Shine’s has kept Irish tradition intact for 110 years


On St. Patrick’s Day, Shine’s, one of the oldest bars in Long Beach, planned to follow its decades-old tradition of handing out free corned beef and cabbage dinners to regular patrons.

Long Beach celebrates Irish Day in the fall, but Shine’s and other pubs on the barrier island go out of their way to honor Ireland’s foremost patron saint.

One Shine’s regular, Rich Doraio, of Long Beach, has been to several St. Pat’s celebrations there, and takes part in the bar’s annual New York-to-California bike tour around the city’s streets. There’s a tradition of sharing a drink after the tour.

Shine’s is the “first place you go into the West End and the last place on your way out,” Doraio said. “It’s a tradition. It’s really cool to say you’ve been to Shine’s.”

“We can offer a more intimate, authentic Irish pub experience,” said Megan Casey, the co-proprietor, with her husband, Brent Wilson. “You can find all ages, music and all kinds of people having a good time.”

This year, the establishment will celebrate its 110th anniversary. The building is even older, dating back to the 19th century. Once called a tavern, it has been owned by three families since Eugene Shine, an Irish immigrant, opened shop in 1912. Shine owned it for over 30 years, and even stayed open secretly during Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933.

At one point during that era, Shine’s was raided, and was found to be stockpiling about $300,000 worth of alcohol, Casey said. The trap door leading to the area under the bar where patrons drank in secret is still there.

The pub was sold in 1946 to Michael V. Delury, the father of former Long Beach City Councilman Mike Delury, for $12,000. Mike V. had been working at the bar after returning from World War II, and wanted to buy it and allow Shine to retire.

The $12,000 was an employee loan from Msgr. John Cass of St. Ignatius Martyr Church. Michael J. Delury, Michael V.’s father, was employed as a sexton at the church. St. Ignatius had a couple of stipulations for the loan: The establishment must be closed on Good Friday and women must not work behind the bar. Both are still followed today.

Mickey and Paul Wilson, Brent’s father and uncle, bought the bar in 2005, with the intent to “keep it the same,” Casey said. Brent got involved the following year.

As you walk through the main door, the bar is on the left and the pool room on the right. The bar is where a garage used to be attached to the building, with the same entryway and wooden doors. The bar top is also unchanged since the days of Prohibition.

Shine’s is rife with history. The legendary New York City journalist Jimmy Breslin used to sweep up the bar after hours when he was a teenager. He wanted free drinks for his work. He got them.