We are not food critics. Nor are we chefs, journalists, servers or in any way qualified to judge. We do not work in the food and beverage industry. But we do have one amazing recommendation and that is that we know how to have a good time. We are connoisseurs of fun.
Our goal is to save you the arduous slogging through one crappy bar after another. We will do this for you and tell you exactly what to expect from each meal, drink, dessert and experience we have. From our heart to yours! Bon Nuit.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lucky Baldwin's

Let me preface this entry with a disclaimer: I LOVE Irish pubs. Maybe love isn't a strong enough word...I'm obsessed with them, I'm an Irish Pub stalker. Okay, there it is, now you know.

Lucky Baldwin's is a British Pub in Pasadena, CA. I am Irish (I mean, as much as an American four generations from the 'homeland' can be). And I have been to Ireland and am aware of the sentiment surrounding some aspects of England. My personal sentiment leans slightly in favor of Ireland (I'm sorry to all my Brit friends! Truly!). So, I was a little skeptical, just the tinniest bit (I feel so guilty!).

The very first time I went to this place was New Year's Eve. This was a good idea in theory, if everything had gone as planned. When does that happen? Our reservation for 7pm at the restaurant was delayed for two hours, it took another two hours to complete our meal. Well, 11pm on New Year's Eve in any city is not the best time to arrive at the local, tiny bar much less one on the Rose Parade route. Suffice it to say from there things didn't go well.

Undeterred we ventured back to the bar the next day. Best bar EVER! Wait, no that's not true but a solid top 10. Fantastic beer selection made up of amazing craft beers, local and international. They had some wine and some not so great beers for the less adventurous but beer and wine only (no G&T's at this place). They have a limited food menu, typical pub fare of fish and chips, curry and chips or just chips.

Great beer selection alone cannot make for a top 10 bar on my list. The real reason this bar gets top ranking though is Jimmy. Oh Jimmy! I heart you! A man behind a bar has a head start in the race for my heart anyway but add the fact that you are super cute, talkative and charged us very little for hours of eating and drinking. Yeah, that makes Lucky Baldwin's a Top 10.

1770 E Colorado
Pasadena, CA

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Big Dipper

Normally, I'm not a big fan of house parties. My practical side tells me I should prefer them, inexpensive drinks, people I probably like, comfortable places to sit. But the fact is, I like the bar. A bunch of people standing around trying to get alcohol in their system fast enough for someone to make a spectical out of themselves so everyone will have something to talk about, so not my scene.

From time to time, though, a house will surprise me. Last weekend I went to a friend's house, comfortable, well-designed, good food, good beer (the Champagne of Beers even) and good conversation. It may be time to rediscover the house party, give it a second chance.

Special thanks to Kyle and Patsy for hosting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Beginners Guide to Las Vegas, Part 1

I go to Las Vegas a lot. Work, birthdays, freebie weekends, all these add up to an average of about a once a month visit. I've been going there for years too. This gives me an interesting perspective on the city. Not a local, not really a tourist either. But maybe this makes it the best of both worlds. I know what I like, what I don't, I have great contacts, can secure good deals, free passes, skip the line, bottle service (now I'm just bragging but still).

It's my home away from home, I love this city and it kills me at the same time. I've left a bar in tears on two occasions, I've left a bar with no memory of leaving, I've left sober, drunk, with friends, with strangers, in cabs, cars, limos and on foot. I know this city... as a visitor. Which makes me well qualified!

Okay, now the fun part. As a visitor you can separate everything out into two large categories and move on from there, Downtown and the Strip. Pretty much, unless you're considering moving there or purchasing property these are the only two places you'll go. We'll save Downtown for another installment, today The Strip. Now you decide if you want a restaurant, bar or club. Restaurants are a far cry from the 99cent steak buffet it used to be. Four star, Michelin rated, celebrity chefs, all are available. Bars are beyond numerous, too many to count. Clubs, ah the night club in Vegas. Not much can compare to Las Vegas clubs so that's where I'll begin.

Moon - Palms

If you go to the Palms you're gonna wait in line. If you purchase a table, with bottle service you won't have to wait as long but you'll still wait. If you know a club promoter you won't have to wait as long as the schmoes but you'll still wait. If you're a hot girl with 10 hot girl friends and can schmooze one of the guys at the rope you won't have to wait long. If you're one of the schmoes well, wear comfortable shoes.

But if this is your first time to Vegas Moon is where you should go. It's worth the wait and I hate waiting, like violently hate waiting in line and I'm telling you to go. It's a night club, it plays hip hop, r&b, top 40 music and the drinks are expensive (get used to that!). But it's 57 floors up, has two levels with outside viewing platforms of the Strip and a motha-effin retractable roof. Boom goes the dynamite.

XS - Encore

Did I say Moon was a must visit? Cause so is XS. Be prepared to shell out some serious cash to get in though, girls are $50 and guys are a whopping $100 cover! That's just to get in, then there's, you know, the alcohol and the tips. I cannot stress to you enough to always tip your bartender, especially if you use the same one again and again.

Okay, XS well, first of all it has a pool. Like you walk in the front and there's a bar and a dance floor and then you get past that and there's a pool. The pool actually, the pool that in the daytime is surrounded by bikini clad ladies smearing SPF 8 on their overly tanned selves. There's also another bar, some blackjack tables, some beds, you know, the usual stuff. Oh and I've heard (but haven't seen) that they occasionally rain money on the dance floor...I'm just sayin.

Tao - Venetian

Remember what I said about waiting in line at the Palms? Well, take that and quadruple it for Tao. Then, once you get inside there isn't enough room to dance, talk or drink. It's loud, sweaty and the tourist #1 stop. This place gets a thumbs down from me.

End of Part 1

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Las Perlas

And we're back!

Downtown L.A. is not exactly known for it's... ummm... awesomeness. Really, no matter how many times I heard that it was being re-gentrified, that it was no longer just skid row (and Olvera Street), it remained a not destination in my mind.

I have been spending quite a bit of time downtown lately though; first because work sent me there, and then on my own, for fun even! That's right I went not for the bookie and not for the bondsman, but simply because I enjoyed the place. Nice condos, quality restaurants, amazing galleries and museums and, if you can believe it, actual history (not Roman Forum history but more history than people assume L.A. has).

So we head to downtown for a night at the
Edison (I won't bother to review it, I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of it). But we got a late start and saw the line, well... I hate standing in line. With the Edison out we iPhone'd ourselves to a new location, a very cool looking place called the Association. After much circling we found parking and walked to this black door, oh with a huge line! Well, that just doesn't work for me. Fortunately, directly across the street was a sign for Las Perlas.

Latin music floated out the front patio and one guy stood out front checking ID's but NO LINE!! Heaven is no line. We made a bee line for the (prettily decorated) bathroom (hey, I can be impressed by a bar bathroom if I want) and then to the bar.

It's decorated kind of Latin 50's kitsch but not out of control. Light enough inside to tell if that person you're flirting with is actually good looking, but still dark enough to be flattering after two high-powered margaritas.

Oh and the margaritas! Did I say no line was heaven? Because it might be these drinks instead. Three bartenders in snappy vests and slacks mix the deliciousness. Las Perlas is a tequila and mescal only bar. But it's okay if you don't like tequila, ask for 'The Sicilian' and you'll never know you were drinking the sometimes toilet worshiping phenomenon that is tequila. Even better if you can get the actual Sicilian behind the bar to mix it for you.

Best if you can get a seat at the bar to make friends (always make friends with your bartender people, doesn't matter how much they may occasionally piss you off..). All the guys here though are top notch! Nice, funny, mostly professional (it is a bar, they have be a little dirty) and pour a strong drink.

I've been to Las Perlas half a dozen times now and have had a great evening every time. I go downtown, try a couple places and then end up here again and again. I can't tell you how much I recommend this bar.

Oh, and if you see a handsome gentleman at the end of the bar by the bathrooms chatting with the bartenders go say 'hi,' it's Raul the GM and sometimes he has free drink tickets for, you know, the special people.

Las Perlas
103 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014-2005
(213) 988-8355

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I (heart) New York

New York is amazing, a wonder really. Anything that you could want at any time of day, night, morning or afternoon is there, available and waiting for you to find it and love it and give it a home. This is why I love New York.

The city also gives me sidewalk rage. Like road rage in L.A. but without the bumper system and shielding of a vehicle. This is why I don't like New York.

But, my god, if you want to have a good night out you go out in New York. So here I have a couple of mini reviews from last weekend.

The Red Lion - Bleecker at Thompson
Phenomenal! Live music, great vibe, reasonable drinks, dancing in a kind of groupie standing around the tiny stage way. Also security there is totally awesome! Sang along with the band and danced with us.

The Champagne Bar - Plaza Hotel
Let me just start by saying: three drinks $87. Feel free to skip ahead. ... Still here? Okay! This place is iconic in a city of icons. The Plaza Hotel smells like prestige. The closer you get to it, the more impressive you feel, you stand straighter, wish you had on better shoes (I'm not just talking to my ladies here). This place is money, in the literal sense. We walked up a marble staircase to get to the lower level of this bar. Inside was all rose colored lighting and the well-to-do. We happened to go there while a wedding party was finishing their night. This is probably quite common as the Plaza is the wedding address. Service was impeccable except for when the bartender lost my friends card and said we did not give it to him, we did he had dropped it behind the counter. Otherwise, this place was perfect in that sophisticated, monied kind of way.

Southern Hospitality - Second Ave at 77th St.
In direct contrast to the Plaza Hotel is Southern Hospitality. This bar was near our hotel and apparently owned by Justin Timberlake, which sadly is why we went there. The inside is generic sports bar with a slightly southern tinge to it, evident in the wooden tables and knick knacks hanging from the ceiling.

We had to repeat our drink order five times for the bartender. I don't know if he wasn't paying attention or what but you all know how I feel about waiting for my drinks. I don't. I also had to have a guy removed by the bouncer for telling me and my friend that he would "f%$k the s*@t out of us." Thanks, I'll pass. Believe me, I was in no way encouraging that sort of offer. We then witnessed another gentleman get arrested by seven police officers...inside the bar, not even out in the streets! Well, that's just rude.

Nick's Pizza - Broadway at 76th St.
After a night of shenanigans this was the perfect way to end. Real, foldable, New York style slices. The guys behind the counter were from New York, I mean from there, not like Barbara Streisand is from there but like Bobby DeNiro is from there. They were super nice in that brusque, funny New York kind of way, even though we were obviously tourists and had no idea what we were doing. Love those guys! Three slices and waters for $9.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Panama Joe's

I'm not too much of a follower of new age mysticism but Panama Joe's has some serious bad karma. There are dark clouds around it's aura...or something.

I've been to Panama Joe's three times and each time something horrible happened. At this point, if you have read any other entries you may have an idea that I enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time. Well, the second time I ventured into this establishment I had to wait in line for 20 minutes only to discover that half the bar was entirely empty. The other half was so full, though, I had to fight my way to the bar only to be ignored by the single, completely overwhelmed bartender. Four other staff members were hanging out by the door leading into the back, employee area, also not providing me with a drink.

As if this were not bad enough the third time I went there I didn't even make it in the building I only got as far as directly in front of the LONG line of fools waiting to get into the empty bar (why is there a wait to get into an empty room??). Anyway, I was already not impressed with the place from my prior visits and as I crankily walked towards the end of the LONG line, my heel twisted on a loose cobble stone and I fell. With nothing to catch myself on I fell right on my face and directly in the gutter. I wish I had the excuse that I was drunk, but alas, stone sober, I came tumbling down.

And finally, the very first time I went to Panama Joe's was soon after I moved to Orange County. My cousin and I paid the cover and made our way to the bar, our drinks were promptly delivered and we decided to survey the crowd from our bar stools before engaging in the sweaty dancing that was happening. From out of nowhere a jacket was thrown at me. It hit my chest, spilled my drink and landed in my lap. Appalled, I looked up to find the owner (and thrower) of the jacket approaching. He apologized, took the jacket and left. Five minutes later he did it again, hitting both of us this time. Well, I was less than impressed and threw the jacket on the floor. The owner once again approached us, took my cousins hand, apologized then brought her hand to his lips as if to kiss, and bit her. Yes, a stranger bit my cousin.

We both were shocked, mouths open in dismay. How does one justify this behavior, drunk or not? So I did what any demur young lady would and yelled at him, throwing my drink then grabbed him by the shirt and demanded to the bartender to kick the ass out. And do you know what the bartenders' reaction was? He laughed. So I said again, "this guy just bit my friend, he bit her, throw him out!" The bartender laughed again.

So I turned to the other bartender and repeated myself, this guys response was "oh yeah?" Complete and utter disregard for the crisis at hand! So I went in the other direction, still holding Mr. Bitey by the shirt, dragging him through the bar until I found another employee who was more helpful and had the guy thrown out.

However, my night was ruined and I vowed never to set foot in that establishment ever again. But wait, you say, that was the first of three times! Why did you return?? Well, that same cousin who was bit that night decided to give it a go on her birthday, after the place was under new ownership. I conceded that if she could return, the actual victim of the whole affair, then so could I.

But this time, I mean it, never again!

Enter at your own risk!
Panama Joe's
5100 E. 2nd St.

Long Beach, CA 90803

Monday, August 17, 2009

King Neptunes

Like all connoisseur's I have to take a thorough sampling of all types of entertainment to have a true understanding of what I'm enjoying. That is why today's review is of my new favorite establishment.

Local dives are a necessity to humanity, in my opinion. They provide an outlet unmatched at the "nicer" establishments. I feel that at a dive you can be yourself in a slightly less dignified manner. At, say, The Sky Room I could never drunkenly stumble out being held up by a friend and leaving behind a credit card and my memory of the evening. Not and show my face again any time soon.

A dive does not judge you harshly for such behavior. They expect it, almost revel in it. Lets take a favorite of mine in Seattle (alas, no longer in business...not related to the story I'm about to tell) The Flame. I was a regular and friends with the owner, an ex-Broadway musical singer who closed every night with a performance. I once suggested they try to drum up some extra business through special events, one of the events suggested was creamed corn wrestling. Yes, creamed corn wrestling. And the owner considered it!

In every town or neighborhood I have lived in (since I've been 21, hello officer!) I have a local dive bar I call home. So I have now found my Orange County bar. It is the King Neptune in Sunset Beach. The drinks are poured with a heavy hand at a low price. They do live music (and trivia and karaoke neither of which I can condone, but both of which I predict to participate in), and they have a wall of guns. This is odd, but I don't question it...they also have a wall of buttons...I feel like that sentence should end in a question.

Apparently, they have really good food too.

King Neptunes
(562) 592-4878
17115 Pacific Ave
Sunset Beach, CA 90742