Step out for drinks and apps at these El Paseo after-dark spots.
By Lisa Marie Hart
Photography courtesy of the restaurants
The sun is behind the mountain, the temperature is perfect and the night is young. Now, where to go to enjoy it?
For those who feel invigorated after the sun goes down, this selection of El Paseo haunts welcomes you with nocturnal open arms, chilled-glass cocktails, and a late-night menu of dinner, bar bites, or both.
Kitchen 86 Restaurant + Bar
Open 9:30 a.m.-midnight daily
Feeding El Paseo every late night of the week, this restaurant presents live entertainment Wednesdays through Sundays. Pastas and wood-fired pizzas team up with Asian-inspired mains and plenty of tapas for sharing. (Note that ordering a New Zealand rack of lamb at 10:55 p.m. may not fly, but get there by 10:30 p.m. and the chef will be thrilled. The kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)
73130 El Paseo, Palm Desert
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Open 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays; 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.; 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Some save Eddie V’s for a special occasion. But if you’re simply celebrating a beautiful evening on the town, there’s no night like tonight. Though the name hypes the seafood, the bone-in ribeye and melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon receive just as many raves. Cocktail favorites are the 24 Karat and The Hope Diamond.
73040 El Paseo, Palm Desert
California Pizza Kitchen
Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays; until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Anytime is a good time for pizza. Why not indulge in the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza (or its lesser-ordered sister, the Original BBQ Chicken Chopped salad), a Spinach Artichoke Dip to share, or lighter picks such as the Smashed Avocado Focaccia or Thai Crunch Salad? Staff won’t give you the disapproving side eye for slipping in late. After all, the second happy hour of the day runs from 8:30 p.m. to close with specials on select menu items and drinks.
73080 El Paseo, Suite 8, Palm Desert
Open 5-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays; until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Live music with your steak cooked to order is worth staying up for. The beat goes on nightly until closing, featuring a decadent menu that satisfies many cravings. Icy crab, shrimp, or lobster cocktails contrast the warm comforts of Lobster Bisque and French Onion Soup. If sea bass, salmon, or a porterhouse feel too committal at this hour, curate a meal of sides from the likes of sauteed button mushrooms, creamed corn, steamed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, and lobster mac and cheese. Save room for the classic or chocolate warm butter cake.
73405 El Paseo Suite 120, Palm Desert
Open 3-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays
Stop by this steakhouse after dark and take your pick of two menus. In the bar area and on the patio, the Bar Bites menu tempts with hand-held munchables to share and more hearty steakhouse-inspired entrees that make a meal. The full dinner menu in the restaurant encompasses salads, seafood, chicken, and myriad ways to enhance your steak, from specialty butters and sauces to a bacon and blue cheese topping.
73505 El Paseo, Suite 2600, Palm Desert
Armando's Dakota Bar & Grill
Open 11a.m. to 9p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays; until 10 pm Fridays and Saturdays.
The salt-rimmed margaritas are as large as they are strong. No wonder they’re on almost every table. A burger and lemon garlic chicken comprise the “grill” portion of a menu primarily known for tacos, fajitas, and other familiar Mexican dishes. More than a dozen appetizers (oh, hello loaded nachos and queso fundido) call out to those seeking a post-dinner pick-me-up to wash down their tequila.
73260 El Paseo, Palm Desert
La Fe Wine Bar
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 5p.m. to midnight.
At this intimate bar with indoor and sidewalk seating, small plates compliment wine, beer, red sangria, and cocktails. Salads, flatbreads, a meat and cheese board, veggie empanadas, beef sliders, chicken skewers and tacos, ceviche, and two ahi tuna offerings speak to a range of tastes.
73900 El Paseo, Palm Desert
Open Thursdays through Saturdays, 9 p.m. to 2a.m.
While not a large menu, the smattering of “chef-curated fare” at this long, dark, and handsome bar offers a little something to pair with your libation of choice. With a happy hour that runs 9 to 11 p.m., live DJs, a back-room dance floor, and bottle service at reserved tables, the chandelier-studded Libation Room is the venue most akin to a nightclub or an urban speakeasy on El Paseo.
73750 El Paseo, Palm Desert