The location: The Bait Shop.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A popular night club and concert venue.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Newport Beach, on either the Balboa pier or the Newport Pier; it's an oddly-shaped blue building with a fish-shaped sign on top.

    (The fish sign is copied after a similar sign on top of a real Newport cafe called "The Crab Cooker" - which isn't on a pier at all. The sign on the real Crab Cooker reads: "Don't Look Up Here!")

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 3 (of season two), the guys read a flyer about an upcoming concert at "the new place on the pier". Seth wants tickets badly enough to beg Alex (the female bartender at the Bait Shop) for a janitor job at the club, which he gets (leading to a brief affair with Alex).

    The Bait Shop is seen often on the show, during Seth's pursuit of Alex (Episode 13, season two), "The Test", and when the kids are attending concerts.

    In Episode 8 (of season two), "The Power of Love", Sandy surprises his wife with a party at the Bait Shop (and takes the stage to sing).

    In Episode 27 (season two), "The Dearly Beloved", there was a shooting upstairs there (involving Trey's girlfriend in a botched drug deal).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An empty building on the pier.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. At the Redondo Beach Pier. The Redondo pier includes a cluster of blue-roofed office buildings on the top level of its parking structure, and this large, unusual building matches that aged/blue look. But it's located at the far northeast corner of the pier, next to a rocky breakwater, and just a few steps away from (the real) Kincaid's restaurant (which is at 500 Fisherman's Wharf).

    Back in 1988, a major storm & fire destroyed much of the Redondo pier, which was subsequently rebuilt in 1994. The "Bait Shop" building has been unoccupied since that last reconstruction. Before that, the building housed an actual nightclub on the top floor and a fish market/fast food place on the bottom floor. So the O.C. producers opted to use the empty building for The Bait Shop.

    On my last visit (in 2006), that Bait Shop fish-shaped sign was still on top of the building (albeit covered in clear plastic to protect it from the elements).

    See a detailed map of the pier for the exact location.

    (The Pier itself is located at the west end of Torrance Blvd.) Here is a general map link to the Redondo Beach Pier.

    And here is a link to an aerial photo map (close-up) of the Bait Shop building. (Zoom out for a full view of the pier.)

Update: In 2012, a fan, Adam, sent me this new photo he shot of the Bait Shop building:

(It appears the place has been neglected and is starting to get pretty run down.)

UPDATE: In February 2013, it was reported that Redondo Beach plans to tear down this building.  According to the news story,the building was further damaged by strong winds that blew off panelings, and they worried that it might be unstable and be a potential danger to visitors.  Plans called for it to be torn down before the end of February 2013.  Alas, one less O.C. landmark on the Redondo Pier... (Thanks to Annita for sending me a link to this story.)

UPDATE: In August 2013, Chris sent me this photo of all that remains of the now-demolished Bait Shop building:

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. This was the easiest find of all. I've been to the Redondo Beach Pier many times, so I recognized the unique building as soon as I saw it on "The O.C."

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THE O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements are trademarks of and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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