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A Distillery and Prohibition-Era Restaurant Dock at Downtown Long Beach in 2018

Portuguese Bend will let customers sample the wares alongside a full menu of throwback fare

A distillery setup
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Long Beach is landing its first distillery next year, called Portuguese Bend. The effort was launched by a group of investors that include Luis and Brenda Navarro, owners of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine and the Social List in the LBC. Portuguese Bend is their first venture outside of the restaurant business.

Derived from local history, the actual Portuguese Bend landmass was a hot spot during Prohibition. Nearby Palos Verdes is still full of hidden caves known as “Rum Row,” and was used by smugglers to hide illegally imported booze from Mexico and Canada throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Distiller Simon Haxton told the Long Beach Post:

“We want to identify with Long Beach and Long Beach does have a history of alcohol, so we have some heritage... Plus I’m one-eighth Portuguese, part of my family came here from Madeira, so it has a nice tie-in to our identity.”

As mentioned in the Post, Portuguese Bend plans to revive some pre-1920 era distillation methods, and will also offer a tasting bar and full restaurant. The latter is to be called The Willmore Yards, and will serve modernized 1920s American fare. The Navarros anticipate a January opening for the Portuguese Bend Tasting Room, then a functional distillery with food service by the summer of 2018.

Portuguese Bend will become the eigth distillery in LA County, just behind Loft & Bear, Greenbar Distillery, Rob Rubens Distilling and Brewing, Our Los Angeles, Spirit Guild, Lost Spirits, and Stark Spirits in Pasadena.

Portuguese Bend
300 The Promenade North
Long Beach, CA