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Hermosa Beach’s 80-Year-Old Jazz Legend the Lighthouse Cafe Returns Today

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Chef Joshua Luce is ready to reopen the historic bar that has been a hangout for Miles Davis and many others

A brick exterior of a neon-lit bar at night.
Lighthouse Cafe
Lighthouse Cafe
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Hermosa Beach’s historic Lighthouse Cafe is coming back to life today, following a long closure during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant space itself dates to the early 1930s, and has operated as a bar and live music venue under the Lighthouse name since the 1940s.

A wooden table with a plate of hot chicken and dark red wood and cocktail beyond.
Hot chicken
Lighthouse Cafe

Chef Joshua Luce, who also operates ongoing Central Coast barbecue pop-up Goldland and was previously the executive chef of Venice restaurant Neighbor, is on to oversee a menu of comfort classics from tacos to hot chicken, while barman Lee Farrell runs the cocktail program. The restaurant will focus on takeout and limited-capacity outdoor dining only for now, and — per necessary COVID-19 protocols — no on-site live events or music, which has long been a hallmark for the property. The opening menu is available here.

Over the decades the historic Lighthouse Cafe has been a haven for jazz musicians and fans, hosting nights with famous names from Chet Baker to Miles Davis. More recently, the Lighthouse Cafe even earned a starring role in the film La La Land, though the property at 30 Pier Avenue has mostly dark for the past year.

Much like more traditional restaurants, music venues and clubs have been particularly hard-hit during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns. A national Save Our Stages push has helped to bring awareness to the plight of live music venues across the country, though locally many spots from the Silverlake Lounge to the Troubadour continue to face an uncertain future, often turning to GoFundMe pages to try to raise money from fans. The reopening of the Lighthouse Cafe today it, at least, a small bright spot for the scene at large,