Drop Anchor at Schooner at Sunset
A Surfrider Foundation Sponsor Story
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Schooner at Sunset (16821 Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach, CA 90742) is the kind of local beach restaurant where you can stop by and see friends already gathering at the bar or out front, sharing stories and catching up on the day.
Driving down PCH, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel spotted the restaurant immediately, noting its ship design and blue-and-white-striped awnings. By the time we reached the entrance we were ready to be piped aboard.
The restaurant’s nautical décor, wooden-plank tables, leather booths, and well-appointed bar made it clear that this was a place to relax and hang out.
The first person to greet us was hostess Brianna Owens, who was wearing a Surfrider Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter T-shirt. This made us feel welcome from the start.
Whether you’re there for an order of fish and chips after a day of surfing, want to sample the tacos on Taco Tuesday, or are in the mood to dine with friends and listen to music, Schooner at Sunset has it all. And no shortage of locally-produced craft beers to try!
Some of the California craft beers on tap include: Strand Beach House Amber, Noble Ale Works Rosalita, The Bruery Mischief, Ritual Wits End, Beachwood BBQ Rubia, and Alesmith X.
Manager David Pruchnic told SurfWriter Girls, “The restaurant is a gastropub specializing in craft beer and craft cocktails. There are 20 different kinds of draft. And the craft cocktails are made with the best ingredients and fresh-squeezed juices. The Margaritas are made with agave. We make our own sweet and sour mix, too.”
Focusing on American classics – hamburgers, sandwiches, “market melts” made with the fish of the day, rib eye and flatiron steaks, and Atlantic salmon – plus extensive taco and bar snacks menus, Schooner’s emphasizes comfort and camaraderie.
Chef Vasili Tavernakis, draws on his Greek roots for some of the dishes and a mix of French, Italian, and Mexican influences, as well.
“We serve traditional, diner-style food with elements of fine dining. Everything is brought in fresh and in season. The pasta is homemade from scratch.” Depending on the season, the fish on the menu might be Yellow Tail, Atlantic Cod, or Northern Pacific Halibut. One of Tavernakis’ specialties is calamari, breaded in the Greek style, with his own blend of seasonings.
The bar snacks alone could make up a meal…and Schooner’s puts its own spin on everything. Take that staple mac and cheese. Here it’s lobster mac – a blend of lobster, pasta shells, cheese fondue and chives. And the chicken drummettes with a spicy dipping sauce are hard to put down.
Schooner at Sunset’s Vinyl Taco Tuesdays offer more than just value-priced tacos. You get an assortment of favorites – ground beef, grilled chicken and grilled shrimp – along with ceviche, lamb tacos, and others, priced at $1.50 or $2.00. Plus it’s a BYO vinyl party with everyone bringing their favorite records to spin.
Bartender Jeff Busse is right in the middle of all the action. “It’s amazing here. We get to bring something different to the neighborhood and turn people on to the craft scene.” With all the different beers to pull and drinks to mix, he’s busy non-stop.
There’s always something going on at Schooner’s. Monday night is football or comedy night. On Wednesday local bands show up and Thursday is country night. Friday and Saturday are dance music nights. Sunday focuses on new talent.
Pruchnic explained, “One of our goals is to be a destination entertainment venue. We want people to come from outside the area to see our acts.” Along with lining up top talent, Schooner’s has created a showcase for the performers in its state-of-the art lounge.
Launched in January 2013, Schooner at Sunset is the new sibling to the popular Schooner or Later restaurant in Long Beach.
As part of its commitment to the beach community, it is a sponsor of the non-profit Surfrider Foundation, which works to preserve our oceans and beaches. Schooner’s fundraiser for the H/SB chapter last August was a big hit, with party-goers bused in for the festivities and the proceeds going to help Surfrider achieve its environmental mission.
Schooner’s is open Monday – Wednesday from 2 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Thursday from 2 p.m. “till the cowgirls go home;” Friday 2 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m – 2 a.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more information, phone 562-592-2121 or check the website.
Then the next time you’re looking for a neighborhood eatery at the beach where you can kick back with friends, why not drop an anchor at Schooner at Sunset – the “schooner,” the better!
Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at