Remains of L.A.

Traces of L.A.'s past can still be found, in the kitsch of '50s diners and the decayed glamour of '40s hotspots… and sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people.

(1952) Tony’s on the Pier, aka “Old Tony’s,” Redondo Beach


TonyssignsurfTony’s, with its fresh seafood and all, seemed a little pricey for me (that’s definitely going to be an issue, going forward) but the bar, which sits on the roof of the restaurant like an octagonal hat, was said to have amazing views, so I thought I’d check it out. I wanted to walk on the pier anyway.
I go to restaurants alone all the time, but almost never to bars, because I don’t drink, and it seems weird to sit at a bar drinking club soda. It was fine at this bar, though, cause I just said I was there for the view and the bartender smiled said they don’t charge extra for the view and put a bowl of some kind of fancy chex mix next to me.
-Eight walls of windows looking out over the Pacific, wooden beams, ceiling fans that looked like they were woven from palm fronds, lots of wood, a peaked ceiling and, for some reason, what I’m pretty sure were fire-fighter hats hanging on each of the eight ceiling beams. Lights in huge colored globes hanging from the ceiling in fishing nets. This was one of the best rooms I’ve ever been in.
-At the table next to where I am sitting, a couple young surfers straight from central casting (including seventies hair and peeling noses) discuss renting a house in Mexico and argue amiably over where the best surfing is. One thing they agree on: Puerto Vallarta is not in the running.
Tonybarview-classic rock playing, because of course
-the occasional fly buzzes by, but not an annoying sort of fly, the sort of fly you’d expect, even want, at a beach bar
-dialogue at a nearby table (there are only about seven people in the place, so it’s easy to overhear): “There has got to be some variety of grass that doesn’t need to be watered at all, but still looks good!”
-guy at the bar tries to get the bartender–who has read the books–to give him GOT spoilers, but the bartender refuses, and points out that not all the books are written anyway so who really knows.
-After I finish my club soda (and leave a 75% tip) I go down to the restaurant to use the bathroom. The restaurant is just as lovely, with a cool stained-glass window, and more colored globe lights hanging in nets, and fishing nets on the ceiling, and a large round table with some sort of rock fire pit in the middle.
-On the stairs between bar and restaurant there are celebrity headshots that have clearly been put up over the decades when they were famous and not taken down if they happened to stop being famous; people I kind of recognize and people I definitely recognize and people I do not recognize. This picture is just the smallest taste… it was hard to get more because of the stairs.

Clockwise from top left: no clue; what's-her-name; John-boy; Kojack no wait I know this oh yeah Telly Savalas; that guy; that guy; that guy; oh I love that guy what's his name.

Clockwise from top left: no clue; what’s-her-name; John-boy; Kojack no wait I know this oh yeah Telly Savalas; that guy; that guy; that guy; oh I love that guy what’s his name.

-In the bathroom are some framed clippings of newspaper articles about the restaurant. One, from the Los Angeles Times in 1955, is about a monkey, thought to have escaped from a circus, who had taken up residence on the pier and would come to Tony’s every day to beg for food, and steal cherries from the bar and sugar bowls from the tables.

I want to go back every day. Tony’s is one of my favorite places in the universe. I’m so jealous of that monkey!

What I Ate: Club soda with lime, some kind of fancy chex mix (was still full of mediocre veggie burger from the last place, which was too bad; the onion rings on a nearby table looked fantastic)
What I Read: Didn’t read, just looked at the view and drank in the atmosphere (rarely has that ever happened, but it was awesome).
What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts Which I do Not: A young newlywed couple, who came to the bar one evening while honeymooning on their yacht. Note: Unless otherwise stated, all ghosts mentioned in this blog died peacefully of old age and then reverted to the age/place of their choosing.

210 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

2 thoughts on “(1952) Tony’s on the Pier, aka “Old Tony’s,” Redondo Beach

  1. If you are ever in Dana Point, check out Turks. It’s a super old-school OC harbor bar. The walls are covered in rad photos of long ago OC through the lens of the body-builder movie-extra founder. You will love it.


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