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).
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.
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.
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 Wine Room's outdoor and indoor seating immerses visitors in an intimate atmosphere inspired by the state's coastal and Spanish roots.
CA Wine Room'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.
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.
With a bar, restaurant, and event space inspired by classic Italian design, Bliss 525 swathes guests in an upscale atmosphere. Arched doorways inside the facility open onto a floating staircase and dining tables with high-backed chairs. At mealtime, plates fill with hearty but healthy Californian fare such as Caribbean pasta, braised short ribs, and bruchetta stuffed chicken.
Each week, Bliss 525 hosts blues, jazz, rock, and soul musicians inside the bar. Guests can pair the melodic notes and tinted hues of sunset on the outdoor patio with selections from Bliss 525's full bar of fine wines, tap beers, and fresh-squeezed cocktails.