First Look Inside The Social List, Retro Row's Latest Restaurant Addition

Luis Navarro—the restauranteur who, along with his sister Erica Norton and partner Brenda Rivera,recently celebrated Lola's 6th anniversary—has always wanted to move onto the next thing. Not another Lola’s, per se, just something else.

If you know Luis personally, you wouldn't be shocked at how his new idea came about: it started in a car ride to Santa Barbara to go see New Order in concert with Long Beach film guru Logan Crow.

The entire Lola's family play a large part in the family is the 4th Street/Retro Row gang, so when Navarro heard from Portfolio and Berlin owner Kerstin Kansteiner that the northeast corner of 4th St. and St. Louis Avenue was available, it made sense the crew wanted to move in.

“I immediately called Brenda and said, ‘This is where we have to invest our idea and we have to do it now,’ and then called my sister,” Navarro says. “[My sister] was eying Downtown LA but I convinced her that this is the spot.”

The Social List, 4th Street’s soon-to-be newest addition, was born. In a car. On a whim.

The 4th Street side of the corner has been dark for well over a year, with local clothing store Port and framing store The Artistic Edge sitting on the St. Louis side during the day and shutting down come night time. This ultimately left the whole corner a dark patch in the otherwise lively strip of Retro Row. The off-the-cuff lease—described by Brenda as “going from concept to reality on a road trip: typical Luis”—of the space by the Navarros and Nortons from land owner Kurt Harris soon made The Social List move from conceptual to tangible.

Their concept? A simple one: a place where you are encouraged to socialize, drink, eat quick’n’easy tapas, and move along to your next location.

“I am an at-heart-traveler,” Erica says. “I just got back from Europe and there is something about the vibe of Europeans: they don’t stay in one place. They jump around and socialize from place to place. There’s a vibrancy about it all that was truly alluring and enchanting. That’s what we want with The Social List: to not be your final destination, to encourage going out and exploring more.”

Erica’s trip to Europe, particularly her visits to Russia and Estonia, is a clear indication of the interior inspiration: the wordplay on “socialist” is paired with various pieces of original post-WWII Socialist Realist art that was state-sponsored by the Soviet Union from the 1930s onward. More paintings and artworks begin to hit the walls as they work day and night to complete the project within the coming weeks.

Though directly political in one fashion, Erica was insistent that the art’s more direct dedication to the worker—rather than political spectrums—is the focus.

“This is a place about and for the worker,” Erica said. “Just wait until Labor Day for our celebration.”

The beer-and-wine focused drink list will feature three Trappist beers along with a selection from San Diego’s Stone Brewing, who is training employees about beer as well as how to properly serve it. Erica also noted that her wine list is intended to be “eclectic” without a focus on a single area but “simply great harvesters.”

Along with the high-end beer and wine, The Social List hopes to offer food that, according to Luis, “you just can’t get anywhere else in Long Beach.” Given Erica and Luis’s love of food—in a single conversation, Erica can drop everything from Peruvian staple Mo-Chica’s humble beginnings near USC to DTLA’s newest bastion of gastronomical goodness, Bestia—the quality of grub should be nothing sub-par. Think jamon Serrano croquettes or beer-braised brats or wild mushrooms on top of crostinis or...

The crew is hoping to open May 19, with a special opening for friends and family the week before to "see what they truly think and offer genuine opinions."

The Social List is located at 2105 E 4th Street. Anticipated hours are 11AM to 11PM with hopes to stay open until 12AM Fridays and Saturdays.

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