I’m wide awake, having went to bed early and took a nap shortly after waking, but you can’t say the same for Fat Face Fenner’s Fishack staff.
Chris Martinez, long-time Sharkeez problem solver, with the assistance of venerable former owner Gary Vincent, has been leading a super-charged team for 2 1/2 weeks, a team determined to re-open a completely re-charged FFFF in time for another Patriots victory.
“We’ve been working 24 hours a day. Brand new beer lines and taps, extensive cleaning, window repairs and a spruced up kitchen,” said Chris, who works for Sharkeez which recently purchased FFFF. “Most of us have only had a couple hours sleep a day.”
While the wait staff – made up of beloved standbys like Juan, Kristine, JD, Andrea, Eyner and Alyssa – look fresh and ready to take on the football hordes, Chris’ eyes show the impact of an exhausting push to the end zone.
It used to be called Fat Face Fenner’s Falloon, when it resided where another stalwart, Barnacles Bar & Grill, resides today. Opened in 1975, the nautically themed, locals bar and grill, kept that location until it nearly folded around 1995. Bostonian Gary Vincent bought it out of bankruptcy and moved it, with all the sailing and New England paraphernalia intact, to a perch above the Hermosa Pier.
The bar lasted another 20 years before a dispute with the landlord and the Hermosa Beach City Council’s constant nitpicking caused Gary to move on to the next challenge. Fortunately, Sharkeez Ron Newman stepped in and grabbed the prime location.
Right now the plan is to stay open as Fenner’s for 6-8 months, when the new owners plan to close, do a complete remodel and open back up as something swankier, continuing the disappointing gentrification of the once-funky Hermosa Beach. According to Greg Newman, the new place will be something between what it is now and a Palmilla, a bit pricier but still a neighborhood bar. Hopefully they won’t give in to the city’s yuppie minority who are determined to improve their real estate holdings by changing the raffish beach culture.
For today, the energy is electrifying, riding the wave of a team that worked all night to realize a difficult goal.
They have made it: The back room that felt cave-like in the past has been opened up by cleaning the windows, revealing sunlight and a spectacular view to the Pacific horizon. The beers taste great out of the new tap lines and the traditional chowder is ready to fill the bellies of Patriot’s fans, win or lose.
There are more TVs, the burgers are on the grill and I’m looking forward to watching the Patriots from a prime seat in the oldest Irish bar in the South Bay.