Photos by Brian Addison.

The Breakers building has undergone its fair share of facelifts and revamps since it opened in 1926. Once a luxury beachfront hotel and now a high-end assisted living facility, the historical landmark is undergoing yet another renovation.

The rooftop bar, located above the Sky Room restaurant, is being transitioned from its current incarnation into what Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Rosenson describes as a craft cocktail bar that will serve patrons in a space where its classic Spanish architecture intersects with Dia de los Muertos—a drastic shift away from its current incarnation as a club-like party bar.

Breakers02The working title for the refurbished rooftop bar, “La Cantina de Ciello,” will implement distressed woods and burnt oranges, creams and electric blues to compliment its panoramic view of Downtown and the harbor. It will also trade in its more generic bar offerings for a more curated selection, something that Rosenson said will most likely affect the bar’s demographic. 

“It’s going to be a drastic change,” Rosenson said.”Like going from the desert heat to the Brazilian humidity. We’ll see how it affects them but I think people are craving better. Once you taste something good you don’t want something inferior.”

The rooftop bar’s most recent renovation came as the result of Rosenson and his father’s travels to Spain where they fell in love with the tapas restaurant and lounge culture. However, when they implemented it at the Breakers building, the idea didn’t take hold like they had envisioned.

“People weren’t coming up to us and saying, ‘This is the best kept secret,’” Rosenson said.

With the current reset of the rooftop bar, he looked to distance the rooftop bar from its current perception. No more club music, no more generic, let’s-drink-to-get-drunk drinks; instead there will be a brand new menu with over 25 craft cocktails, mezcals and tequilas with the occasional guest DJ to spin vinyl.

In other words, forget your Jack-and-cokes in favor of a Mezcal Cannonball, where mezcal, cotton blossom honey syrup, pineapple-jalapeńo jam, lime and lavender bitters are mixed to offer a sweet ‘n’ spicy concoction that is sure to please. And for those less willing to go down experimental roads, Rosenson’s new bar will offer takes on classic like gimlets and mules.

The intimate floor space that was designed before the invention of tap systems will prohibit the rooftop bar from offering craft beer on tap but Rosenson said there will be a bottle selection for patrons who aren’t craving a cocktail.

His long term goal is to transform the bar in sky into an experience bar, where patrons will go embark on a boozy excursion with exotic bottle lists as the guide.

Although Rosenson doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the standard bar set up, the move to a more craft setting was something he felt would help both reestablish the rooftop bar as a destination for Long Beach bar goers, but also raise the profile of the city as innovators in mixology. He believes the new rooftop bar, which will debut in the next few weeks, can be a relaxing place where people can expect to get the best cocktails while enjoying the backdrop of city lights and the ocean breeze.

“It’s nice to evolve into a new chapter with new feeling. I think the city is ready for something avant garde. All the major cities around us are doing it so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it better.”

The Breakers Building is located at 40 South Locust Street. 

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.