The sweetly serene coastal town of Seal Beach is actually rife with entertainment, perfect for those who aren't into the tourist-packed busyness (or bro-ness) of other such pier-joined Main Streets. For day-drinking, swing by several stellar spots along the main drag to catch a buzz (hello, 320 Main!); our favorite, hands-down, is O'Malleys On Main, (140 Main St., 562-430-0631; www.omalleyssealbeach.com). Stop in for a few frosty pints, a shot or two (ask for a Tic-Tac, chilled. It's one of the few concoctions comprised of energy drink and liquor that won't make you look like an asshole ordering it), and chase it all down with a big ol' plate of Maggie's potato skins (crisp, bursting with cheese, sour cream, bacon and chives). Locals usually snag all the seats at the bar, but there's plenty of room at the high-top tables and booths or on the open-air patio (one of the few places in the county where you can actually smoke and drink at the same damn time).
Plan your Wednesday-evening pub crawl to either begin or end (should you be one of those early bar-birds) at the end of Main Street at the Seal Beach pier for the city's Summer Concert Series (Seal Beach Pier, Main Street and Ocean Avenue; www.sealbeachchamber.org). Held every year, it features performances from local musicians starting at 6 p.m. Prior to the concert, stop by Angelo's Italian Deli (133 Main St., 562-431-1113), a few storefronts from the sand, for gourmet picnic snacks including dry salami, spicy calabrese sandwiches, homemade ravioli—and wine! A bottle per person usually does it.
Sophisticated evenings (or date nights on which you want to impress) should be spent at Spaghettini's Jazz Club (3005 Old Ranch Pkwy., 562-596-2199; www.spaghettini.com). Attached to an upscale Italian restaurant, the swanky little lounge hosts some of the best live jazz music this side of the 605. Up to five nights a week, you can catch jam sessions, R&B, flamenco and frequent hostings of KLOS FM-95.5's Breakfast With the Beatles. Purchase tickets online ahead of time to guarantee a seat or a table, and look sharp: There's a dress code here, folks.
But what's really getting our crafty little hearts pumping this summer is the Seal Beach Annual Arts & Crafts Faire, popping up the first weekend in September at Eisenhower Park (Main Street and Ocean Avenue). Vendors from all over Southern California gather to display original art, sculpture, handmade jewelry, clothing and more. Last year's fest hosted nearly 90 artists—see how many show up this season, and peruse the aisles of tents and booths containing treasures you didn't know you needed, all with an ocean backdrop and sea salt in the air: late summer at its finest.