Hooters girls get out of the water; there’s a new shark in town.

"[Sharkeez] was the brainchild of Ron Newman and Greg Newman," says Lindsey Richardson, director of marketing for Sharkeez. "Originally [the Manhattan Beach location] was a place for the USC crowd, like a new kind of hotspot to come to."

Over the years, the restaurant and bar famous for its drink specials, great food and friendly party atmosphere has expanded its Manhattan Beach location to include four others in Hermosa Beach, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.

"We want this place too feel like a ‘Cheers’ bar," Richardson says. "You know, ‘where everyone knows your name.’"

Creating a spot where customers can get tasty food and drinks is something Sharkeez does well. Tropical props hanging from the walls give the restaurant and bar an island-getaway feel.

A major part of the Sharkeez experience is the food. It’s not what people might expect from a typical bar. Two different menus, inspired by tropical locals, have been created to serve hungry customers.

The Baja Menu, featured in Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, specializes in the best from the Gulf Coast with broiled chicken, steak and fish grilled over mesquite wood.

The Aloha Menu, featured in Hermosa Beach and Santa Barbara, specializes in "Mexonesian" food. Sharkeez coined this special term to describe a mix of Mexican and Polynesian cuisine.

Sharkeez offers something for every appetite with fish tacos, tri-tip sandwiches and burgers.

"As a girl, it’s nice to know that you can get an awesome salad here," says Richardson. "You don’t have to stick to just wings and celery."

The bar at Sharkeez is just as inspired, offering delectable mixed drinks and a ton of different beers. The bar also serves party buckets, a mix of different types of alcohol in a plastic container.

"We have the Shark Attack, the Black Sand Beach, Crocodile Rock, just a bunch of party buckets," says Kate Tapp, promotions manager for the Manhattan Beach Sharkeez. "There’re a bunch of straws and a shark floating in it. It’s awesome."

While eating and drinking, customers are surrounded with television screens featuring various sporting events.

"It’s great because you can come in here and see your favorite game from any angle," says Richardson. "We play March Madness and football. During games we have raffles or games where people can win dinners and stuff."

The main attraction for college crowds is Thursday nights when a section of Sharkeez transforms into a dance floor and a DJ plays music ranging from "Come on Eileen" to "Candy Shop." Drink specials are promoted all night. Domestic beers, well shots and cocktails are only $2 and Captain and Cokes and Absolute shots are $3. There’s also a "guest bartender" from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

"We’ll hook up different girls with a guest bartending gig and all of their friends get drink specials all night," says Greg Kistler, general manager of the Manhattan Beach Sharkeez. "It’s kind of a fun way to get the night going."

Although many have tried to theme their businesses similarly, only Sharkeez creates the perfect vacation atmosphere, serving drinks and delicious food through the day and partying late into the night.

"It’s constantly busy, but everybody is always happy to be here," Kistler says. "[Sharkeez] has so much character that it’s impossible not to walk in here and just feel good."

Baja Sharkeez, in Manhattan Beach, is open 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun.-Thurs., and from 9 a.m.-2 a.m., Fri.-Sat. For more information, visit www.sharkeez.net.