When my friend says to me “we’re going to this place in Long Beach,” all I do is comply. I have no pre-conceived notions, nor do I have any inclinations as to what it is we’re doing. I place my trust in him, that I’ll have a good time. As we step inside Roxanne’s, a smile comes to my face. I look at my friend and say “this is really cool.”
Roxanne’s is a dive bar of sorts, but once inside, you’ll realize the building has been around for quite some time. I love the feel of this place, something you don’t often find in Orange County — history, architecture and the feeling that if these walls could talk, there would be a lot to say.
I’m told that we are to grab a bite first at Roxanne’s before the “surprise” so we find a cozy spot in the back corner, order some cocktails and some bar food to prepare us for an evening of imbibing. Since we arrive during happy hour, we take advantage of what’s on offer.
Crispy Yumbo Wings usually $8 for 6pcs are a buck a piece. I ask if we can get two each of every flavor: mango habanero, tamarindo BBQ, spicy buffalo. My favorite was the heat-packed mango habanero!
Our drinks arrive and there is Moving Pictures ($12) a blend of rye whiskey, Quina sweet vermouth and bitters; and Hemingway Daiquiri ($12) rum, maraschino, lime and grapefruit. I like the rye whiskey drink a lot more than I thought I would.
Next comes Empanadas ($8) and we choose both the pork and veggie empanadas. They’re rather delicious, a mix of carrots, green beans, and potatoes, topped with curtido and tomatillo sauce.
I move onto a Paloma next, a tequila-based cocktail. Good choice!
After we finish our meal, I am led over to the back of the bar and through the doors of the phone booth. My friend picks up the phone, whispers a secret password (refer to Roxanne’s website for more details) to the person on the other side, and we are promptly welcomed into the Exhibition Room, a speakeasy offering some innovative cocktail creations, some dating back 50 years.
We find a seat at the bar and order up two cocktails. I think we order Field of Dreams and Prospect (both $12) — my memory is shot from too many of these tasty drinks. The atmosphere is insane! I feel like I’m in a movie from the 1930s in an underground secret society, hidden from everyone else.
The experience at Roxanne’s and the Exhibition Room is one which you’ll have to experience for yourself.
No words can truly describe the vibe in the speakeasy. Grab a couple of friends and head on down to Long Beach. Even if you don’t head into the Exhibition Room, drop in for a drink at the bar.
1115 E Wardlow Rd
Long Beach, CA 90807
The Exhibition Room
1101 E Wardlow Rd
Long Beach, CA