Cocktail Hour

Cocktail Hour

Cocktail Hour

Tommy Bahama Restaurant’s grapefruit-basil martini.
Photograph courtesy of Tommy Bahama Restaurant

Raise your glass to good people and good times.

Story by Emily Chavous

So, you’re meeting up with friends for a pint, a few glasses of wine, or perhaps searching for a late-night mixologist-made drink. You’ve come to the right place. The happiest hours happen on El Paseo.

If you prefer your martinis shaken, not stirred, with a side of live music, grab a seat in the lounge at Sullivan’s Steakhouse or Mastro’s Steakhouse. The latter serves the classic gin cocktail with dry ice for a wow effect. Sullivan’s takes a fruitier approach to their house martini, using mandarin vodka infused with pineapples.

Vinophiles should duck into the intimate La Fe Wine Bar to discover a new favorite label. Order a flight to sample a few, or sip the housemade sangria instead. Tasty shareables like empanadas and a meat and cheese board will go over well with a group. (There’s a full bar with an expanding beer selection and hard kombucha, so non-winos are certainly welcome, too.)

Cocktail Hour

Ryan wears a Mr Turk shirt and El Paseo Jewelers gentleman’s tanzanite ring at The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge.
Photograph by Fab Fernandez; styling by Neil Cohen; grooming by Jen Plus Colour

The dimly lit Libation Room stokes a romantic-industrial vibe with velvet banquettes and Edison lights illuminating the bartop. Their craft concoctions make use of punchy ingredients like bacon-infused Bourbon, specialty foams, and the Coachella Valley’s favorite cocktail spice, Tajín.

For a table amid the treetops, it’s hard to beat the second-level decks at Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Pacifica Seafood Restaurant. Tommy’s is a great choice if you’re in the mood for rum, while Pacifica is known for their extensive selection of vodka. Both patios overlook bustling El Paseo below, providing a scenic backdrop to break the ice on date night or to clink cocktails with the squad.

Cocktail Hour

A trio of cocktails on the bar top at Hotel Paseo’s Larkspur Grill.
Photograph by Fab Fernandez

Check out this handy cocktail list and where best to find it along El Paseo.

1. MARGARITA: Locals rave about the “killer” margaritas at Armando’s Dakota Bar & Grill — they’re so strong, you’re only allowed to order two.

2. PASEO ROSE: This refresher from Libation Room blends Tanqueray gin together with lime, agave, and muddled strawberries. An elderflower foam finish adds an extra note of sweetness.

3. EL DUDERINO: Cold brew from the locally owned Joshua Tree Coffee Company pairs with Tito’s vodka and heavy cream at Kitchen 86 Restaurant + Bar.

4. PIÑA COLADA: Savor a sip of the tropics with this handcrafted Bacardi cocktail at Tommy Bahama Restaurant, made with muddled pineapple, coconut, and a Gosling’s Black Seal float.

5. VENUE TINI: The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge prepares their house martini with a blend of sake and Soju (often called “Korean vodka”), cucumber, simple syrup, and lime sour.

6. SPA ME BRAH: Made with Ketel One, Chareau aloe liqueur, lime juice, and soda water, this Larkspur Grill sipper tastes like vacation.

7. SPAGNOLO GIN & TONIC: The bartender at Ristorante Mamma Gina’s Enoteca Bar levels up the well-loved drink with Empress 1908 gin and an anise and juniper berry garnish.