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December 6, 2010 Posted by admin in news

“ It’s a change of pace from Newport Beach ... ” - COASTLINE PILOT, June 2003

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The Big Draw

Every night draws a crowd to the Ocean Brewing Company.  It’s one of the hottest spots in Laguna Beach for locals and people in Orange County.  In fact, it’s the place most often suggested to residents looking to check out good music, atmosphere and people.

Though each night the crowd varies a little, its popularity never seems to change, and with its entertainment lineup, Ocean Brewing Co. continues to draw in lines of people.

Inside, the walls host varying artwork, giving it a gallery like appeal.  It’s a vibe the owners Jonathan Thomas and his wife Maria, both artists, are going for.  The couple opened the popular brewery nine years ago.

“Since we opened we try to change the art every couple of months and have a new artist,” Thomas said.  “Sometimes they are famous, other times they’re local—we switch it around.”

Always looking for something fresh, the newest music feature is on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m.

“On Sunday, we wanted to do music during the summer, Sunday afternoon,” Thomas said.  “We wanted to do something different, a different style.”

Acid jazz fits that niche, Thomas explained.  Most Sundays the band Liquid Window plays.  Also featured is a band Dino that plays funky, folky blues.

“We’ve been doing it since June,” Thomas said.  “The crowd is relative to the music.  This crowd is an older, more sophisticated crowd—28 to 38 years old.”

Mondays its closed, but Tuesday night is close to being as busy as Friday.

Tuesday night is 80’s night, with a DJ spinning favorites and the dining tables cleared to make room for dancing.  At certain times on Tuesday night a steady line invariably forms.  This past Tuesday, like many before it, the dance floor was packed as DJ Chris Carter kept the crowd going.

Corona del Mar resident Kelly Ameli, 25, said this is the second time she’s been to the 80’s night and plans on coming when she can.

“I had a good time time, I like the vibe of the people and it has a good atmosphere,” Ameli said.  “The DJ spins and there’s a lot of dancing and drinking.”

Tuesday always draws the youngest crowd, aged 21 to 28 years old, and is more targeted to the surf and clothing industry—which Thomas has ties through some of the musicians and artists and clientele.

“Eighties night draws outside Laguna Beach but the main group is from Laguna Beach,” Thomas said

Kendra Hollena, 21, from Newport Beach and her friend Alison Eade, 22, from Mission Viejo enjoy coming to Laguna and dancing to 80’s music.

“It’s a change of pace from Newport Beach,” Hollena said.  “We like 80’s music, it’s become a hang out, this is where our friends come.  All the 80’s fashions are coming back.”

Eade and Hollena said that they used to be into the club scene but favor Ocean Avenue, as most people call it a brewery, because it’s more down to earth.

Marina Meneses, 24, from San Clemente, said everyone talks about the 80’s night at the brewery.

“Tuesday nights, it’s the hot spot here,” Meneses said.  “There’s so many different people you meet and the bartenders and music are great, it’s fun.”

Friday nights DJ’s spin house and hip-hop.

“Friday usually beats out Tuesday because we have more of a dinner crowd,” Thomas said.  “Usually throughout the night we have a crowd of at least 300.”

Starting in July, on Wednesday nights, will be a band out of L.A. “Vagenius.”

“Vagenius is a new-wave funk put together by Joaquin Cooder,” Thomas said.  “His father Ry Cooder is a famous musician.  Wednesday the crowd is usually 25 to 35, the music brings in an older crowd—it’s campy and cool, really top notch.”

Wildly popular local band “Common Sense” plays reggae on Thursday nights.

“The reggae crowd is so diverse with people from 60 to 21 years old,” Thomas said.  “That’s what’s great about them, they have a real broad market of fans.  I personally like that—all age groups together, it’s more fun.”

Thomas’ first experience in a tavern was a pub in England, where guys in suits were having conversations with someone with a Mohawk.

“I think that’s the way it should be, it’s just like common ground,” Thomas said.

Ocean Brewing Co. is at 237 Ocean Ave.  For information, call (949) 497-3381.

- Suzie Harrison

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