On the roof of Bonaventure Brewing Co. sits a verdant, manicured square of lawn and a little copse of trees. Carved into that is the circle of a heated outdoor patio that expands into panoramic views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. Perched atop the fourth floor pool deck, the patio shares the restaurant's 9,000 total square feet with a wood-paneled dining room and an in-house brewery. Here, head brewer David Blackwell creates a trio of award winning beers: pale ale, strawberry blonde, and the Marathon.
Blackwell's ales and a handful of guest beers complement the kitchen's approach to pub food, which ranges from classic bar bites to more upscale, steakhouse-style entrees. The traditional end of the spectrum includes calamari tempura-battered in the brewery's blonde ale, as well as Angus burgers coated in blackened spices and topped with bleu cheese and chipotle aioli. The brewery end features dishes such as macadamia-crusted Mahi-Mahi and bacon-wrapped filet mignon.
Along with its original Pasadena location—which has kept neighborhood liquor cabinets in high spirits for more than 60 years—Mission Wine and Spirits stocks a massive selection of wine, beer, and spirits at its three outlets. Imported vintages from countries such as New Zealand and France share shelf space with more than 15 types of domestic wine. Amateur sommeliers can also choose from a range of ports, dessert wines, and sparkling wines. In addition, the shops fuel good-natured gatherings with domestic and imported beers, spirits ranging from Irish whiskey to absinthe, and digestives that settle stomachs after hearty meals or eating lava on a dare. Mixers such as celery bitters and sweet-and-sour mix spruce up liquors with cocktail flavoring, while nonalcoholic spirits and wines delight the taste buds of abstaining guests.
The vino aficionados at Bernard’s Wine Gallery stock their cellars with a multifarious collection of wines from around the world, including a broad selection of local Santa Barbara County vintages. Currently, the gallery inundates taste buds with a mélange of locally produced Coquelicot beverages cultivated using organic farming principles, such as zero chemical pesticides, regular composting practices, and hemp-woven tuxedos for every employee. Samples of Coquelicot Vineyard’s fermented delights—including chardonnay, sangiovese, and cabernet franc—dart across tongues to invoke an array of tones and flavors. Additionally, free plates brim with rich cheeses that help support the rich, sugary notes of the wines by spontaneously animating and leading a pep rally.
While Alcatraz Brewing Company doesn't require incarceration for a visit, fans of beer may be fine with someone locking them in and throwing away the key. Dave Moody, the award-winning head brewmaster, crafts signature and seasonal beers, such as Court Order Porter, Boneyard India Pale Ale, and Pop's Blue Ribbon, an American-style light lager. From the brewery's kitchen, chefs top burgers with garlic puree or roasted jalapenos, smoke pork with dark ale, and hand-toss thin-crust pizza. Waitstaff ferry plates and beer flights to Alcatraz's patio and around the San Francisco-themed dining room, which includes a to-scale replica of the Golden Gate Bridge and a stray wisp of ever-lingering fog.
You could argue that every meal at Gaucho's Village includes live entertainment—servers are constantly visiting tables with humongous skewers of meat and slicing off choice pieces with a sword-like knife. To summon such a show to your table, all you need to do is turn a small marker over to display its green side, or turn your "Bring on the Meat" t-shirt right-side out. Then, you select from an array of flame-roasted cuts, ranging from the traditional picanha, or sirloin cap, to tri-tip and filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The blazing churrasco fires backstage also cook lamb, pork, and sausage, and the menu suggests a proper wine pairing for each cut.
Though these meats have been featured on the Travel Channel's Tastiest Places to Chow Down, they aren't the only impressive spectacle at the restaurant. The real show occurs on weekends, when samba dancers and DJs rev up the always-festive atmosphere. Guests who would rather kick back than shimmy along can visit the attached lounge. There, a separate lounge menu boasts empanadas and coxinha—fried balls of chicken and cheese—as well as flavored hookah on a back patio fenced with live bamboo.