With its distinct red decor and velvet paintings of Elvis Presley and Mexican wrestlers hanging on the walls, Alex’s Bar has been a Long Beach mainstay for more than 20 years.

Throughout its long tenure, the venue, which was opened by Alex Hernandez in January 2000, has hosted acts such as Black Flag, Eagles of Death Metal, punk legend Mike Watt and John Doe of X.

These days, however, like most other businesses, Alex’s Bar is suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic because it cannot hold any live events.

But its own musical history could help keep the place afloat thanks to a group of photographers who dug into their photo archives for a new book.

“All we ever wanted to do is help Alex,” said John Mairs, an Orange County-based  photographer who came up with the idea for a concert photography book simply titled “Alex’s Bar.”

“I love the location, I love the business, and I love the bands we get to see there. Once we get to the other end of this pandemic I would love to make sure we still have places like that,” he added.

The 42-page book is made up of more than 70 photographs taken at Alex’s Bar throughout the years, featuring fiery performances from bands including the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Adolescents, Manic Hispanic, Cadillac Tramps, Blind House and even a shot of Jello Biafra, formerly of the Dead Kennedys, crowd surfing through the packed venue.

“This is amazing. How lucky are we to be part of such a great music community. John took it upon himself and put together this awesome book. It’s very humbling,” Hernandez said.

For years, Mairs has attended several concerts at Alex’s Bar with his camera in hand in to take pictures for his online music magazine 13 Stitches Magazine. He said he wanted to do something to help after seeing everything Hernandez was doing to try to stay afloat, which included adding tents to his patio so he could team up with a food vendor before outdoor dining was banned.

The venue is now back to just selling liquor to-go for now, doing livestream shows and selling merchandise such as Alex’s Bar T-shirts and an upcoming tiki mug.

“I’m seeing him do everything he humanly can to stay open and work with the restrictions and regulations,” Mairs said.

Wanting to help, Mairs called some photographer friends, contacted others through social media and got the word out that he was looking for photographers willing to send their pictures of shows at Alex’s Bar for a new book.



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