PierView Café sails into the sunset


Longtime Malibu establishment closes its doors. Identity of new owner is kept secret.

By Kim Devore, Staff Writer

Over the years, it has become a Malibu fixture. Its ever-changing outdoor sign invited locals and visitors alike to stop in for happy hour, watch the basketball playoffs or celebrate summer on the oceanfront patio. On Thursday, there was a different message: “Thank You Malibu for 13 Wonderful Years.” In a sudden and unexpected move, the favorite watering hole, Pierview Café, was sold in a seemingly secret sale.

“There have been so many rumors,” owner Chuck Spencer said. “I don’t even know who bought it. I was dealing with an attorney and a broker. They basically made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Spencer, a veteran of well-known eateries like Friday’s, purchased the then-vacant property in 1989 and christened it the Pierview Café.

“At the time, there wasn’t anything like it,” Spencer explained, “Especially on the beach. Our idea was to create the quintessential beach bar.”

The Pierview became known for its relaxed atmosphere with sawdust on the floors, surfboards on the walls, a backroom pool table and bar-side TVs. It became a favorite among the Pepperdine University crowd and was one of the few places where you could grab a beer and a burger after 10 p.m.

“It was casual, affordable dining on the beach and meant different things to different people,” Spencer said. “For some it was a neighborhood bar, to others a breakfast stop or a place to bring a first date.”

According to legend, there was even an Elvis sighting, which led to bumper stickers that read, “I saw Elvis at the Pierview Café” a few years back.

Pierview employee Adam Jacobson and his co-workers gathered on Sunday night for one last get-together.

“I love this place,” Jacobson lamented. “It was the best job I ever had.”

Jacobson said he’d remember the laidback vibe, the people he worked with and the people he served.

“Everybody came to Pierview-Adam Sandler, Helen Hunt … Tommy Lee was in yesterday.”

“Oh my god, this was the best place to work,” said bartender Mauro Villalba, who has been serving up PCH Punch and DC Margaritas for nine years. “Everyone was like family.”

Assistant Manager Darek Deshetler shared similar memories.

“It didn’t matter whether you were a dishwasher or a bartender, we all hung out and had a good time. It was the opposite of a corporate place.”

The end came quickly. Employees were notified that they would lose their jobs only last week. What will become of the place is the subject of speculation, but another restaurant seems likely.

“Whatever happens, it won’t be the same,” Jacobson said. “It’s the end of an era.”

“It’s been a good ride,” Spencer said. “The whole thing hasn’t really hit me, but I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll shed a tear or two.”

As for Elvis, he says, “I never saw him personally.”