Napoleon burger is another bucket-list item—cleverly described by the friendly wait staff as ‘having a burger complex.’ The description alone takes up two lines across the entire page on the menu, including three kinds of cheese, three kinds of meat [bacon and a huge slab of braised short rib], Korean aioli and fried egg, served with ever-so-lovely parmesan truffle fries. This is definitely a fork-and-knife operation…and note that the burger goes all the way up the knife when cutting.
A seasonal restaurant, The Standing Room rotates several items in and out. If the healthier-minded happen to catch the buratta and pear salad on the menu, they will certainly appreciate the fresh baby arugula made sweeter with pecan crumble. Those with decadence on the mind will enjoy the chicken ‘n biscuit, with bite-size passion fruit tea-brined fried chicken and super-thick gravy. Don’t forget about a fun list of sandwiches, highlighting Asian-inspired meats that meld harmoniously with comfort-style classics.
An extensive beer list is every bit as adventurous as the food menu, followed up by a good wine selection and fun seasonal cocktails. The drink menu definitely highlights the latter part of the night, where droves of partygoers flock to The Standing Room for loud live music. The transformation from rambunctious sports bar to popping city bar is seamless; just prepare to move outside if you want to continue conversation after the music starts.
The Standing Room is located at 1320 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Redondo Beach location at 144 N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. Open 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Mon - Fri, 8 a.m. – 1 a.m. Sat/Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for split appetizer, entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~ $46/person. For more information call (310) 318 1272 or visit The Standing Room online.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.