The property that is now occupied by Woody’s Wharf was owned by Woody Payne, a longtime local fisherman. Until the early 60’s he used the property to store and repair boats from the local fishing fleet. Woody decided to open a small local watering hole where the other fisherman could gather to tell their fishing tales.
Woodys Wharf opened in 1965 and was an immediate hit. It’s unique waterfront location on Newport Bay drew crowds who wanted to be served food & drink in an atmosphere that included live music.
Past patrons at Woody’s Wharf have included famous celebrities & athletes such as John Wayne, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin. One celebrity enjoyed Woody’s Wharf enough to buy the business. Actor and Karate champion Chuck Norris took over Woody’s and was able to hire some of the athletes that were training under him at the time. Among the doormen working at Woody’s for Chuck Norris included Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Today, Woody’s is owned by 4 partners: Greg, Chris, Ralph & Mark who have been friends for 25 years since growing up in Whittier, California.