Simzy cicerone Peter Shuey pours a Cismontane brew. Photo by Anna Cox
Like so many things done well, what the brothers Simms did in downtown Manhattan Beach in retrospect seems inevitable.
But three years ago, when they took over the little 1,200 sq. ft. storefront at 229 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, tore down the front wall to let ocean air and sunlight in, then opened a venue called Simmzy’s that offered artisanal pub food and craft beer, nothing they were doing was obvious. The location had been home to a series of failed restaurants, and the South Bay’s beer scene had yet to emerge full-throttle.
Nobody knew if a market existed for what the Simms were doing. But it didn’t take long to find out: Simmzy’s was vibrantly popular from the get-go. It even shocked Mike Simms, the brother whose love of good beer was at the root of this new concept. Neither he nor his brother Chris expected the lines that have become a frequent phenomenon outside Simmzy’s front door.
“Every day, it still shocks me,” Mike Simms said. “Way beyond our expectations.”
Simms said his motivation for opening Simmzy’s was personal.
“I just came from a selfish point of view, really – I wanted a place to drink good beer close to home,” Simms said. “I had been working in West Hollywood, and there were some pretty good beer spots around there. The closest one here was Naja’s, and you can’t really take your wife and kids there. We wanted a place where we could.”
Simmzy’s offers 24 handles of craft beer, 18 of which are constantly rotating. The pub’s two certified cicerones, Peter Shuey and Greg Bechtel– beer sommeliers, essentially – are always on the lookout for different beers. Simmzy’s has particularly become a destination for new breweries. It was the second account for South Bay-based Strand Brewery, for example.
“We are constantly looking for the next new brewery out there,” said Shuey. “We pride ourselves on relationships and trying to stay ahead of the game, so to speak….We are fans of the small guy, family-owned places. It’s cool to give ‘em a shot and see where it goes.”
Locally brewed Monkish Feminist and Blue House Two 5 Left were among the brews off the handle last week, part of a varied offering of handles that included Jackelope Imperial Pumpkin Porter, Craftsman Sourdough Ale, Moylans Kiltlifter, and Alesmith Horny Devil. Among the new trends are barrel-aged brews by local breweries and “Manmosa’s,” a mixture of orange juice and hefeweizen.
Simms believes the craft brew scene has just truly established itself. He and his brother have opened up another Simmzy’s in Belmont Shores and a third will open in Venice next year. Unlike the brew pub trend that came and went more than a decade ago, he thinks the age of hand-crafted brewery beer has staying power.
“My answer is that it’s here to stay,” Simms said. “For good.”