I’ll admit to judging a book by its cover. I’ve passed Southland Bar countless amounts of time on my way to Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills to eat, drink or watch. I never considered stopping by until word of mouth reached me that it might be a good bar. My issue was that the olde English S logo combined with its awkward strip mall-esque location made it seem like a miserable place. The weirdest bars and night clubs are always the ones that don’t fit in with their surroundings, in this case, a construction vehicle rental lot, an Indian grocery store and a body & foot massage place.
But, again, that’s just the cover.
What’s happened is that the owners of Southland are making the most of their space and location. It’s not a cool area with a lot of foot traffic and parking, but it’s a cool bar. That’s all we need in the Torrance-Carson area, to be honest. There’s a serious lack of decent bars that aren’t attached to a chain restaurant. Everything’s a Yardhouse or worse. Southland serves the nightlife need in many ways, and because of that, it’s a successful bar.
Let’s Call It Contemporary Rustic
The first thing you’ll notice when you step inside is that it’s nice. Nicer than you expected, if you’re like me. The second thing you’ll notice is a mounted moose head. They named it Bruce and it’s allegedly a hundred years old. The mounted animal head image becomes a recurring theme. Slick, copper ceilings play off of ram horn table lamps. Brass billiard lights contrast with taxidermy jackalopes. Everything is modern and luxurious with hints of a hunter’s cabin in the woods. Contemporary rustic.
More Than A Dive
The atmospheric flexibility doesn’t stop there. In some ways, Southland is a great sports bar, with multiple flat screens set up behind the bar always showing one game or another. A great old pool table takes up another corner if you’re lucky enough to get to it first. Yet, on the other end of the bar, it starts to feel like a lounge with studded, leather seats along the wall underneath antique books on a shelf. On Friday nights, it’s not unusual to see space cleared for a dancefloor and a DJ with modest lighting rig.
This sports bar/lounge/night club identity crisis might sound like a detriment, but mostly, it’s just a flexible place. Again, with the lack of real bars in this immediate area, they have a lot of gaps to fill. Of course they would try and serve as many functions as possible. On a moderate night, it’s a small bar that feels big because of this. But it’s not always one for moderate nights. Southland is no stranger to packed houses. The spot has built up a strong clientele, and that’s always an attractive quality for anyone trying to socialize.
Southland Bar – (310) 326-1400
23900 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505