Main Street Wine Cellar—a community wine bar that garnered a mention in the Los Angeles Times—satisfies inquisitive oenophiles with its far-ranging wine tours. Sippers choose six of more than 21 wines to taste, customizing their flights with the authority and confidence of stunt pilots. Patrons swirl their samples in the wine bar's dusky, romantic setting, flanked by canvases from local artists and often buoyed by live music, DJ beats, or polyrhythmic glass clinking. Though not included in this Groupon, Nan's traditional hummus ($9), chocolate lover's Butta Cake ($9), and dishes such as the house-made fennel sausage ($12) fill thoughtful silences.
A warm breeze wafts over the iron chairs and benches gathered under palm trees. Lights glow on the airy porches of the buildings across the courtyard. Inside, guests clink wineglasses under a spiral of white string lights, surrounded by bistro tables topped with floral arrangements and tall wooden wine racks. CA WineRoom's outdoor and indoor seating immerses visitors in an intimate atmosphere inspired by the state's coastal and Spanish roots.
CA WineRoom's wine director, Noah Buffet, extends this local focus to his menu: he features only California wines and specializes in smaller batches from family wineries. The selection spans cabernets, chardonnays, and zinfandels from the coast of Mendocino County, Napa Valley, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, and there's a handful of California craft beers on tap as well. Live music often complements drinking here: guest musicians, including pianists, monkeys with accordions, and folk bands, play each Thursday, and the lounge hosts live jazz every Saturday night.
When Sagi Rochman was drawing up the plans for his new restaurant, he knew he wanted it to be cool. So he named it Sababa, which is Hebrew for "cool"—a designation the chic lounge has easily lived up to. The space brims with plush curtains, modern art, and sleek couches, where groups sit as they sip on craft beers or one of Sababa's award-winning specialty martinis. The spa martini is particularly refreshing, a blend of cucumbers and freshly muddled strawberries that cools patrons as they sit on the outdoor patio under the rays of the Earth's only remaining sun. "The" Margarita is also popular with guests, an unorthodox mixture of tequila, Grand Marnier, freshly pureed passion fruit, and pineapple juice, which one regular swears is the best margarita outside of Mexico.
The cocktail list gets some stiff competition from the food menu. To build up the gustatory roster, Rochman enlisted the talents of celebrity chef Eric Greenspan, a contestant on Food Network programs such as The Next Iron Chef. Inspired by Rochman's heritage, Greenspan constructed a fusion of Mediterranean and Israeli flavors, resulting in dishes such as goat-cheese pizzas and seared ahi tuna with harissa mashed potatoes. There are plenty of small plates as well, including grilled eggplant with tahini and chicken kabobs with an olive-date sauce. As if the inspired tapas and lauded cocktails weren't enough, the lounge regales diners with a slew of events held throughout the week, including wine flights on Tuesdays and dance parties with live DJs on Fridays and Saturdays.
K.C Branaghan's menu puts burgers and sandwiches alongside five different boxty (Irish potato pancake) dishes and a hearty list of traditional Irish fayre, including fish and chips ($12.95), shepherd's pie ($12.95) and corned beef and cabbage ($13.95). To start, dig into a bowl of creamy house-made potato leek soup ($6.95 for a bowl) or a plate of Irish nachos, freshly made tortilla chips smothered with corned beef and melted cheese and topped with a jalapeño cream sauce with avocado ($10.95). Wrap mitts around a Stilton blue-cheese pub-burger ($11.95) before summoning a serving of the grilled Atlantic salmon topped with a raspberry-port coulis ($17.95). Branaghan’s special cottage pie is stuffed with vegetables and tender beef, slow-cooked with Guinness in rich brown gravy, and topped with mashed potatoes ($12.95). Pair your eats with a side of fresh homemade Irish brown- or soda-bread ($3.50), a glass of wine, or one of more than 12 draft beers.
It all began with a young wanderer named Ernest Gantt. Inspired by the culture of the South Pacific, where he sometimes worked on film sets, he opened a small watering hole just off Hollywood Boulevard in the mid-1930s. He decorated it with old fishing nets and trinkets he’d picked up during his travels to the South Pacific and created a menu of exotic rum drinks, which he etched onto a board hanging behind the thatched tiki bar. Back then, drinks cost a quarter, or five wooden nickels.
Today, Don The Beachcomber still serves some of Ernest’s original rum cocktails—including his signature mai tai—in a tiki lounge inspired by that 1930s watering hole. A few things have changed over the years, however; the joint now serves a full menu of Hawaiian specialties such as ahi-tuna tacos and Kalua pulled pork piled on sweet a hawaiian bun. On Friday nights, live musicians perform Hawaiian tunes next to an indoor waterfall.
Founder of Cali Bike Tours Elizabeth Williams doesn't just advocate a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle; she lives it. As a triathlete and passionate cyclist, Elizabeth shares her pedaling skills with fellow riders on tours through Long Beach designed to take in breathtaking views and historical sites without disturbing sunbathing ghosts. Her Velo Vino tour pairs sightseeing with sipping at local wineries, and according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, " At each stop . . . founder Elizabeth Williams encourages you to not only sample a mix of imported and regional wines, but chat with each establishment’s sommelier or wine director, too." Other 2- or 2.5-hour tours meander along a bike path that cuts directly through the beach, or point digesters of culture toward local art exhibits and restaurants.
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.
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