Upon collecting more than 2,000 bottles of wine, certified sommelier Rick Reich had a startling realization: he could not possibly drink them all by himself. Brix Brews & NY Deli was born as a place where Rick could invite customers to be his guests and sip on his extensive collection. Rick has come to call his restaurant his "living room," a place where he spends his time sharing company, drink, and food. It's here in his "living room" where guests will not only find a huge collection of more than 1,500 wines?they'll also find 21 craft brews on tap, alongside more than 50 bottles, one for each instance of tickling in the average rugby scrum.
And as the latter half of the restaurant's name implies, these drinks will never be alone. Weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner hint at the grilled sausage on a pretzel bun with sauerkraut; the pastrami-based fughedaboudit sandwich; and crisp margherita pizzas topped with fresh garlic, basil, and tomatoes. Food for the mind joins in the fun, too, with a jam-packed calendar of live music and trivia.
Main Street Wine Cellar—a community wine bar that garnered a mention in the Los Angeles Times—satisfies hybrid meal aficionados with an inventive weekend brunch menu. Eggetarians can calm cravings by noshing on an omelette loaded with gourmet aged white cheddar, chorizo, and avocado ($9), and eye-candy connoisseurs ogle the eatery's collection of local artwork and optometrist-shaped Pez dispensers. Feast on grilled sandwiches, such as the garden bagel slathered with hummus and assorted veggies, or the monte cristo stuffed with smoked ham, gruyere, and jelly ($7). Grazers can nibble on creamy Aussie-style yogurt with granola and berries ($9), steel-cut oatmeal infused with lavender, buttermilk, and brown sugar ($5), or Naia's fresh-fruit smoothie ($7).
Newcomers to Nadine's Irish Mist might think that there's only one way to order a Guinness. Imagine their surprise when they peek at the pub's menu?they could opt for Irish nachos, covered in Guinness beer cheese, or bangers and mash served with the kitchen's signature Guinness gravy. That same gravy flavors the shepherd's pie, the beef and stout stew, and the country fried chicken. But if diners want their Guinness prepared classically?poured into a pint glass?the staff will happily oblige.
That said, there's far more than food and drink to be found at Nadine's. The calendar hosts an event for every day of the week, whether it's open-mic Tuesdays or trivia Thursdays. Live bands play during the weekend, and karaoke on Wednesdays gives patrons a chance to take the stage without sneaking inside someone's stand-up bass.
When it comes to watching sports, there's no bad seat at Grandstand Grill. With 20 HDTVs scattered around the space and a ban on oversize hats, every diner has an unimpeded view of the on-screen action. As fans gather to watch pro, college, and high school teams score, they can nosh on menu selections such as pasta with house-made marinara, burgers, and breakfast served all day long.
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.
Sip Lounge, inside the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, is like a city with four distinct neighborhoods. Once guests walk past the lobby's large video wall, they're greeted by rows of wine bottles in the glass-enclosed cellar bookending the bar. Behind it, curtains billow beside a water feature that cascades along the wall like the zero-gravity streams found on the moon. Over in the dining room, large tables accommodate groups for gatherings over a local shrimp cocktail or cheese plate. The living room's plush couches cradle pairs for intimate conversations that can be shared over a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a craft beer.
Outside, the large patio embraces the busy energy of Ocean Boulevard without succumbing to it. Umbrellas, heaters, and glass walls separate its confines from the street's frenzy of beeps, brakes, and Model T hand cranks, and a focal fire pit warms both the temperature and the ambiance. The typical soundtrack of upbeat pop and instrumental music supplements Sip Lounge's live series, which hosts local artists from across Southern California.