Every day since 1989, the bar staff at Group Therapy Pub has accomplished their one main goal: to bring together neighbors in new, fun ways. When guests stroll up to the pub's long bar, they can order a beer from one of the 15 taps or a drink from the wide variety of liquors available. They can then grab a seat and talk with regulars while watching the day's game on the TV or meander over to participate in one of the pub's activities. A pool table sits next to the bar's dart boards, where monthly tournaments and International Dart leagues are held. On weekend evenings, karaoke singers take over the area to belt out renditions of their favorite songs or finally trick their friends into listening to their opinion on the last season of Battlestar Galactica. Though the staff has been consistently cultivating this amiable atmosphere since 1989, they haven't foregone updates. Recently, new chairs, tables, and wood flooring were installed.
Though a sports bar at heart—the walls are lined with flat-screen TVs tuned to football and basketball games—Sammy’s Bar & Grill’s dark wood tables and a natural stone accent wall give the dining room an upscale feel. There’s even a heated outdoor patio with a stone fountain and a sculpture of a lion drinking beer with his pinkie out. In addition to traditional burgers, sliders, and wings, diners can also feast on Southwestern and Italian specialties including sizzling fajitas and flatbread pizzas. Behind the bar, mixologists serve up a full selection of spirits, California wines, and bottled beers, plus a dozen brews on tap including local finds.
A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.
There are few things as exhilarating as locking eyes with an attractive stranger through delicate curls of smoke. That’s why spending an evening at Titanium Hookah is the ideal way to socialize, with guests mingling around pipes as they share stories, hookah nozzles, and ATM codes. House DJs spin music on weekend nights, when doors stay open until 4 a.m. so guests can continue puffing on aromatic smoke in flavors such as pumpkin pie, strawberry margaritas, or mint. For an enhanced flavor, guests can filter their smoke through juices or milk, or they can simply sip on drinks after passing along the hookah.
In 2011, OC Weekly dubbed rock 'n' roll bar The Juke Joint one of the best bars of the year. Here, 20 craft, domestic, and international draft beers are served alongside cocktails and whiskey shots. With walls painted black, the bar invites patrons to spin a few songs on the jukebox, which blasts tunes ranging from punk and rockabilly to American roots music. The bar also hosts live music on a stage dedicated to the late Nekromantix drummer Andrew Martinez. Five pool tables facilitate friendly games and official billiards tournaments, and free WiFi makes it easy to upload the photos that will be deleted tomorrow.