Cooks at The Flinn Springs Inn sizzle up hearty pub grub, including cheeseburgers and tacos, as tap masters pour cold draft beers or expertly mix cocktails within a bar and grill replete with exposed-brick walls and leather-topped barstools. Guests can play a game of billiards inside, or make their way to the sprawling outdoor patio to watch live music and college-level math lectures on the stage or hurl horseshoes in the regulation pits. After dancing, singing karaoke, or playing beer pong all night, patrons can return the next morning for pancakes and bloody marys.
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.
While trekking across New Zealand, Matt Baker and PJ Lamont stumbled upon a burger shack in Queenstown and immediately became addicted to the eatery’s organic, grass-fed beef patties. According to a profile in Beach & Bay Press, the duo often dined there more than once a day and eventually convinced the chef to both part with his recipes and train them how to make them. Upon returning home, the pair recruited PJ’s brother Martin for their budding endeavor: a gourmet burger place that would rely entirely on organic, grass-fed beef from New Zealand. After finding the right spot for their gastropub, the three put their own sweat into renovating it; PJ carved the wooden menu himself without using a woodpecker even once.
That menu quickly garnered its fair share of media buzz and awards by combining beef patties, ground fresh daily, with unique ingredients such as pesto aioli, grilled pineapple, and beetroot. Organic, local vegetables make up the condiments and the house tomato chutney, New Zealand’s hardier version of ketchup. But Bare Back Grill does more than burgers, satisfying appetites with natural chicken and lamb, tempura tofu, and seared ahi tuna coupled with a wide selection of beers and wines. Guests can gulp down Kiwi Steinlagers or sip Australian and New Zealand wines while lounging at either Bare Back location.
Brow Lounge's skin-smoothers use organic and high-end waxes to clear men's and women's bodies of hair, customizing their approaches to suit skin of varying sensitivity. In extensive depilation services, staff transform Grouch Marx brows into artfully arched eye awnings ($15), mow upper-lip lawns ($9), or bulldoze underbrush with a Brazilian ($60). Man-hair can be cleared from backs ($40+), chests ($40+), and stomachs ($10) to reveal once-obscured tattoos of obsolete Southeast Asian countries. Inside Brow Lounge, chandeliers cast warm light over newly hairless patrons and shelves stocked with face-enhancing makeup. Groupon-holders get 10% off such mineral-based items as liquid foundations ($28–40), pressed foundation powder ($30), and bronzers ($16–$39).
The Cask Room's vast wine menu rotates each week like a stately Morris dance or a motley safety dance, and might feature the bold tannins of a 2006 Monte da Cal from Alentejano, Portugal ($9 for a glass); a 2007 Rancho Sisquoc River Red fermented and bottled in Santa Barbara, California ($10 a glass); or a 2007 Clautiere Roussanne from the Paso Robles, California ($11 a glass). Passionate wine professionals will guide you through the latest liquid lineup and suggest pairings from a mealtime menu populated by toasted paninis and petite tapas that hearken back to an age when cuisine strived to woo the stomach’s heart without resorting to cyber-stalking. The Sonoma melts together grilled portobello mushrooms with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, roast garlic, thyme, and caramelized onion ($10), while small plates present dishes such as stuffed dates stuffed with goat cheese and baked in a layer of prosciutto ($9) and gorgonzola crostini topped with agave nectar ($8).
True connoisseurs can taste the character of a city in its beer, especially those cities constructed mostly from hops and barley. Sample the sudsy side of San Diego with today's Groupon: for $89, you get a luxury brewery tour for two from Brew Hop (a $190 value).