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Long Beach Post
Long Beach area welcomes its 1st and only mocktail bar: Shirley’s Temple
By Kat Schuster,
Essie Evans, a bartender by trade, knows how to craft a good cocktail. But over the years, she’s taken note of a lack of spaces for people to enjoy an elegant, quality beverage under low lighting—just, without the booze.
That’s why she just opened the doors to Shirley’s Temple in Signal Hill, the area’s first and only mocktail bar.
Though a growing number of establishments have added buzzless spirits and cocktails to their menus in recent years, Evans has long lamented the banality of non-alcoholic offerings at restaurants and bars.
“Maybe there’s like two options, and if you don’t want one of those, you’re kind of like, ‘Well I’ll just take a water or a soda,'” she said. “But you deserve to have as many options as people who do drink.”
At Shirley’s Temple, there are currently nine mocktails on the menu that range from spicy to caffeinated to bitter, sweet and everything in between.
Cafe Noir (a mocktini) is made with four shots of espresso, coffee simple syrup and house-made Irish creme. The Retro Rose is mixed with floral notes of roses, lemon and a honey infusion topped with a splash of non-alcoholic prosecco and edible rose petals. And of course, there are a few versions of the classic Shirley Temple. La Spicy Shirley is a blood orange chili pepper margarita with non-alcoholic blanco agave tequila, topo chico, sweet blood orange, smoked ancho chiles, citrus notes and cayenne pepper. The list goes on .
“I wanted to create a place where you can go and have as many options as you want in a variety of flavors,” Evans said.
“And no pressure. I feel like sometimes when you go out, people are kind of looking at you funny like ‘Why aren’t you drinking? Is there something wrong?’ And then you kind of have to explain, and I don’t want people to feel that way.”
Evident from her menu, Evans envisions endless possibilities when it comes to creating non-alcoholic elixirs and she plans to switch up the bar’s offerings with the seasons.
“I think when some people think about mocktails they’re like ‘Oh isn’t that just juice?’ No, there’s so much more you can do than just juice in a cup. There are some drinks that have root plants … like kava. There’s some that have CBD, but without the THC, so you’re not getting high, you’re just getting the relaxed feeling.”
The bar has only been open since Sept. 8, but Evans says the most popular drink on her menu is The Vintage Violet, made with lemonade, violet, house-made coconut and butterfly pea foam, and a purple orchid garnish.
Within Evan’s cozy space, there are photos of sober Hollywood stars and a large portrait of the late actor Shirley Temple, famous for the iconic roles she played as a child.
As the story goes, a young Temple was pining for an elegant drink like the old-fashioned her parents were sipping on one day at a restaurant. So, the bartender served her the sweet, scarlet-colored concoction that would later be dubbed the Shirley Temple.
On the weekends and during evenings, Evans plans to turn the lights down low, turn the music up and have board games available. The bar also has a full food menu with everything from weekend brunch to sandwiches to charcuterie.
Ultimately, Evans wants to make Shirley’s Temple a social haven for the sober community or even just those who are pregnant or want to take a break from drinking alcohol.
Evans herself drinks occasionally, but she says she saves her drinking for rare and special occasions.
“It’s not a requirement to have fun,” she said.
Evans is also lending her space to the community to use for sober parties and events. Soon, she said a friend will be using it to celebrate 15 years of sobriety.
And, so far, the concept has been well received.
“I’ve seen people on dates here,” she said. “People are saying that they really love it and haven’t seen anything like it, it’s unique. I think people are just excited about having something that’s brand new that they haven’t tried before.”
Shirley’s Temple is at 2420 E. 28th St., Signal Hill and is open Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Thursday to Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
The bar doesn’t have happy hour yet, but Evans is offering Sober Sundays from 2 to 9 p.m. which is three mocktails to try for $30 and 20% off food.