These photos were taken Saturday at a new gastropub, Schooner at Sunset, which is located at 16821 Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach, CA. For those not sure where Sunset Beach is, it is the very north end of Huntington Beach, just south of Seal Beach. Your car’s GPS is most likely going to call it Huntington Beach, so don’t worry, it is all the same place.

To be honest, I am not really in the habit of going down there unless I am taking a weekend motorcycle ride down the coast. The fact of the matter is, when I initially left the house this afternoon I was headed north; but since the destination I had in mind was not to be found on the Charger’s GPS, I remembered hearing that Schooner at Sunset had opened, and put their address in the GPS instead. The only reason I knew of Schooner at Sunset was that a friend of mine, Daniel Drennon, told me he was involved as their Director of Craft Beer. Having met Daniel during the last American Craft Beer Week when he was the “beer guy” at LA Weekly, I knew that the craft beer menu would be something I could get into. When I saw his list of available craft beers on tap for their grand opening I was very disappointed that I was going to have to miss it due to a schedule conflict with a couple event photography gigs I had.

As I mentioned above, I am not really familiar with the Sunset/Huntington Beach area, so I relied solely on my GPS device to get me there. The first thing I noticed was that getting into the front parking lot meant I needed to be readily familiar with the entry, or I would have to make a trip around a short block to try again. It was when I circled the block that I noticed they also had a parking lot in the back. Since it was mid-afternoon, there was plenty of parking. By the time we left, they had a valet parking cars, but I cannot really comment on that.

I had been under the impression that Schooner at Sunset was a beer bar with a wide selection of brews. Not sure why I thought that because nothing could be further from the truth. Not only do they offer 20 American craft beers on tap, but they also have a full bar and offer some of the more common beers and wine. On top of that, they offer a fairly extensive food menu with everything from breakfast, to sandwiches and tacos to steaks and salads. The pricing was quite reasonable.

Being a firm believer of “happy wife, happy life,” I let Tanya peruse the menu for meal we would split. She could not decide between their chicken sandwich and their Rubenesque, a corned beef sandwich with cole slaw) so I made the decision that we would go with the corned beef. I had forgotten that Tanya had never tried corned beef before and that I had told her I would introduce her to it when I found a place that served good corned beef; I lucked out. The corned beef at Schooner at Sunset was delicious and lean enough to be fun to eat rather than chewing through stacks of fat. She really enjoyed it, as did I.

When we asked our server, Brett, about the dessert offerings nothing really sounded interesting enough to try since the sandwich and flight of beers had been quite satisfying. As we waited for our check, a plate of powdered donuts with Dolce de Leche sauce passed us and we decided to have dessert as well. It was very good.

My overall impression was that the location had probably been meant as a neighborhood bar, but once I got inside I discovered it was much more than that. For one thing, it is really spacious inside. The bar itself is pretty big, but the restaurant area is twice as big and I seem to recall seeing another bar area in the back which might be solely for mixing drinks for the restaurant area. If you are into craft beers, they do offer flights of three beers for $9.00. While the pricing may seem a little higher than most places, the tasters are about 5 ounces as opposed to the standard 3-4 you will find elsewhere. On top of that, they have a very nice selection of craft beers to choose from. I know I will not have any problem making a detour when I am cruising back up the 405 after a day ride and I will most likely make a couple special trips just to see what Daniel has brought out to try. It is worth the trip.

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