If you’ve been to Marine Room Tavern you’ve met Al Gandall, aka “THE BEARD” , aka everyone’s favorite cocktail expert this side of the Mississippi. Al is one of the very special ingredients that adds to the magic that is Marine Room Room Tavern. We took some time to interview this legend and get down to nitty gritty of what makes Al Gandall, a Laguna Beach favorite.


Marine Room: You’re a staple here at Marine Room, your fellow employees love you + your guests prefer an Al drink to water on a hot day. What’s your journey been like building your community in Laguna Beach?

Al Gandall: Damn that’s super humbling, but crazy fun. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best bartenders in the business. Was here alongside Robbie , Micah, and Dave and we they were really all the old timers and I was the youngest then. Now I’m the old guy here and it’s just been a fun time growing alongside marine room.


MR:  You’re everybody’s knowledge bank for alcohol, but where did your love for whiskey begin?

AG: Love for whiskey began with wine, it’s just like any other spirit in a sense of it has an origin and a sense of a place, and once you dive into that you can kinda just keep going.


MR: What’s your vision for the future here at Marine Room?

AG: You know, I love this place and I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t be the best craft cocktail spot in OC, especially with our selection of almost 300 whiskeys. We have a killer bar, I mean we’ve been around for over 90 years ya know. I think it’s something we are moving towards but haven’t really tapped into yet.


MR: Mr. Brown? Mr. Pink? Or Mr. Orange?



MR:  Everyone’s got a sh*t bar story, what’s your funniest/worst experience?

AG: We have some regulars, lets call them Sally and Joe, lovers? friends? I’m not too sure what they are, but they love to dance and play fight and makeout all the time when they’re here. One day they were standing right there where an old framed poster used to be, and the guys tall; mind you he’s like 6’4, and his wife just pushed his hands up against the wall and that damn poster came tumbling down. It was one of those instances where you just turn around and grab their check like, “yup , ok it’s time to take that back to closed doors. “


MR:  Why the beard?

AG:  …. because my wife let’s me.


MR: Last, what would you tell your younger bartender self?

AG:  *smiles* man, drink less.

Marine RoomComment