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Community, a selectively simple menu, craft brews, fun wines and sake would be enough to make 98 Bottles a go-to hang-out, but the owners locked that distinction down by insuring that The Back Room performance space hosts live entertainment most nights as well. The slim loft and main floor are filled with dark, comforting woods and tones, textured chrome and splashed with color, fabric and art. A garage door rolls up to reveal a patio and the urban chic lay out expands effortlessly, allowing for multiple uses from private events, from weddings to bazaars. Nearby garage parking makes 98 Bottles a breeze to get into – so long as you’re over 21.
El Cajon Grand has been keeping the tradition of the neighborhood pub alive since 1950, and today it's still a great spot to nurse a drink while watching the big game. Inside the newly remodeled, 3,500-square-foot space, post up near one of nine flat-screen TVs or head outside to the patio for a leisurely game of horseshoe. Nightly specials include deals on appetizer baskets and craft beers and well drinks from the bar.
For more than 30 years, winemaker Mike Tingley has strolled between trellises on the hills of the Temecula Valley wine country. He scans the nuanced grapes of each season, waiting for just the right moment to pick them and produce varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc, tempranillo, and viognier.
At Danza del Sol Winery, Tingley works with owner and wine enthusiast Robert Olson to produce wines that have distinct identities. For example, their 2010 sangiovese mingles scents of red cherries with leather, and the 2010 cabernet franc mixes deeper aromas of black cherry with hints of cranberry and pleather. Their Mediterranean-influenced bottles regularly receive awards in the Southern California Wine Country Wine Competition, and they are available for tasting or purchase at the Spanish-mission-style clubhouse, which overlooks the blushing harvest.
A childhood peppered with basketball, football, and volleyball couldn't keep Mary Murphy out of the ballroom after she was struck by the athleticism of the sport while watching a championship performance in her early twenties. She began to compete around the world, eventually slowing down enough to found Champion Ballroom Academy in 1990 and finally teaching there full-time in between stints on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
Mary has plucked like-minded instructors for her studio, some of whom created Core Rhythms, a Latin dance-based aerobics program. Many of the other teachers are competitive-dance champions or black belts in hula hoop. Aside from running a flourishing dance studio, Mary's palpable passion for the art form has also driven her to play a leading role in San Diego's Chance to Dance program, a curriculum that introduces school kids to the artistry and strength-building foundations of dance.