Located on the edge of Los Angeles County, 30-minutes south of LAX, Long Beach is the little city that could. Clean and modern, it is home to first-rate tourist destinations like the Queen Mary and the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. But at night Long Beach offers another side: an old-school, gentleman style that glimmers like the jewel in your grandfather’s pinky ring.
The civilized man and his inner child.
Sandwiched between the trendy bars in the heart of Belmont Shores, Dean Anthony Salon is a modern take on the age old experience of male grooming. Proprietor Scott Shelton and his friendly and efficient staff make it their business to see that your visit is memorable and unique.
From the minute you step through the sleek glass doors into the pristine lobby, the front desk makes it their job to minimize your wait and cater to your every need. While you browse the specially selected men’s skin and hair products, make sure to enjoy the complimentary selection of Red Vines, pretzels, nuts and candy. Or better yet, how about a Red Bull or perhaps an ice cold beer? That’s right. With every cut, shave and massage, Dean Anthony Salon offers a choice of 12 different beers — bottled or on tap — to ease you out of your hectic day and into their leather barber chairs.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop there. Each barber station comes with its own remote-controlled television. They even have televisions in the ceiling above the shampoo stations, so you won’t miss a minute of whatever you’re watching.
The hair and now.
But sizzle is nothing without steak, which is why the barbers — don’t call them “stylists” — are skilled and knowledgeable on current men’s fashion. With four chairs up front and two in back, the most popular cut is the “Man on the Go” — a traditional cut and a beer for $22. What’s not to like? There’s also the house specialty, the “Classic Cut” which includes a shampoo, mini-facial and hot towel; and for those who like a little more with their look, there’s the “Gray Camouflage” and “Highlights for Him.”
Really, it’s all about the shave.
While a good haircut can never be under-appreciated, a straight-razor shave is an experience unto itself. If you had one, you know. If you haven’t, David Cordova is the man to see. With a smooth, steady hand, David will lead you into the pampered promised land of the “Modern Man,” with a 7-towel shave experience like no other in Long Beach. First, David puts your face through a regimen of hot towels and soothing facial cleansers to soften up your stubble, then lathers you up with warm shaving cream. After deftly and meticulously working his straight-razor magic with nary a nick or cut, he finishes off with after-shave, mini-facial and cold towels to seal up to your pores and leave your face smooth, refreshed and rejuvenated.
Couples that groom together. And their kids.
At Dean Anthony Salon, the staff understands that behind every good man who needs a haircut and shave is probably a great women who would enjoy a facial, massage and waxing. That’s why their “Back Room” offers skin treatments with the finest pharmaceutical grade products, an array of waxing options and a variety of massages for both men and women.
For those young at heart at any age, the two barber chairs in back also come equipped with X-box and PlayStation. Can’t find a baby sitter? No problem. The kids can get haircuts (or just stay occupied) while Mom and Dad get pampered.
If you’re looking for a half-day activity or a unique gift for that special guy, there are “Gent Packages” from $100 – $350. If you want to be surprised, there’s also a daily special on the blackboard in the waiting room.
But where do I park?
While the salon doesn’t have a parking lot of its own, there’s unlimited parking on the side streets, and behind the major business and bars are several lots where you can get 5 hours of parking for 75 cents. If you do end up in a metered spot on the street, no worries. Just tell the receptionist where your car is located, she’ll make sure your meter is fed.
If that’s not pampering, what is?
Style — rare, medium or well-done.
You look good. You feel good. It’s time to slip into that sport coat and settle into a corner booth at 555 East American Steakhouse for a mouthwatering steak cooked to perfection. Considered the best steakhouse in Long Beach, and one of the best in Southern California, 555 East serves hand-cut steaks from corn-fed beef aged to their specifications. All brass and hard wood, the décor looks as authentic and original as the day it opened. A bit of an old boy’s club, don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting next to the Mayor of Long Beach or a retired Los Angeles Laker.
The wine list is extensive, the menu traditional. Oysters, meat and fish selections are varied. The service is efficient and unobtrusive. The knowledgeable waiter staff can answer all your questions, and their wine recommendations are excellent. Relax, enjoy yourself and rest assured you won’t go home hungry.
But you’re not going home, just yet.
Cigs and sticks.
With brick walls, high ceilings and tall windows, stylish Cohiba Nightclub and Cigar Lounge is the only cigar club in Pine Square. The Cigar Lounge offers a fully stocked humidor, a full bar and stylish atmosphere to mingle, shoot pool or watch a game on one of their many flat screen TVs.
The Nightclub sports two spacious dance floors — one with a DJ, the other live entertainment changing nightly from jazz, salsa and R&B to comedy, special events and guest DJ’s spinning Caribbean rhythms, Hip Hop and Top 40. Along with fast and friendly bartenders and wait staff, Cohiba offers a menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pizza. Weekdays from 6pm-9pm, there’s Happy Hour half price, with $4 well drinks, house wine and domestic beers.
On weekends, the crowd is upscale casual and this stylish venue gets packed. There’s a $20 cover and a dress code strictly enforced. Guests lists are available at their website, and table reservations are available in advance with a minimum bottle service required. It’s definitely the spot to get your “gentleman groove” on before you make your way back to Los Angeles.
Something for the drive.
As you leave Cohiba, be sure to stop at Broadway Pizza & Grill for a late night snack before heading to your car for the trip back home. Owner John Vagelatos keeps Broadway Pizza & Grill open until the wee hours of the night serving traditional appetizers, salads, sandwiches and grilled skewers. With his straight out of Flatbush style, John takes a personal interest in each customer and prides himself on seeing that everyone who walks in goes home with a contented smile. But that’s not hard. The pizza at Broadway Pizza & Grill is the best in Long Beach, if not all of Southern California.
A haircut, shave and massage? A good red wine and a rare steak? A cigar, some billiards and a slice? It doesn’t get more old school than that.
What & Where
Dean Anthony Salon (5287 E. 2nd St; 562-434-3326; )
555 East American Steakhouse (562-437-0626; 555 E Ocean Blvd; www.555east.com)
Cohiba Nightclub and Cigar Lounge (110 E. Broadway Ave; 562-491-5220)
Broadway Pizza & Grill (120 E. Broadway; 562-901-9690)
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Ed Horowitz is a screenwriter in Los Angeles. He has written independent and feature films and episodic television for Warner Brothers Studios, Universal Studios, USA Network and Lifetime. He is also a contributing writer to the Café Play Short Play Series at the Ruskin Theater in Santa Monica.