Southern California’s bar, restaurant and hotel scene would have never been the same without the bravura influence of native-born son Michael Zislis. A visionary entrepreneur, restaurateur and hotelier, Zislis has captured the essence of the region with a cavalcade of well-loved and highly successful establishments.
A native of Palos Verdes, Zislis was only 13 years old when he brewed his first beer for a school science experiment. By the time he was a student at USC, he was a master brewer. In the late 80s Zislis parleyed his brewing experience into opening his own brew pub, one of the first in California, Manhattan Beach Brewing Company. He opened a second brew pub in nearby Redondo Beach, then more up and down the coast. When a local institution went up for sale next to the Manhattan Beach Brewing Company, Zislis couldn’t resist the challenge. In 2000 he built what quickly became the most popular local restaurant in the South Bay area, Rock’N Fish, a seafood and steak house influenced by Michael’s favorite restaurants in New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco.
In 2004 Zislis seized another downtown Manhattan Beach opportunity, transforming an urban revitalization project into the area’s first and only luxury boutique hotel, Shade. Designed to maximize comfort and inspire relaxation while capturing the essence of coastal living, Shade is listed as Conde Nast Traveler’s #6 reason to visit Los Angeles, also landing on the prestigious publication’s Hot List for 2007, one of only 19 U.S. properties named.
In 2007 Zislis opened Mucho Ultima Mexicana, which immediately became the South Bay’s premier Mexican restaurant and hottest lounge scene. Preserving the rich tradition of the Mexican dinner table with fresh, handmade ingredients, the place comes alive at night with soulful house mixes by guest DJs, live music, and specialty & favorite bar cocktails.
Looking to bring his unique coastal vision to downtown Los Angeles, Zislis opened a second Rock’N Fish at L.A. Live, home of the Staples Center, Nokia Theater and the Grammy Museum. The 6,000-sq. ft., 240-person capacity Rock’N Fish L.A. Live recreates the relaxed ambiance that has made it a favorite in Manhattan Beach for nearly a decade.