The nearshore circulation induced by a focused pattern of surface gravity waves is studied at a beach adjacent to a major inlet with a large ebb tidal shoal. Using a coupled wave and wave-averaged nearshore circulation model, it is found that the nearshore circulation is significantly affected by the heterogeneous wave patterns caused by wave refraction over the ebb tidal shoal. The model is used to predict waves and currents during field experiments conducted near the mouth of San Francisco Bay and nearby Ocean Beach. The field measurements indicate strong spatial variations in current magnitude and direction and in wave height and direction along Ocean Beach and across the ebb tidal shoal. Numerical simulations suggest that wave refraction over the ebb tidal shoal causes wave focusing toward a narrow region at Ocean Beach. Due to the resulting spatial variation in nearshore wave height, wave-induced setup exhibits a strong alongshore nonuniformity, resulting in a dramatic change in the pressure field compared to a simulation with only tidal forcing. The analysis of momentum balances inside the surf zone shows that, under wave conditions with intensive wave focusing, the alongshore pressure gradient associated with alongshore nonuniform wave setup can be a dominant force driving circulation, inducing heterogeneous alongshore currents. Pressure-gradient- forced alongshore currents can exhibit flow reversals and flow convergence or divergence, in contrast to the uniform alongshore currents typically caused by tides or homogeneous waves.