Archive for the ‘Bars’ Category

Dreaming about Happy Hour

I’m always looking forward to the end of work week by dreaming about Happy Hour.

On my normal days in the newsroom, I’m heading to the bars by 2 p.m. Last week, my friend/co-worker introduced me to Jamie’s Bar and Grill on Broadway. Guy Fieri dubbed it one of his “Funky Joints.” He salivated over Jamie’s prime rib, cooked in a smoker, for “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

Cosmo at Jamie's

The bartenders know how to make classic cocktails taste strong, clean and addictive. After my Happy Hour “appetizer” of a dirty vodka martini, I ordered a Cosmo. Yum! On top of all that, Jamie’s served up free chicken wings for Happy Hour customers. The crispy, spicy wings hit the spot for folks toasting the beginning of the weekend.


Blue Frog

After a long week in the newsroom, I’m in the mood for a pint or two. We’ve had some hot days in Sacramento. Sipping beer is a nice way to cool down.

A few weeks ago, my hubby and I decided to check out the Blue Frog Grog and Grill in Fairfield.

Blue Frog in Fairfield

We first tasted some of Blue Frog brews at BeerFests in Santa Rosa and Boonville. Those festivals also featured beers by Rubicon and the Sacramento Brewing Company.

Out of this sampler, I enjoyed the hearty Red Ale. Plus, the Hefeweizen tasted quite refreshing on a hot night.


Need a day trip that’s all about wine? Check out Arger-Martucci Vineyards in St. Helena.

Arger-Martucci Vineyards

I loved this 2004 Pinot Noir: rich texture with a subtle fruity finish. Arger-Martucci has a beautiful tasting area. It’s next to a pool, surrounded by vines and roses.

Closer to home, I was tickled to read about a Sacramento event combining my two passions: Wine and Twitter!

L Wine Lounge is hosting the Sacramento Vino Tweetup on Tuesday, 7/28, starting at 5 PM. I stumbled on this #vinotweetup via @entreprini. You can buy tickets on the event web site. The ticket price includes appetizers and wine flights from these winemakers:

  • James David Cellars
  • Radee Wines
  • MAS Wines


Shady Lady, Some Visible Values

This will be one of my few visual aid-free restaurant reviews, but oh well: Had a chance to check out the new Shady Lady Saloon at 14th and R.  Their “thing” is twofold: first, no TVs!  Second, they do old skool – like way old – cocktails.  The lack of TVs could explain the light crowd on Sunday night given that we were there smack in the middle of the NBA championship game.  The cocktails, however, did not disappoint.  I enjoyed a Pim’s Cup – just the way I would in England, cool and full of crisp cucumber and fragrant herbs.  Cocktails are all around the $8 mark which makes them very close in price to the menu items.

I would recommend the tomato soup at $5.   I didn’t get details on it, but I would guess it was free of cream even though it had the traditional creamy texture (vegans or lactose intolerant diners should check, of course).  Bonus for being garnished with a grilled cheese sandwhich (no really).  My husband and I shared the soup and each ordered the Cobb Salad.  At $7.50 it was a relatively good salad value, with it’s pleasing straight lines of ingredients and ample bowl size making mixing easier and less messy.  I was surprised, however to find the dish remarkably bland.   That sounds harsh – but it did lack any real flair.  I wouldn’t call it bad, though.  I originally asked for my salad with dressing on the side but was persuaded to go for it as-is by the server who said it was better tossed and was dressed with a light hand anyway. Maybe too light, in this case.

The venue also hosts regular live music acts in the spacious, warehouse/saloon-chic interior.  I love live music, but I wondered why both acts on Sunday felt the need to use all available amplification when the wide, hardly-full room probably could’ve experienced their sound just fine without any electronic help whatsoever.  Translation:   it was LOUD – too loud to engage in much meaningful conversation among our table of seven for very long.  Maybe they could turn it down a wee bit during the dinner hour?  Then everyone could enjoy both food and entertainment without sacrificing good companionship along the way.

Lastly: the hunt for a good burger in the new R Street complex continues, according to my friend who gave the Shady Lady burger a tepid so-so review.  I told her not to rely on Burgers and Brew either – unremarkable, especially when there is better in town.

Chilling at Rubicon

Kicking off the weekend with at pint at the Rubicon Brewing Company on Capitol Ave.

It’s a friendly, neighborhood bar where people can enjoy good beer, conversation and the latest ball game. I like watering holes that are crowded and I can still hear what my hubby’s saying.

Monkey Knife Fight
[From Flickr]

I tried out the Monkey Knife Fight. To me, this pale ale was heavy on some floral scents and it had a spicy finish.

On Thursday, you can enjoy some tasty brews and food while contributing to a good cause. Rubicon’s holding a fundraiser for Elk Grove Police Officers on April 30.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of beer all day will be donated to the Elk Grove Police Motor Unit to aid in sending officers to Washington D.C. to attend a memorial ceremony in honor of a fellow fallen officer, Deputy Larry Canfield.

Does new hotel establish new ethic? Or rely on old jokes?

So, the Citizen Hotel will open soon and in case you haven’t heard about it yet it is THE coolest thing to happen in Sacramento, potentially ever. It’s so cool the room number signs are cool. So are the lampshades. Seriously, this hotel will outcool you, skinny-jean wearing Midtowner, and you, suit-wearing Capitol staffer, in like 3.2 seconds after it opens on November 30th. In fact, since its first weekend is already booked solid, it’s probably already out-cooled you.

From what I read and hear, little remains of the old building’s interiors – which is probably good since when I went to my optometrists office there, it was overrun by crickets (good luck) and other crawly things (bad luck).

But there’s something about The Citizen Hotel that bothers me, just a little. Something more insidious than its ubercool (hey, I like ubercool), something with a bit more bite . . . . (more…)

Loud Lounge

 A Second Saturday or so ago, my friends and I, tired yet energized from dealing with the mobs on 20th, decided that lounging on 20th sounded pretty good to us, so we put in for a table at Lounge on 20.

The wait was so long, we popped into the bar-formerly-known-as-Headhunters for a pre-drink drink. Finally, however, we made it to a table.

Lounge definitely aims to bring more hip to midtown. Cavernous, furnished in a communal, Scandanavian chic manner, the place is designed simultaneously for and against catching up with your nearest and dearest. Seating options range from low-slung couches, to long, family-style gathering-height tables you might share with several other parties. That’s the for. The against comes thanks to the sleek, hard-surfaced walls and floors. The place gets l.o.u.d. Don’t expect to whisper secrets to your gal pals here – you’ll need to speak from the diaphram to beat the din.

The bar menu is both edge and by-gone-bar-era-chic, while at the same time working in local flavors and fresh sources to capitalize on current cocktail trends.  Sadly, two kinds of cocktails and my preferred bubbly were out (at 7pm), which led to some disappointing substitutions surprisingly early in the evening.

The food menu is similarly hep-cat: you’ll find the requisite Dish With Truffle Oil listed above Poutine (who’s been to Montreal? Any Québécois in the hizzouse?), yuppie stapple fried Mac ‘N Cheese, and if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it caviar.  We opted for the cheese palte and the charcuterie plate to share among 4 people. They probably share better with two.

The cheese plate over at 58 degrees spanks Loung on 20’s in both quality and quantity and, on our visit, the crostini were covered in enough oil to interfere with the more delicate sheep’s cheese offering. (more…)

Midtown Cocktail Week?!

There’s really not much else to say, is there? Enjoy. (Responsibly.)

Bowls o’coffee and cheap beer: R15 has all that and Xbox too

A few of your local Metrobloggers braved the dark and rainy night to swill coffee and beer at a fairly new local haunt: R15. The name might be a giveaway but this writer here didn’t register that R15 is at the intersection of R and 15th Streets in Midtown. It’s a fairly friendly neon-esque place, with lots of room in the early evening, and the noise level was reasonable. (At least until the Kings game was blasted from one of the multitudinous screens.)

The menu sported an ad touting that you too can play wireless Xbox from the comfort of your bar chair with beer in hand. It’s gotta be a trend that catches on like wildfire. Now maybe your mother can watch her soap operas!

Beer was cheap at $2.75. This blogger had a latte that arrived in a bowl. Not bad for a bar latte, if you know what I mean. But who can compete with the best latte in town at The Naked Lounge which is only a block away. Next time I go to R15, I’ll skip the latte, and maybe loosen up and have one of them cheap beers.

In defense of the jukebox


I suppose I shouldn’t get defensive right away. After all, I have yet to observe in Sacramento the jukebox-offensive to which I am reacting. Perhaps you have seen the offenders in this town, however, or in San Francisco, where I used to live and first noticed the scourge descending.

I am talking about those new-fangled internet or satellite connected jukeboxes – the soul-less wall units giving bar patrons a seemingly endless array of musical options to pair with their Sierra Nevadas, Jack and Cokes, whiskeys, or cosmos. Have you seen them? They have touch screens. They have categories. They have search engines.

They don’t have Neil Diamond.

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