In just over three years 2nd Street bar scene has undergone a dramatic change in profile from a calm and conservative area to a busy college party scene. The culprit, Panama Joe’s Grill and Cantina’s self proclaimed “College Night”.
Panama Joe’s(PJ’s to the cool kids) is the place that Long Beach State students and young adults alike have found sanctuary for their care-free college life style. It was once a seasoned old local’s bar with little foot traffic. But that all changed when Sharkeez Corp., a company renowned in the Southern California area for it’s beach city party life purchased and completely renovated it. A move that has not only drastically changed the bar itself, but the entire Belmont Shore area. This change in demographics isn’t something that happened by chance though.
The folks working at Panama Joe’s are a systematic bunch. They have perfected their craft of making it nearly impossible for college kids to say no to the events they promote on a weekly basis. Trust me I’ve tried. But when every Thursday is College Night with the promise of beer pong tournaments, live DJs, and a highly attractive, vivacious crowd it’s hard to turn down.
Justin Essman, one of the PJ’s employees heading the promotion team for College Night also is a master in methods of persuasion it turns out.
“We have a big bar tab, and we love giving away alcohol to our friends who come and visit”, says Essman. You had me at beer pong tournament Justin. Did I mention there is a laundry list of prizes if you win the tournament?
He went on to tell went the lavish list of prizes that pongers could win. The list included flat screen tvs, Apple gift cards, to X-Box 360s, I-Pads, and essentially more to choose from then Santa Claus ever brought me.
Paying $10 to drink beer all night and get an early birthday present doesn’t sound like a bad night to me. On top of that they give discounts for those with Long Beach State ID card’s. Who knows you may even score a few free drinks if you get to know the boys in charge well enough. Its pretty apparent that the crowd that extends half way down the block every Thursday night agrees with me as well.
The party doesn’t stop at beer pong tournaments though. After all, not everyone wants to invest there time in throwing ping-pong balls into a red cup. It is also a well known trap for social isolation outside of the two teams playing and that is no bueno if you came out to mingle. PJ’s is filled to the brim with what is easily one of Long Beach’s more attractive crowds. Just visit PJ’s facebook page if you don’t trust my sense of judgement.
PJ’s is the only licensed venue,club, and bar in the area. That means be ready because the entire restaurant side of the building becomes a dance floor at night. They dim the lights and crank up the house music(electronic, bass-heavy dance music). I won’t be listening to it on my way home from work but it definitely gets a lot of people pumped up.
Finally, for those individuals who want to relax outside in the cool night air or maybe just have a conversation with a friend the patio near the entrance is opened up. It’s a refreshing change of pace even if you are a dancing machine.
So if you’re like me and you’re in your early twenties and still trying to enjoy them, head to Panama Joe’s for Thursday night’s festivities. You’ll be back for more.