The concept didn’t need overhauling, just a little tweaking. Previously Tavern On 2, Belmont Shore’s popular spot for gourmet burgers and craft beers, is now Long Beach Tap House, an updated version of the gastropub.
The new owners completely renovated the interior, with a long, low bar framing too many beer taps to count, all of them chilled by a fancy glycol-cooled system. Vintage beach photos are blown up and cover the opposite wall, while the previously white walls have been painted a cool black.
The décor wasn’t the only thing getting a tune-up. Long Beach Tap House’s menu contains considerably more options for vegans and vegetarians, and the word Impossible appears in several places. Along with a list of specialty cocktails, there are booze-laden milkshakes such as the Berry’d at Sea, which combines locally grown berries with vanilla and raspberry vodkas, and the Peach Pit 90803, made with peach whisky, peach schnapps and loads of the namesake fruit.
Not to be missed is Long Beach Tap House’s list of French fries, which features such enticing variations as the Bordeaux (spuds topped with a wine-beef reduction sauce and gruyère cheese) and the Monster (which comes with all the goodness of In-N-Out’s Animal-style fries). For anywhere between $5 and $9, you’ll get a trough of perfectly golden fries laden with toppings, a massive portion fit for a party of at least four.
The restaurant opened about two months ago, and because Long Beach Tap House was still fine-tuning its dishes at the time of my visit, some of the options shown online weren’t found on the physical menu. The servers, however, are exceptionally helpful, and mine offered several suggestions.
The buffalo wings starter is another large portion and comes with either fried chicken or fried cauliflower. Opting for at least one non-potato vegetable for the meal, the cauliflower version offers what appeared to be nearly half a head of the veggie cut into substantial chunks that are very lightly battered and fried, then drenched in fiery buffalo sauce and accompanied by a dill-heavy ranch dressing and the standard carrots and celery. Another starter, the Black & Gold Mac and Cheese promised gruyère mornay and black truffle—and was deceptively light on both those distinct flavors. The pasta shells were perfectly al dente, and the cheese sause was thick and hearty.
While Long Beach Tap House makes salads, sandwiches and a few house specials, it’s definitely a burger place. The signature styles come with either a beef (cooked to your liking) or Impossible patty and are served on a sesame-dusted bun straight from Pietris Bakery down the street. The Grand Prix burger I ordered was a stacked creation oozing with beer-mustard gravy, fries, American cheese, a pickle and bacon. It was heavy, decadent and large enough to share. Next time, I plan to order my server’s suggestion: the Truffle Shuffle, which comes with truffles, brie and garlic aioli.
The restaurant will be rolling out happy-hour specials, including weekly deals such as half-priced boozy milkshake Mondays and $5 select craft-beer pints on Fridays. But whatever you do, make sure to come hungry. And maybe wear some elastic-waisted pants.
Long Beach Tap House, 5110 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 343-1817; longbeachtaphouse.com.