Summer in Napa and Sonoma Counties

Ah Sola-traveler standing there so sweet, where have you traveled on your own two feet? Have you visited glorious air, vineyards and farms everywhere?  Have you walked two valleys devoted to wine, food and pleasure?  You can see them from the ground or from high in the sky, feel your stress fall away quickly or by and by. Visit these valleys with your own two feet, a treat for your tummy and your eyes so sweet. So many place to go and things to try, just be careful if you are driving, wouldn’t to make anyone cry. There are flights by land and flights by sky. Get away from the hustle and bustle, see the sites by balloon, no need to fear and you know time passes so soon. Easy to get to and easy to see, these two valleys are a joy for you and for me. For in a state that’s golden in hue you can drive between both sides in thirty minutes or two. So, the next time you arrive in the golden state visit Napa and Sonoma, and stay out late.

Vineyards outside Santa Rosa.

Petaluma California

Petaluma is an often-overlooked charming little town that sits at the base of both Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Petaluma is full of quaint old Victorians that date back to before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The fires that destroyed large parts of San Francisco didn’t make it across the bay to Petaluma – so if you like, take a stroll through the town and admire the ginger bread trim and cotton candy colored houses that line its residential streets. Continue your walk-through downtown with its many antique stores, wine tasting rooms, and restaurants.

If you fancy a beer visit Dempsey’s restaurant and brewery located along the Riverwalk in downtown Petaluma.  Low key and laid back, Dempsey’s offers comfortable casual food, made with local produce, so their menu varies. There are also many craft beers on tap. Grab a spot on the riverfront patio, sip and snack as you watch the world float by.

For late night eats and entertainment visit Speakeasy and or the Big Easy, located a minute away from each other in Putnam Plaza Park. Both venues are affiliated, with Speakeasy driving the food and the Big Easy driving the jazz. Live music is offered six nights a week. Dinner is offered until 2AM seven nights a week. Speakeasy is listed by Sonoma Magazine as one of Petaluma’s best late night eateries. So, wander on in for dinner, drink, a show or all three. Consider their Creamy Blue Cheese Polenta, or Lobster Mac + Cheese. Both will fill your belly without emptying your wallet.

Sonoma Valley – Santa Rosa

The view from my balloon.

Fancy getting off your own two feet and thousands of feet into the air? Sonoma County is a great place to climb into a balloon and gain a different perspective on your beautiful planet. So how do you go about it? This intrepid sola-traveler chose Wine Country Balloons – operating out of Santa Rosa California.

The cost per person is approximately $235.




You can find Groupons and such if you are looking to save some money, however; hot air balloons often get grounded if winds are too high. If you’ve purchased a Groupon ride you may lose your chance and your money. Wine Country Balloons won’t charge your card unless you actually get into the air.

Their pilots have thousands of flight hours and the staff members at Wine Country Balloons are upfront and honest, so who better to take you 1500 feet above the earth in a glorious floating basket?

Also know that the whimsy of hot air balloon travel applies to where you travel to.  You are at the mercy of the wind. No one knows where you’ll end up. Wine Country Balloons has their own team of chasers to meet you when you land. Watching the crews inflate the balloons is definitely worth your very early morning start. Your trip begins at the meet and greet point of Santa Rosa’s Kaffe Mocha Grill, where you can also enjoy a post flight champagne brunch.

The balloon will land with a bump, kind of like the bump you felt if you jumped out of trees as a kid. But this intrepid sola-traveler was ready to go right back up the minute my feet hit the ground.

Walter Hansel Wine Bistro

When your balloon flight is over, and your own two feet are solidly terra firma, what’s a sola-traveler to do?  Well consider if you will, dinner and delights from Santa Rosa’s very own Walter Hansel Wine Bistro. Located in a cozy little house on a country road Walter Hansel offers more than just flights that delight.

Owned by Stephen Hansel and named after his dad, Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro offers a low key casual warm and friendly atmosphere. There’s a long and lovely copper bar where a sola-traveler can rest her flighty feet and take in an amuse bouche in anticipation of the wine and meal to come. The bistro’s wine list offers wines by the glass or the bottle. Wines come both from the Walter Hansel Winery and from wineries from around the globe. There’s a daily special and the main menu offers cheese plates, oysters, hors d’oeuvres, soups, salads, principal plates and a well-heeled desert menu.

Sonoma CA

A visit to Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards is a glorious option for your Sonoma sojourn. Gloria Ferrer offers wines by the glass, tastings with table service, picnics and tours at their vineyard in Sonoma California. Well known for the champagne, the winery also produces a delicious Pinot Noir. Take the cave tour if you can. Consider yourself lucky if your guide is the knowledgeable, personable and charming Jack. You’ll learn how their wines are made, taste both champagne and pinot on the tour, and learn how pairing wine and food affects the flavors you’ll experience, why pairing wine and food is important. You’ll have such a good time you may sign up for one of their wine clubs – a certain sola-traveler did. Cave tours are $25 per person and offered three times daily and flights run $25- 33 per person.

Downtown Sonoma

Also, don’t miss a walk-through of downtown Sonoma CA. Walk through Sonoma Plaza, that dates to the mid 1800’s. Pause in the park, visit tasting rooms or shop in one of the many little shops that ring the square.  One great way to slake your hunger and thirst is to grab a bite at the Girl and the Fig.  Reservations are recommended, though this sola-traveler was able to walk in off the street and procure herself seating at the bar. Downhome French countryside fare (downhome just depends on where your home is).  The food is fab not fussy Some of the menu rotates, and some stays the same but you can count on much of the fare being farm to table. Enjoy a delicious little dish of olives while you wait for your meal. Indulge in a wine flight, (a wonderful rose’ flight was on the menu when I went) a cheese platter or other delicious food inside the charming restaurant or on their patio.  It’s all good, comfortable and delicious.

Napa Valley – Calistoga, Napa and Yountville

Downtown Calistoga

Calistoga California has a vibrant downtown commercial district to stroll full of restaurants, tasting rooms and shops to peruse after you’ve loosened your inhibitions.







Old Faithful

Pacing yourself is important in wine country. You don’t want to end up like a table of financial sector peeps so tipsy you can’t get your appetizer into your mouth, and pass out with your head on the table. No one needs to see that. Consider taking a little break, sober up and save your steam. Or if you are part of a family excursion and some little ones need to burn off some steam, visit Old Faithful in Calistoga.

Napa and Sonoma valleys are geothermal areas. Old Faithful is a small geyser that puts on a regular show.  When you visit the Old Faithful park $15 a person lets you in the gate so you can watch the geyser, sit in a cabana, have a picnic, pet a goat or play bocce ball. The geyser goes off every 15 minutes or so, more if the earth is active. The park is private and gives you in and out privileges during the day, so you can come repeatedly if that suits your wine tasting and goat petting needs. You can bring in your own wine and food, rent picnic items, buy ice cream, and soft drinks. So, get out of the sun, catch your breath and watch the geyser go off.

Thanks to the wonderful geothermal mineral water, Calistoga also offers many wonderful spas.  If you are up for a splurge bury yourself in hot volcanic mud at Indian Springs Spa. Built in the 1920s, Family friendly Indian Springs Spa offers hot mineral spring pools for swimming and spa services including facials, massages or being buried alive in the aforementioned hot silky mud made from a mixture of local volcanic ash and geothermal mineral water. It’s divine, you won’t want to climb out when a knowing smiling attended comes to gently help you out of the tub. A hot geothermal mineral bath and nap in a private recovery room round out the mud bath experience. After your spa services are complete you can head back the pool for more swimming, lounging or whatever else pampers your person.

Old Trucks outside Bill’s Liquor on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga CA

Also visit Napa, in Napa County.  If you like, visit Mustards Grille, one of Napa’s original farm to table restaurants. Named after the mustard plants you will see planted in vineyards, the restaurant’s offers an open casual atmosphere. The menu pairs upscale ingredients with comfortable favorites, and just so you know their Lemon-Lime Tart is freaking delicious.

Yountville in Napa county also offers up bountiful gastric options. Bottega serves Italian.  The restaurant is upscale but not stuffy. You’ll eat your delicious meal in social atmosphere that’s comfortable and not intimidating. This sola-traveler chowed her way through Brodetto Al Fruit di Mari, and didn’t regret it, for a second. The menu also offers gluten free options. And for dessert, because there should always be dessert in Napa, consider Botegga’s delicious Olive Oil Cake.

Getting There

Make your way from any of the three airports (San Francisco, Oakland or San Jose) that serve the Bay area to US highway 101 North. The 101 will take you directly to Petaluma.  If you are traveling from San Jose, you can also save some time if you take the I-880 to the I-580 before eventually merging onto the US 101.


San Francisco International Airport:

Oakland International Airport:

San Jose International Airport:


Visit the websites below for more visitor’s information about the cities and destinations mentioned in this article.

Petaluma, CA

Dempsey’s Restaurant & Brewery:

50 E. Washington Street, Petaluma, CA 94952, 707 765-9694


Speak Easy and the Big Easy:

Speak Easy: 139 Petaluma Blvd N, Suite B, Petaluma, CA 94952, 707-776-4631

Big Easy: 128 American Alley, Petaluma, CA 94952, 707-776-7163


Santa Rosa, CA

Wine Country Balloons:

397 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, 707-538-7359


Walter Hansel Wine Bistro:

3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, Ca 95401, 707-546-6462


Sonoma, CA

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards:

23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476, 707-933-1917


The Girl and the Fig:

110 W Spain Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, 707-938-3634


Calistoga, CA

Old Faithful Geyser:

1299 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515, 707-942-6463


Indian Springs Spa:

1712 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga, CA 94515, 707-709-8139


Napa, CA

Mustards Grill:

7399 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558, 707-944-2424


Yountville, CA


V Marketplace, 6525 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, 707-945-1050

You’ll Find Spirits with Spirit in West Hollywood

Hello Buttercups… so the word on the street is that you are some smart cookies.  Well of course I knew that, but now the cat’s out of the bag for everyone else you follow?  Well of course you do, question is, will you follow me on a little mission?  What mission?  Well, your mission, should you choose to accept  it sweet petites, is to take a little hop off the Isle of Downtown, to an Isle known to those in the know, see, as WeHo.  So will you accept it?  You will?  Wonders never cease!  You’re getting braver by the day!  What is the purpose of this mission you ask?  Well now here’s the thing, if I tell you I have to….oh wait a minute…we don’t do that anymore, phew! I was worried there for a second.  Your mission is to sample the delights of two establishments close to the Laemmle 5 movie theater as they pertain to independent film in Los Angeles.  Then say that three times fast, or don’t, whatever.

So now then Buttercups Intel  below, are two places about which it would be good to know, whether you are film watching or no. These venues were chosen because of their proximity to the Sundance Sunset Cinema movie theater and a delicate equation consisting of; access to good wine and snacks, the sound volume of those around you in said establishments (for conversation purposes) and because the personalities of said establishments are; can you guess? Swank not snotty!  So now consider if you will:

Vintage Enoteca!

7554 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA, 90046. 323-512-5278. Mon – Fri, 12 noon – 12 am.  Sat – Sun 11am – 12 am.

Vintage Enoteca is a causal wine bar located about 10 blocks (1/2 mile) east of the Laemmle Sunset 5.  There’s parking in the back or take your chances on the street.  Once inside you’ll find an airy space with high ceilings and minimalist decor.  The lighting is low so it’s intimate but the tables are tall and good for large or small groups.

Goodies for your gut include an array of salads, small bites, pastas, bruschetta, flatbreads and artisan cheese and salami plates. All prices range from $7-$20.  The kitchen is adventurous but not too crazy.  So there’s something for everyone, sweet petites. Really all your choices here are lovingly made, thus ensuring everything goes down nice and easy.

Libations for your liver!  Choose from a wide selection of wines by the bottle or glass, as well as a good selection of imports and domestic craft beers.  Choose from Sparkling, White, Rose or Red, prices by the glass run from $9 – $14. If wines’ not your thing dears, look at the menu again and order a beer.  Vintage Enoteca has a substantial list of great craft brews from the ol’ US of A and several outstanding imports.  And a beer will set you back a paltry $6-$25.

For more info about Vintage Enoteca check out their website:

Hotel Chateau Marmont!

8221 Sunset Blvd, (at Havenhurst Drive) Los Angeles CA 90046. 323-656-1010. Open 7am- 2am 7 days a week

Especially nice when the weather’s not.  Also a delight when the sun shines bright!  Famous in its own right, know when you go, The Chateau Marmont is the blast from past.

Some people live here, so joyfully and politely trip up the cobblestones and through the doors.  Now ladies and gentlemen hold your breath and walk upstairs, arriving, in the lobby.  Do you feel like you’ve stepped back in time?  Do you half expect Marlene or Cary to give you a wink as they glide by?  Or are you sitting on the Chateau’s patio and enjoying the garden?  Either way it’s lovely and why incidentally the Chateau Marmont is a keeper.

Here you’ll enjoy sustenance where it’s comfortable and quiet and private.  The Chateau Marmont has none of the hanging from the chandeliers shenanigans you’ll find elsewhere on Sunset, so behave.  If you do you might be lucky enough to meet the handsome Pierre.  He will, if invited, sidle up to you sit in your lap, you’ll be forever grateful.

Make no mistake, the Chateau is pricey, but worth it.  Please note that the gratuity will be added to your bill.  It’s not a club.  The Chateau is romance and heavy with history.  So when you go, if you can’t go full bore for dinner; enjoy a glass of wine and a little bite or desert at the end of your evening or on a Sunday afternoon. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. And don’t fear the Chateau is happy to have you, provided you don’t set anything on fire and you are kind to Pierre. The cuisine is continental and you’ll find appetizers hovering between $17 and $30, entrees are $17 to $46. Wines and cocktails vary widely in price. If you are dining, best get a reservation.

Cheers Darling!

Unwind Above the City by Sitting Down at Perch

Hustle and bustle best beloved, time’s a wasting. You’re pounding the pavement and kicking the carpet, but it’s gotten stale. Times are tough, and scheming sniveling scoundrels are lurking at every turn. Hitting the street you ask yourself; what’s the scoop here anyway?  Your heart is lost in its troubles and rounding a corner full tilt, you nearly bowl over a sprightly gal.  Luckily she sees you’re troubled and takes pity on you. Ah beloved, what can you do, but keep your chin up and forge ahead? So said gal leans forward and, with a mischievous glint in her eye, asks you a riddle:

It’s high above the ground, traffic melts away, there’s barely a sound. The Redline is near, right across the street, so it’s easy to get a bite and an aperitif.

The inside is beautiful pulled out of time, the patio is better it’s highly sublime. Look out at the city, the rooftops are aglow.  Maybe a hero will drop in, save the day, thwart your foes.

I’m going there now, follow you may.  It’s a place little birds sit all night or all day. Come take a breath, get perspective and play.

Where am I going?

You smile, because you already know.  You know high above the city a swank establishment sits perched on roof of a building.  And like the carefree little birds that fly through the skies you have place to land. A place to get a peck and potable, a place called Perch.

Perch’s patio at night.

Perch is a French inspired bistro and bar that sits on the top of the Pershing Square Building in good old downtown L.A.  The menu is a playful American take on good French standards.  Try the Frogs Legs appetizer.  Be bold. Just because they taste like chicken, doesn’t mean you should be one.  Duck, Duck, Goose is another good option. If you are having an entrée go for the Perch au Noisette. If you fancy desert the Chocolate Pot de Crème with Fleur de Sel and Tart Cherry Caramel will make you change your citizenship. Perch’s menu rounds out with great vegetarian choices; a Sweet Corn and Pea tendril Risotto and hearty salads.

The bar(s) at Perch are equally enticing. If you like an Old Fashioned, get one.  Made from scratch with real maraschino cherries it will send your spirits soaring. Well appointed with clever list of house cocktails, liquors, beer and wine; Perch’s bar offers really nice options in every price range.  Don’t fret if you aren’t interested in the hard stuff, a little bird let it slip that Perch also serves a mean cup of coffee.

So with rooftop fireplaces to warm your hands, three rooftop bars where you can heat up your social skills and a hot hot kitchen to fill your belly; Perch proves that high above the streets Angelenos have somewhere to soar.

So so, here we go…

Who: Bright and Beloved Baby Birds

What: Perch

Where: The Pershing Square Building. 448 South Hill Street Los Angeles, CA 90013. 213-802-1770.

When: Monday – Wednesday, 4pm – 1am. Thursday – Friday, 4pm – 2am. Saturday, 10am – 2am. Sunday, 10am – 1am.

 Why: Life is to be lived.

Know when you go: Perch has Happy Hour from 4 – 6pm. Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner, or take your chances at the bar. Thursday – Saturday, The tippiest top floor of Perch is open to all and has seating for drinks.

Prices: Food runs from $8 – $37. Drink runs from $6 – 8 for beer; wines run $9 – 15 by the glass, wine is also sold by the bottle (prices vary) cocktails run $12- 14.

A la Votre!!

Shiver Ye Timbers at Redwood Bar and Grill

Ahoy Me Hearties. Yarr, The winter weather be mighty dripping watery wet.  It be stormin’ enough to wash away lily livered landlubbers if ye follow me drift.  Aye it’s watery wet enough to wash ‘em straight away to Davy Jones Locker.  Yarr!  It’s enough to make a wily wench raise a tankard of grog and giggle at ye, sprightly sprogs.  Yo Ho Ho!  Yo Ho Ho and bottle and of rum in fact mateys.  For though there’s enough water in the streets to make y’ landlubbers think yer on the seven seas, ye are in fact inhabitin’ the port of angels. That’s right mateys yer in port, and ye know that means.  Ye don’t?  Avast!  Well then, there’s a waterin’ hole ye’ll be wantin’ to know about. A waterin’ hole where ye won’t be partin’ with too many of yer hard earned doubloons.  For legend has it than on the Isle of Downtown there’s a Pirate’s lair fit for even the most polished of privateers.  A lair called the Redwood Bar and Grill.

The Redwood Bar and Grill is a Pirate bar in downtown Los Angeles located at 316 W 2nd St.  Walking in is like walking into the dark hold of a pirate ship. Where is Errol Flynn when you need him?  Hemp ropes wrap around posts, nets hang from the walls, and barrels are placed so that you can set your compass and get into the mood of this well worn establishment.  Take a look above the bar and you’ll see a skull and crossed cutlasses.  Don’t be frightened… lighten up!  These fine frills hint at the fun you are about to have.

Take a seat or slink up to the bar.  Luckily for you The Redwood bar and grill is loaded with booty for the belly.  No one’s choking down hard tack here. The menu at the Redwood is an extremely well put together selection of pub grub. Choose from really good appetizers, burgers (half a pound served on a brioche bun; yum), sandwiches, fresh salads, nachos, tacos and other miscellaneous pirate fare.  Portions are hearty yarr.  If your appetite is on the light side, check out their rationed portions (and prices) and decent vegetarian options like their veggie burger or vegetable empanadas.

All good pirates wash down their grub with a little grog so why should you be any different?  The Redwood bar and grill has a full bar and a great list of rum cocktails that are as fun to say as they are to consume. Try a Monkey Fist for example, a Sailors Delight or the Davy Jones Locker.  Redwood also serves bottled and draft beers.  See the bartender or server for their current offerings.

Redwood also has a great line up of live music so check out the calendar on their website and make merry mateys.  Just don’t get to rowdy, else you be walkin’ the plank.


Whar? (yarr) The Redwood Bar and Grill

Where ye scurvy dog?  316 W 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.                  (213) 680-2600.

When me beauty? Mon – Sun: 11am – 2 am.

Happy Hour! Mon – Fri: 4pm – 7pm

Doubloons: Food $5 – $14, Cocktails $10 – $13.  Beer prices vary but are reasonable.

Down the Hatch!

Life is Sew Sew Good at Pattern Bar

Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow, has this catwalk called life got you down?  Daaaarlingssss, you can’t let that happen.  You can’t let them win.  Find a little levity, take a little break, remember your chin?  Keep it up.  Morosely little monsters do you think you are all alone?  Put the pieces together, says a merry little crone. Nay, woman.  So round the corner walk this way, follow the crook in my finger, perhaps on a Thursday. There’s a nifty little place with nifty little treats. A DJ spins some music, so while you sip you tap your feet.  Standing next to you is a man, let’s call him a bloke.  He’s witty and pretty, got some darn good jokes, that keep you in stitches. Are you following the thread?  For on the edge of district devoted to fashion sits a swanky little bar that’s well turned out. So in downtown LA, the pieces of your day fit can seamlessly into your night.  And this place beloveds, is called Pattern Bar.

Pattern bar is located at 100 West 9th street, where Spring and Main merge.  Walk in and unwind on a stool, a wooden sewing stool.  At Pattern Bar you’ll find a high ceilinged room, and a laid back vibe. The space is cozy yet airy, with dark wood, big picture windows and mirrors that keep the room open.   There are tall tables and columns with ledges for your drink, and a long low table good for groups, or sharing with strangers.

Bring your taste buds for tapas.  The menu has a lot to choose from.  Take note of the Serranos y Cabrales.  It’s plate of dry cured Serrano ham, Gironia salami, brie and port wine derby cheese, served with a selection of breads from Urth Café, that’s great for sharing.  If you want something all to yourself, choose from a great selection of paninis and salads.  From 12 to 4pm you can also order a gluten free Venezuela corn cake called an Arepa.  They are made to order and Pattern Bar serves versions to satisfy both the vegetarian and omnivore in any crowd.  Cheesecake rounds out their menu.  So whether you’re there for lunch or drinks your tummy is likely to find something it’ll like.

Pattern Bar is well, a bar, so take a look at their lovely drinks.  Grab a sangria, it goes down easy.  It’s yummy and loaded with fruit, just be careful it doesn’t load you.  A nice choice from their cocktail list is; The Jacobs.  It’s Jack Daniels Honey, muddled figs, agave, apricot liquor and ginger ale, served up, and not something you find every day.     If you are a straight shooter when it comes to libations, Pattern Bar has a small but great selection of beer and wine to choose from. And if booze isn’t your thing check out their selection of sodas and freshly squeezed juice and lemonade.

Prices are reasonable before, during, or after their “Fashionable hour” (5-7pm).  So whether you are downtown for Art Walk, lunch, or just because, Pattern Bar is good place to jam.


Who? You.

Where? Pattern Bar. 100 West 9th Street, Los Angeles CA 90015. 213-627-7774.

What? A bar…

When? Mon-Thurs, 12 noon- 10 pm, Fri-Sat, 12noon – 2am, Sunday 12noon – 8pm. Happy Hour daily 4-7pm, Brunch Sunday 12noon – 5pm.

Why? Respect

Prices? Food, $6-14, Drink, $6-14.


So Much to Savor at Spring Street Bar

You remember don’t ya, the dog days of summer?  Remember summer break when it got too hot to think?  And your only relief came from running through the sprinkler, riding your bike or playing with your friends? Remember sneaking away, gulping down gallons of lemonade and eating a ‘sammich?  Ahh sammiches, better known these days as sandwiches.  These days, these grown up days of summer, are they slipping away right under your nose?  Are they slipping away while you could be sipping away?  Do you want to miss out?  If lemonade isn’t your cup of tea anymore, take a step back. Step back a whole season while you’re at it, to spring.  Savor a grownup summer at Downtown LA’s Spring Street Bar.

This friendly local’s frequented but public appreciated pub opened in April of 2010. Have you been looking for a good simple bar with a kicked back vibe where you can chill out and beat the heat?  Or are you pondering just how best to dip your toes in and test the waters of downtown Los Angeles?  If so, then Spring Street Bar might be just the ticket friend.  It’s owned by veterans Michael Leko and Will Shamlian (co-owners of another well known local watering hole, The Library). So it’s safe to trust you are in good hands.

When you get there, (and if you’re brainy, you will get there) you’ll find a simple friendly space with modern decor that is decidedly cozy.  It’s a warm mix of wood and concrete with communal tables that sit between the back wall and the bar.    Though there’s not a lot of square footage, but there are lots of windows and high ceilings so there’s not a feeling of claustrophobia.

There is also beer, lots of beer.  There are 26 great domestics on tap in fact.  Most are your steady Eddies but there’s 4-5 that roll in and out with the seasons.  A good reason to stop in as often as you can.  One good standard is a Firestone Hemp brown ale that’s smooth and nutty.  For something lighter there is the Telegraph white.  Or try the seasonal Craftsman Triple White Sage.  It’s fragrant and like sitting in a summer field while a breeze blows over your skin.  A shame really that it’s seasonal, so try it while you can.  But if you miss it, with 26 choices, it seems unlikely that you won’t find something else equally brilliant to quench your thirst.  If beer’s not your thing Spring Street has great list of wines to choose from.  It’s also a full bar; that means liquor friends.  And with a long list of non-alcoholic options it seems your bases here are pretty well covered.

So now let’s talk about the snacks, starting with sandwiches. There are several sandwich options including; The Pressman, Muffauletta or the Italiana. All sandwiches come with a small side of zingy potato salad.  If you like burrata try Spring Street’s french bread pizza with burrata, basil and parmesan.  There is a platter for sharing (or hoarding), chili and salad too.

The Scoopity Scoop:

What: Spring Street Bar

Where: 626-B S Spring St,., Los Angeles, CA 90014. 213-622-5829

When:  Mon-Fri, 5pm – 2am; Sat- Sun, 12pm – 2am


Beer: $5-8, Wine: $7-12, Non-alcoholic: $4

Food: Sandwiches – $11- 13, Big Snacks – $6-13, Small Snacks – $2-4

Happy Hour! Daily 3 – 7pm



Run, Walk or Crawl into the The Falls

Hey here’s a bar so old it’s new.  Cause trees and disco are seventies cool.  The subway line’s crammed, you say that’s fine.  Downtown now, don’t have to stand in line.  Get socialized, different is fun.  Let’s start to encourage everyone.  To ah satiate your thirst and stop.  And avoid the, oh yeah life starts tomorrow trap, cause;

On Spring street is a straight up downtown bar called The Falls.  It’s pretty and a little gritty, which suits as one of the proprietors is Michelle Marini of the late Lava Lounge.  Food for thought, there are pizzas, appetizers and salads too not just drinks.  So, if you haven’t stopped in here yet you may feel like a debutante in your first dance class, but we’re sure you’ll soon be able to hustle.

A protective yet friendly bouncer guards the door.  Once you’re in, soak in the sexy yet laid back vibe.  The room is small but spacious, earthy and glam.  There are large booths off to the side that are fun for socializing with people you don’t know yet.  Under the glow of chandeliers you can travel back in time to the 70’s and depending on what you’ve thrown down the hatch, you can see who you’re talking to.  The tables are gilt tree trunks and this theme is mirrored in the walls which are lined with tree trunks of the un-gilt variety.  Check out the sculpture of waterfalls behind the bar. It’s mesmerizing, and as you sit on your contoured wooden stool, relaxing.

Ok, now it’s time to put your liver to work.  Take a look at the nice list of exclusive house cocktails.  Worth a try is The Rustic, a blend of gin, grapefruit and agave over ice. Agave is good, agave and alcohol together are good.  These cocktails are like smoothies but different.   Everything on the menu seems worth a go.  The price tag can seem a little costly at $13, but The Falls bar is not plying you with cheap booze.  There’s no mixology here, but they use fresh ingredients making it a pretty good bang for the buck.  If liquor’s not your thing man, don’t freak out.  The Falls also has a balanced list of Wine and Beer.  There are reds, whites and bubbles or get your groove on with one of the bottled or draft beers on tap.

The night wears on as the crowd at The Falls shifts.  Early on it’s a young after work finance crew.  And though the 70’s tunes are jamming in the background, the girls on the bar stools next to you might never have never heard of The Partridge Family or gasp David Cassidy or double gasp robin’s egg blue satin Shaun Cassidy jackets, zoinks girls, zoinks!  What happened?  Did you get trapped in a cave?

Spelunking jokes aside, give credit where credit is due.  The financiers of tomorrow are a bunch of sophisticated drinkers who are pretty good at putting it away.  Lucky for them the bartenders at The Falls are worthy opponents, lucky for us all said bartenders are happy to create custom cocktails.  One lucky duck finance girl takes the plunge and orders a custom blend of Vodka Saint Germaine, mint and lime.  It’s good; this fearless financier’s got taste and a good bartender in front of her.  This cocktail might even make the Partridge Family forgive her the faux pas of not even knowing they exist. Later hipsters and locals roll in, a friendly though focused lot.  But they know The Partridge Family or pretend to because they’re polite.

The Skinny: The Falls, Mon – Fri, 5pm – 2am, Sat – Sun 1pm – 2am

Where: 626 S Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90014. 213-612-0072

Who: You, Shawn Cassidy, maybe the Partridge Family

What: Signature cocktails $13, Beer $7-8, Wine varies, Food $ 6 -13

Why: Because you can hustle…



Plunge Headfirst, Submerge or Just Dive into Hop Louie

Skipper the scuttlebutt is that we’re going to dive, dive!  Is it true what they say?  Ensign, don’t lose your bubble.  Everyone dives now and again.  But Sir a hoolie bar? Sir what would the Admiral say Sir?  The Admiral favors hoolie bars Ensign, but you didn’t hear that from me.  Sir, is it true sir that the drinks where we are going will hit you like a fish?  Time will tell Ensign time will tell, now enough with the submarine slang, let’s get going.  Sir I don’t know what you mean!  Whatever Ensign, stop being sneaky, and buy me a drink…

Outside Hop Louie

Just east of downtown and north of Union Station is Chinatown.  Drop in for a visit.  Explore its streets, shop its stores or go for a cocktail.  At 950 Mei Ling Way you’ll find a well worn bar, tucked away on the ground floor of a pagoda with a bright sign that tells you where the cocktails live, where they live, submariners, is at Hop Louie.

Opened in 1984 Hop Louie is an old school Chinese restaurant/dive bar chock full of local character(s).  Case in point;  the bartender.  He is notoriously surly, in a way that makes you both love and fear him. Don’t act like a big baby and whine about your troubles.  His world doesn’t revolve around you; he’s not there to be your shrink.  He’s there to tend bar and you’d better be nice to him, else you might get tossed out on your ear.

Speaking of ears, listen up; the drinks at Hop Louie may not be fancy, but they are cheap.  Beers go for $4 and the house specialty, the Scorpion,  is a bowl of alcohol for $10.  Yes you read correctly, a bowl, otherwise known as a gigantic glass. Read in between the lines Ensigns and you can see that means your wallet won’t get itself torpedoed.

Now every good dive bar-er knows you shouldn’t drink yourself in to a total stupor.  Luckily for you appetizers are available in the bar for your consumption and like the drinks they are cheap.  To keep your acey-deucey selves from going belly up, chow down on not fancy (don’t complain, ‘cause the sidewalk is outside) old school Chinese chow like Crab Rangoon, Deep Fried Egg Rolls or Barbecued Pork.  Prices range from $3 – $12 and portions are hearty.  If appetizers aren’t enough to float your boat, then pay your bill and haul yourself upstairs to the restaurant, where a larger menu awaits.

The décor and jukebox seal the hatch when diving at Hop Louie.  It’s super dark and a little fragrant.  The jukebox has a wide variety of tunes that run through the ‘90s.  A small dance floor will provide entertainment for all if you’ve had one too many Scorpions, so drink up, everyone loves a good laugh.  In short Hop Louie is a great place to either begin or end your evening.

The Scuttlebutt:

What: A dive bar called Hop Louie

Who: Everyone, Enlisted and Officers alike

Where: 950 Mei Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  213-628-4244

When:  As soon as you can

Why: Dive bars are a nice change, the bartender rocks.

Prices: Super Duper affordable

Roam Near or Roam Far to Far Bar

It’s in Little Tokyo and tucked away so as you can barely see it.  A cunning little passageway, that looks like it belongs to another time and city.   But nope, it belongs to now and it’s all yours.  It awaits the pitter patter of your glorious feet.  Your glorious feet will carry you down this passageway that whispers of fun soon to come.  It tells tales of good music and conversation.  It whispers of craft beers from an isle far away.  It tempts with cocktails and fusion cuisine unseen by you just yet.  Maybe you should fix that.  Because near the corner of 1st and Alameda is a place that’s pretty darn sweet.  It’s a bar that is so close you can taste it.  A place so near and yet so… Far Bar.

Far Bar is located at 347 East 1st Street right on the edge of Little Tokyo and not far from Los Angeles Center Studios, a shooting facility in DTLA.  Three spaces make up Far Bar.  The Lounge, which faces the street, has tables for dining and is a simple cinematic space with dark wood tables that are partially divided by screens and a small area with low couches where you can take a load off.  But wait the adventure doesn’t end here.   Venture further in and away from the street.   As you move down this path, keep your eyes peeled for a secret sculpture, you’ll know it when you see it.  Continuing your journey you’ll arrive at your second destination, The Bar.  It’s a small cozy red walled room; again hidden away, so if you hadn’t taken the trip you’d never have found it.   Poke your head around the corner and last but certainly not least is the final stop, The Patio.  It’s a brick walled and twinkly lighted spot that’s so nice they may have to force you out at the end of the night.  Check their website for a list of DJ’s spinning tunes to help you chill out.

In deference to your liver, Far Bar is a full service bar carrying a large array of craft and bottled beers from Japan.  The Sapporo Reserve is clean, with a light tangy finish.  Another good option is the Ozeno IPA or you could also try the Coedo Kyara.  It has medium body with a smoky flavor reminiscent of Miso.  You’ll also find a nice selection of great American and European standards and a smattering of Sakes to try.  The extensive cocktail menu includes many house specialties and Far Bar mixes a Manhattan that can curl your lashes.

Now there’s one room you can’t visit, but it can visit you; the Kitchen.  Far Bar serves up fusion cuisine, a fine eclectic list of small plates, burgers, noodles and sushi.   Burger’s are ½ lb, and if it’s on the list they day you go try the sweet chili glazed burger with ginger walnut goat cheese and braised arugula.  It’s simple, it’s complex, and it’s good.  The Korean short rib tacos are also tasty or try any of the enticing appetizers, skewers or sandwiches.  Just don’t wait too long because the kitchen closes 1 hour before the end of each night.

Your odyssey:

Far Bar – 347 East 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  213-617-9990

Your travel times: Sun – Wed 4pm – 1am, Thurs – Sat 4pm -2am

The cost of the ticket:

Food: $6-14

Beer and wine: varies – generally 34 beers on tap

Sake: by the glass or by the bottle $7-$132

Cocktails: vary – generally $10-13

Happy hour detour:  Monday – Friday 3-7pm and Sunday and Monday Late night 9pm – close.

Cocktails:  $7

Beer of the day: $5, and $2 off all bottled Japanese beer.

Whiskey of the Day: $8

Well drinks: $6

House red or white wine $6

Happy Hour food menu $5


Happy Trails!

Hop the Rails Back in Time to Cole’s

All Aboard!  Well little pippins it’s time for your sweet selves to slip into the gloaming and hook it to Downtown already isn’t it? So settle in, you beloved raggers and relax.  Why?  Because it’s time to modernize do you hear? What?  Hear. Where? What? Ah.  Sufferin’ Suffragettes you aren’t blotto on the satinette already? No?  Oh…good. SSshhh!  Then sweet little pippins make mumchance your mouths and listen closely to this little tale:

Once upon a time, before the dark time known as The Prohibition; pippins such as your selves gussied up in their frou-frou and sought out a snuggery smack dab in the middle of the city of angels.  Thousands passed through the snuggery’s doors.  Some, deevie, were passing though from far away.  Some were there to stay.  It’s said nothing was ever truly expie and this, in part made said snuggery popular.  Some were there to imbibe the sack and some the satinette.  Regardless, it is known, that whether they were young or old, or simply needed their payroll, many a pippin passed their time at the snuggery called Cole’s.

Open since 1908, Cole’s is a venerable Los Angeles institution.  One of two heavy contenders vying for the title of originator of the French Dip Sandwich, Cole’s is a place you won’t want to miss.  Especially dear pippins, since Cole’s is now owned and operated by the 213 group. This swank snuggery has been renovated and decor is from the turn of the century.  As you approach walk down the stairs; as Coles’ sits slightly below the street, in the old Pacific Electric building. Inside you’ll find Cole’s is cozy and resplendent with original lighting, penny sized tiles on the floor and a large Mahogany Bar.

In said bar, The Red Car Bar to be exact, mosey up and order off their menu of signature cocktails.  Heavy hitters include The Old Fashioned, The Red Car, and the Irish Mule.  Coles also puts together a mean Pins Cup.   There is a detailed list of Whiskeys and Beers.  Don’t forget to check their chalk board for wine offerings.

The food menu is limited consisting mainly of sandwiches (French Dip and otherwise), salads and pie.    The French Dip is both renowned and tasty and comes with a spicy pickle spear.  You can choose from beef, turkey or pastrami.  Sandwiches can be ordered as either whole or half and you can order sides.   Word to the wise, the side of Cole’s slaw is deevie.

If you’re done filling your belly with Cole’s glorious sandwiches and pie, you can slip, for a spell, back into the dark dark time known as The Prohibition. To do so, just ask your server about Varnish.  It’s a speakeasy accessed through the door in the back.  And Varnish dear pippins serves cocktails whipped up by a wicked team of mixologists.


Who? Pippins far and wide…

What?   Cole’s

Where?118 E. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014.  213-622-4090


Kitchen – 11am – 9:30pm Sun-Wed, 11am – 10:30pm Thurs, 11am – 12:30 am Fri-Sat

Saloon – Daily 11am – 2am, Happy Hour Mon- Fri 3-7pm


8pm- 2am Mon- Tues

7pm- 2am Wed – Sun


Food: $5-15

Drink: Whiskey –  $7-24, Beer – $5-8, Cocktails; $9 – 11, Wine; $7-8


It’s fittums…

Down the Hatch!