New Wave Restaurant transports diners back to the 1980s with a variety of 20th-century artifacts and an eclectic spread of American cuisine named after 80s icons, movies, and musicians. Upon walking through the Pac-Man-themed entrance, guests are consumed by a vortex of 80s memorabilia, which grants glimpses of authentic posters and framed records lining interior walls as Rubik's cubes and figurines of 80s characters pepper the checkered bar. A menu of finger-friendly eats such as the Ferris Bueller buffalo wings prepare palates for heartier fare, such as the Billy Idol bacon burger and Pee-wee Herman pasta. Additionally, themed events help amplify the multisense smorgasbord, including nights devoted to such 80s nostalgia as Star Wars and the passage of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
The Red Barrel serves wines from around the world, but takes special care in the presentation: red and white sangria are poured into frosted carafes, and flights of bright white and dusky red wines are served on wooden paddles. Glasses glint off of the low, romantic lighting from candelabra-like wall sconces, and the dark wood tables clustered together invite whispered conversation. On most nights, live music ranging from a Latin jazz trio to a spunky young black-metal band completes the scene.
Knowing that every wine needs a pairing, The Red Barrel's chefs prepare seafood-centric fare in the style of a classic French bistro. The daily menu often changes, but wine-marinated clams, rosemary-crusted lamb chops, and filet mignon with buttered lobster often fill the intimate space with their inviting aromas. At brunch, French classics such as croque madame?french bread with prosciutto and a sunny-side-up egg?pair with refreshing mimosas.
At Tava Grill and Lounge, owner and chef Punita Patel infuses her seasonal menu with Indian flavors and fresh, local ingredients. The paneer fajita tacos, for instance, ooze authenticity along with housemade cilantro mint chutney that can double as smelling salts for a food-comatose date. The seafood biryani paella evokes both India and Spain with a blend of shrimp, mussels, squid, and crab in a creamy curry sauce.
A separate menu in the lounge marries the food of India and California, as the atmosphere fuses nightclub and fine-dining establishment. Beside a softly lit bar, benches and ottomans are scattered around low tables, which break up regular tables and booths without the staff having to dig trenches around each.
Joe Jost’s first opened during Prohibition as a law-abiding establishment where patrons could simply purchase sundries or get a shave and a haircut. But once Prohibition was repealed, Joe immediately started serving beers. Then the Barbering Commission showed up, telling Joe he’d have to choose between cutting hair and pouring pints—Joe chose beers. Before long, booths replaced the barber chairs, and since then, Joe Jost’s has evolved into a beloved neighborhood tavern. The menu hasn’t changed much: over the past 90-ish years, servers have dished out more than 7 million pickled eggs and 1.8 million pounds of fresh-roasted Marmion’s peanuts. Oversized schooners of beer more than ably wash down the salty snacks, and also pair well with the selection of liverwurst sandwiches or the Joe’s special, a family-recipe Polish sausage sliced down the middle and piled with Swiss cheese, mustard, and a pickle between two slices of rye bread. In the back room, pool tables sit surrounded by vintage ads, decades of old photographs, and the heads of bucks who got stuck trying to get in without ID.
Michael Dawson's resume looks a little different than that of the average winemaker. He earned degrees in biochemistry and cell biology, and went on to complete his medical degree and work in radiology. But as any grape-expert will tell you, viticulture is a scientific process?and Michael has proven himself more than up for the task. He draws on his technological background while bottling chardonnay, pinot noir, white rhone varietals, and other boutique wines for Seal Beach Winery. Those unique quaffs are available to sample in the tasting room, which also stocks bottles ready for visitors to take home and politely refuse to share. Those who aren't sure which bottle to select can opt to join the Wine Club in which Seal Beach Winery does the choosing for you. Customers can also take home merchandise such as wine-themed gift baskets, aerators, and tasting trays.
Wall-to-wall plasma TVs flicker with broadcasts of high-intensity sports as guests to Beach Club Sports Bar & Grill bite into burgers piled with pastrami, chili, or bacon. When not urging on their team, visitors can also create competition of their own, sending pool balls flying or throwing down a foam finger to challenge rival fans to a duel. On weekends, mimosas and bloody marys wash down morning breakfast fare on a sunlit outdoor patio.