In 2011, OC Weekly dubbed rock 'n' roll bar The Juke Joint one of the best bars of the year. Here, 20 craft, domestic, and international draft beers are served alongside cocktails and whiskey shots. With walls painted black, the bar invites patrons to spin a few songs on the jukebox, which blasts tunes ranging from punk and rockabilly to American roots music. The bar also hosts live music on a stage dedicated to the late Nekromantix drummer Andrew Martinez. Five pool tables facilitate friendly games and official billiards tournaments, and free WiFi makes it easy to upload the photos that will be deleted tomorrow.
There are few things as exhilarating as locking eyes with an attractive stranger through delicate curls of smoke. That’s why spending an evening at Titanium Hookah is the ideal way to socialize, with guests mingling around pipes as they share stories, hookah nozzles, and ATM codes. House DJs spin music on weekend nights, when doors stay open until 4 a.m. so guests can continue puffing on aromatic smoke in flavors such as pumpkin pie, strawberry margaritas, or mint. For an enhanced flavor, guests can filter their smoke through juices or milk, or they can simply sip on drinks after passing along the hookah.
A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.
After memorizing the menu, start a food-eating contest with yourself by devouring a basket of chili-cheese fries (shoestring fries, $2.99, plus jack-and-cheddar chili mix, $1.29) or sixteen Angel wings tossed in your choice of one or two sauces (buffalo, blazing habanero, firecracker, Thai peanut, spicy barbecue, garlic parmesan, or blasphemy, $14.99). For the main event, chow down on a pulled-pork sandwich ($9.99), or the dos tacos, stuffed with steak or chicken and lettuce, cheddar and jack cheeses, and salsa inferno, and served with a side of tortilla chips and salsa ($7.49). Burgers, wraps, and pizzas fill out the remainder of the robust menu.