Words | Matt Thompson + Lauren Lilly
Photos | Grant Puckett 

It’s an 80-something degree, dry-heat Saturday afternoon in Long Beach, CA and I’ve just parked opposite an antique two-story tan brick building with clean lines and steel accents. 

On the first floor: Recreational Coffee. Hands-down one of the best coffee shops in Long Beach right now.

On the second: one of the best kept secrets in Long Beach… The Howl Event Space.

Nestled between a high-end apartment building and the Blendery, the tan brick always brings a smile to my face…

I’m jay-running across Long Beach blvd. and rather than watch for oncoming traffic, I’m staring at the 1920’s structure in front of me. Instantly captivating  architectural depth and detail to deserve more than one focused bout of gawking, the building is speaking to me; inviting me in.

So, I listen. I make my way past what is now Recreational Coffee and around the corner onto 3rd St. where an open steel gate next to Rainbow Juices ushers me into an enticing alleyway.

Red brick all around, clean concrete below, and filament bulbs above put a grin in the corners of my mouth. And as I step into The Club House at Howl, that grin, without hesitation, becomes a full-fledged smile.

There’s an air of romance about the space…

Something that whispers stories of prohibition era misbehavior, love won and lost and evenings spent dancing, bathed in moonlight. From the new hardwood floors to restored red brick walls, open beam ceiling and steel-framed windows, the courtyard out back and retail space, it’s… alluring, welcoming, and effortlessly inspires you to make new memories. 

I’m greeted by my amazing friend and constant source of inspired motivation, Lauren Lilly, who owns Howl and has agreed to share a bit of her story.

Over coffee, we’re discussing Howl as an event space, brand, retail space, blog, magazine and above all: a catalyst for inspire adventure within.

So keep scrolling… Because it just keeps getting better

First: Howl before Lauren’s renovation and restoration…

  • 5 june 2014 140-X2
  • 5 june 2014 096-X2
  • 5 june 2014 287-X2

You already had a successful brand in Yellow 108. Why take on another project of this scale?

“I’m pretty sure everyone in my life asked me that same question!

In reality I was looking for a new office space for Yellow 108. I had been looking for almost 2 years. One day I was driving home and accidentally took a wrong turn because I was listening to some good tunes in the van at golden hour.

The most perfect sunset was happening so I was very distracted. I went down 1st St. in DTLB and made a right on Long Beach Blvd. As I was at the Broadway stoplight, I headed toward 8th st. and the sun was perfectly shining into the upstairs windows of what is now Howl. What caught my eye was what looked like endless exposed brick in a large open space.

Living in CA, I will say we really do not see a lot of that. It’s not like NYC where every building is from the early 1900s. I instantly fell in love and needed to see the space.

To sum it up, the building itself is what sparked the idea for Howl in a sense. I had already been working on a publication for just over a year that I wasn’t quite sure would be a product of Yellow 108. So when the event space came into my life, everything fell into place and it just made sense to pair it with the publication.

At that time, I was really searching to stay inspired on a daily basis. For me, Howl is a catalyst that connects me with my community, connects me with other creatives, helps me to stay inspired, and to inspire others. What it has grown into gives me chills.

Sometimes, you can’t really imagine exactly what something will end up being. If you just follow what feels right, put in the work, and stay open to adapting the ingredients in your equation, I find you’ll organically discover something that’s just perfect.”

When you found the now Howl Event Space, what were your first thoughts?

“I need this immediately, how can I make this happen?!”

More of the unrestored building that inspired an adventure…

  • 5 june 2014 450-X2
  • 5 june 2014 241-X2
  • 5 june 2014 324-X2

Why create an event space?

“Since the event space idea was sparked by the discovery of the building, the ‘why’ was actually a really fun part of the process for me.

I have been a ‘creative,’ so to speak, since I was a teenager.

I went to art school. I was a professional photographer for many years. I’ve also been in brand marketing for nearly a decade, producing and executing events and different community gatherings.

So for me, creating a space that would inspire my community and bring people together… giving them an opportunity to not only support local businesses and get inspired in the process, was a dream. So I guess I looked at it like: this is what I needed to do for myself and the people around me.

Inspiration is everywhere, and after spending some time in what would later become Howl, the ideas and the ‘why’ just evolved naturally.”

What’s next for the Howl brand? What are you most excited about?

“Well, I opened the doors to Howl in February, 2015 and since then our evolution in terms of what is happening under the Howl roof has been amazing to experience and see!

We now have Recreational Coffee on the 1st floor LB Blvd side of the building. Bobby and his team bring an amazing concept, exceptional product and beautiful environment for the community to patron. They are the sunshine! They’re some of the most genuinely happy and loving people I’ve met and we could not be more thankful to be sharing a space with them, creating a place for the community to hang out.

Also, this past August 2016 I opened The Club House on the 1st floor in the back near our outdoor courtyard. The Club House entrance is off 3rd St next to Rainbow Juices.

The Club House is under the Howl umbrella and is a retail space & in-house brand designing high quality products.

The brands we carry & the products we design have high quality finishes and a minimalist aesthetic. This is our flagship location and The Club House apparel & accessories line is launching this Fall. Everything is made in LA, is unisex, and we are very very excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on!

In general the Howl team has also grown and I can honestly say everyday I feel so unbelievably grateful and lucky to be surrounded by some of the most loving and talented people I’ve ever met. Howl has been a catalyst to bring people together and I experience that first hand everyday. It’s extremely inspiring.”

And now: Howl in all its present, restored beauty…


Where do you want to see Howl’s continued evolution going?

“I honestly cannot begin to imagine.

As the Howl network of contributors grows and more Howl community events take place, I believe we’ll see a level of collaborations and inspiration that will fuel people for a lifetime!”

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs who are similarly pursuing their passions?

“I would say first and foremost: you have to be fully committed to your project.

If you do not put in the work and truly believe in your project, no one else will either. There is no easy way or simple solution. You just need stay open to evolve as the ingredients in your concept change and approach every situation with as much focus and kindness as possible.

When something feels right, you will know it. When something feels off, trust your gut and know that change is good and nothing remains the same forever. Even your original idea may end up being something totally different and thats ok!

That’s organic evolution and you should roll with it.”

Leave a Reply