The "secret" in Bacchus' Secret Cellar is gas. Argon gas, to be exact, which powers the bar's preservation system and ensures that the wines within stay fresh for long periods of time. There are about 50 wines—mostly reds—on tap at the counter, as well as 8 sparkling wines, 5 dessert wines, and 12 microbrews. The library of options encourages guests to sample several, so it's wise to order a flight: you can get a signature array of 2.5-ounce glasses, or you can compose your own for a unique harmony of tastes.
The bar is just the beginning of the cellar's wine selection. On the shelves that span the walls, more than 350 labels beckon to be uncorked. A bistro menu provides gourmet food to complement sips, from starters of oven-roasted dates to lamb burgers and prosciutto flatbreads, made by dropping a regular loaf of bread into a printing press by accident. There's also a full menu of cheeseboards, with goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from the United States and abroad.
The Melting Pot reigns as America's premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. At the Irvine location, pots of bubbling cheese and savory bouillon help guests cook entr?es including choice beef, ocean-fresh lobster, poultry, and vegetables. The restaurant's chocolate fondues indulge the senses, with melted chocolate sending up delicious scents as it coats seasonal fruit, cakes and brownies. These meals pair well with drinks from the Melting Pot's bar including wine by the glass and inventive martinis made by skilled mixologists.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this combination of intimate setting and innovative dinners makes the Melting Pot a popular place to celebrate special occasions. Whether they're looking for romance, marking a birthday, or honoring an anniversary, guests can expect one of the most singular evenings out in all of Irvine.
• For $28, you get dinner for two, including two entrées (up to a $22 value each) and two glasses of house wine (up to a $7 value each; up to a $58 total value). • For $55, you get dinner for four, including four entrées (up to a $22 value each) and four glasses of house wine (up to a $7 value each; up to a $116 total value).
Though Newport Beach Tennis Club has hosted such legends as Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, its 19 lighted courts welcome players of all stripes. Established in 1966, the club enriches members’ enjoyment of the sport with tournaments, clinics, and private lessons. It also keeps guests in shape as they work up a sweat at the fitness center, equipped with stationary bikes, ellipticals, and free weights, or cool off with laps in the junior Olympic-size saline pool. In the restaurant, chefs frequently change up the menu, filling the spacious dining room with daily specials ranging from grilled red snapper to filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. At The Clipper Ship salon and barbershop, members can transform their hair into any style, such as Andre Agassi’s legendary mullet or John McEnroe’s afro, in which he stored extra tennis balls.
Sitting pretty in the Saddleback Mountains, Ayres Hotel & Spa Mission Viejo indulges its patrons with modern suites and lavish amenities. Free high-speed Internet and a complimentary cooked-to-order American breakfast prevent the need to pilfer passwords and thrust eggs and bagels into barren coat pockets. Sink into the soothing arms of a king-size Ayres Dream Sleeper bed to enhance your REM cycle’s productivity. A bottle of sparkling wine and an appetizer from the hotel’s restaurant ($10 value) stand at the ready to keep neglected hunger pangs from consorting with troublemaking hunger gangs. With a late 2 p.m. checkout, customers can ease into the day or get a head start on the coming night’s slumber.