I find it odd that in a city like Los Angeles, with miles and miles of beaches, there are so few good beach restaurants. Sure, there are the Malibu options, but how can you enjoy your $15 Bloody Mary after dealing with traffic, beach parking and the half-hour drive back to civilization?

Therefore, I was intrigued when I heard about a new beach-themed restaurant, right in the heart of Hollywood – Maui and Sons Bar & Grill. I know Maui and Sons from their clothing line, so their bona fides are established for the beach culture part. They have teamed up with Sunset Entertainment Group, which runs the Pig N’ Whistle (which is right next door to Maui and Sons Bar & Grill) and others, so the restaurant part seems under control, too.

So, can beach casual mesh with Hollywood glitz?

Just outside the restaurant, you are welcomed by a seven-foot blue surfer statue, which tells you you’re not in Kansas anymore. Unless, of course, you ARE from Kansas and you feel compelled to take a picture with said statue, which I saw at least three couples do! The beach motif continues inside with a bar done up in tiki style, a row of wooden booths and a large long board that serves as a communal table. The vibe is comfortable and the wait staff is island friendly.

Looking at the drinks menu, I thought I had stumbled in at happy hour, but I was informed they don’t have happy hour. The prices on the menu are their prices all the time. Let’s see, $3 Newcastle draft? $3 Peroni on tap? Uh, sure, sign me up! They also have 10 specialty drinks for $6 each, with names like Pipeline, Blue Hawaiian and Wipe-Out, which continue the beach theme. I ordered a Surf Zombie – three types of rum, apricot brandy, pineapple, orange and lime juice, with a float of Bacardi 151 rum on top. Aloha and good night.

The food menu also seems happy hour priced as there is not an item on the menu over $9. The beauty of this is it allows the sharing of a lot of dishes, and share we did. The hit for me was the Pumpin’ Popcorn Shrimp, medium-sized shrimp lightly battered in tempura tossed in a Japanese-style spicy mayo. The shrimp are cooked perfectly, still plump and juicy to bite into with a slightly crunchy outer shell. I wasn’t as taken with the Maui Cheese Fries, which were topped with a “woo-tang” sauce – their take on Thousand Island dressing. I felt the dressing was too sweet and overpowered the fries. The Lava Wings were spicy, tangy and meaty and only $7 for a dozen.

The main dishes are burgers, sandwiches, tacos and bowls, bowls being a protein on a bed of rice and either beans or vegetables. The winner is the the Volcano burger, which puts the cheese inside the patty, so you get melty, cheesy goodness in every bite. The meat is delicious and it comes with caramelized onions, crispy onions and the woo-tang sauce from the cheese fries. Here the sauce works very well as it adds a bit of tang to the burger. Also passing the test are the Huli Nuli Tacos – grilled mahi-mahi tacos topped with coleslaw, guacamole and salsa. The fish is fresh and the guac is superb. It’s a steal of a deal as you get two tacos for six bucks.

As you can imagine, once the weather heats up, so will the beach-themed events, including an open grill on the patio. My favorites idea is beach volleyball. They plan on using the open space between their restaurant and the Pig N’ Whistle to set up an actual beach volleyball court. It costs $5 to play, which goes directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So not only do you get some beach volleyball action in the heart of Hollywood, you help out a good cause as well.

So while Maui and Sons Bar & Grill can’t provide the ocean views of a Malibu, it does provide good food and drinks at great prices in a comfortable and fun environment. I’d say that’s a pretty good trade-off. Aloha!

For more information, visit mauiandsonsbarandgrill.com.