The Gaslamp: A Shining Light on the Dark Streets of PCH

Aug 10, 2010 by Lindsay Pullin

When you drive to the The Gaslamp, heading down PCH in Long Beach, usually it feels dark and deserted. You might think to yourself, where are we going? How can there be any fun this way?

But then you arrive and the music is blasting and you realize, everything will be ok because, let’s face it, everything is always ok when Jesse’s Girl is pumping from the speakers.

I recommend frequenting The Gaslamp (6251 E. Pacific Coast Highway) on a Friday night, at about 10pm, when Knyght Ryder takes the stage. Although under new management, there have been some changes, Knight Ryder is still rocking the 80’s covers till last call (1am, but hey it’s a residential area).

The dance floor fills up and everyone sings along. The venue is pretty large so if you’re sick of having your toes stepped on or a purse shoved in your stomach by the girl dancing next to you, you can walk off to the side and have a breath of fresh air. The band takes one break from playing, but a DJ plays dance music so if you’re just there to dance, there’s no need to stop.

Get there early, before the band starts playing. There’s no cover, so you should be able to breeze in (there is rarely a line. The one new addition that I could do without is the new valet parking. The bar has closed off half the parking lot for valet, meaning the self parking fills up pretty quick and leaves you driving around searching for nonexistent spots; meanwhile you’re cursing people’s terrible parking jobs.

The valet isn’t unreasonable ($5), I think I just have a principle about valet parking my car in a lot so small I could actually throw a football across it (and I mean me personally, with the football skills of someone who needs some practice. So if this is unappealing to you or you’re looking for the cheapest night out possible, show up early enough to park for free.

Here’s another head’s up: you don’t have to wait for your drinks if you just go to a different part of the bar, it’s large and most people forget to visit the back part of the club where there is no line. But you can’t bring your drink outside on the back patio past 10pm. They suggest you leave them on the table inside, but let’s be serious, we all learned never to leave our drinks unattended. And the drinks aren’t so cheap that you would want to walk away from it without finishing, although they’re decently priced and certainly strong enough to make singing to the Beastie Boys at full volume seem perfectly reasonable.

A cute attention to detail which is a throwback to days of yore is there is an attendant in the girl’s restroom, who provides hand towels, sells single cigarettes, gum, etc and keeps the bathroom neat and tidy. She works off tips alone, so if you plan on using her services, be generous, as she is attentive and friendly.

Thursday is College Night (with CSULB right around the corner I’m sure it’s a big hit) and Saturday is Hip-Hop night with the band, the Thuggs, but in all the years I’ve been coming here, it’s been for Knyght Ryder on Friday night.

Although it’s a restaurant, I’ve never eaten here, but they have happy hour specials well worth taking advantage of, so if you’re looking for a reasonably priced Friday (or even downright cheap) drive on down PCH to The Gaslamp, dark streets and all.

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