If you find that you’re feeling fancy and have a hankering for a craft cocktail and some ornate appetizers, stop by the 515, conveniently named after its address on Cedar Street in downtown Santa Cruz. This place is definitely a community treasure and a local favorite. If you are visiting the area and are lucky enough to stumble upon the 515, you’re guaranteed to remember it. It isn’t a place that tourists will likely find themselves unless they’ve heard about it somewhere before, or have local connections. Although known around town mainly for their classy bar and lounge, it should also be known that they offer a more fine dining atmosphere downstairs.
What do we mean when we say “craft cocktail”? Perhaps you are in the mood for more than just a jack and coke or gin and tonic. Perhaps you’re a person that cares about what kind of gin you’re drinking and the freshness of the fruit and other ingredients that go into your glass. Maybe you want to try a Negroni with a modern twist, or some variation of a Manhattan or Sazarac. If you don’t know what these drinks are and you’d like to find out, ask one of the bartenders here, they are friendly and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the liquor, beer, and wine they pour. If something sweet is what you want, try Le Pamplemousse, a drink served up with Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka, Aperol, lemon juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice. If you are more sour than sweet, try the New York Sour, made with Bulliet Rye Bourbon, lemon juice, cane sugar, and Cabernet Franc. Also ask about The Cocktail of The Moment, which is their featured drink that changes every night. Here it is also completely invited to ask the bartender to surprise you with whatever concoction he or she might be experimenting with, they love that. Eight draft beers are available and change from time to time. Many of them you aren’t going to see on just any tap such as Old Rasputin, a Russian Imperial Stout from the North coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg. There is no draft Coors Light here friends.
The décor in the upstairs bar is reminiscent of a 1920’s lounge. It consists of a small bar counter at the far end, and a few dining tables, but mostly couches comfortably arranged around coffee tables. There is a small private room that can be rented out for intimate special events and an outside patio overlooking downtown complete with a fire pit and lights strung overhead. Downstairs provides the full white linen treatment with the nice touch of a silent film playing in the background. Also make sure you stop by for Saturday and Sunday brunch sometime to enjoy a quality Bloody Mary (they serve several different recipies), and a specialty benedict or Prosciutto Hash. Reservations are encouraged for upstairs or down, because often times more people have the desire to eat there than space provided.]]>
Wow this Absinthe packs a punch, A stumbling black licorice punch!
A friend of a friend brought this bottle over to a pretty casual night hanging out last night, the bottle was half gone but still crisp with icy condensation when I arrived.
My first sip was all black licorice, rich STRONG and almost overpowering. Even with a start like that I kept going (with a little peer pressure from my friends). And as one friend pointed out, it may be a tough shot, but wow does it come with some great side effects!
Although I didn’t see any green faeries it did only take three or four sipped shots for me to join my friends with an amusingly slur… at least enough to put a smile on my face for a few hours!
I have no idea who made this, or where it came from, but if you get a chance to try one of these “Illusion” bottles, it may be worth the adventure.
If you are looking for a more reliable, but still adventurously sketchy drink make sure you check out our bar reviews: Santa Cruz Dive Bars]]>
There is a great deal at the Paradox bar Solaire, if you know that it is there.
First they have a $5 happy hour Sunday through Thursday 4-7PM. To top the $5 menu right now, if you go in for a drink you can use the pool for free! We were talking to a bartender and he was saying that there will be a $20 fee to use the pool this summer. A $20 admission would certainly keep rifraff like me out, but for now it is a great deal to go have a couple of happy hour drinks, jump in the pool and then lay out in the last of the days sun. The heated pool stays open at night as well, and although I haven’t tried it yet, that is what first peaked my interest in Solaire. At first I thought these guys were going to be a stuck up bastion for douchebag tourists too tired or drunk to drive back over the hill, but they are proving me wrong. Having an upscale place that is actually catering to locals as well as visitors is great, and the fact that I heard from friends that you could use the pool for free is actually the only reason I even gave them a shot.]]>
If you missed our first installment talking about Louie’s Cajun kitchen and Bourbon bar, you can find it here.I was really excited to get in and try out the new food, I had an idea in my head that the reason that the restaurant changed from Clouds to Louie’s was because the Chef had a moment of inspiration and wanted to cook Cajun food. Based on my first experience there, I was terribly wrong. I shouldn’t be too judgmental though, I am only able eat gluten free, so I didn’t get to try the pulled pork and I also went in the afternoon, so maybe they weren’t on their “A” game. Still the food was bland and boring, Except for the chicken wings which tasted like they were drenched in butter and Tabasco and nothing else, they were disgusting.
So I was bummed out about the food. I will go back again some time I’m sure, and hopefully I will be won over, I really did like the food at clouds, so maybe my expectations were too high.
But for now, if I end up at Louie’s Cajun Kitchen and Bourbon Bar I will stick to the Hurricanes, those were amazing!]]>
I had an experience once, and this is where it was.
That pretty much sums up every persons experience of the Blue.
If you want to go to the Blue Lagoon you are in for an experience. I for one, love this place. The Booze is cheap for how strong it is, the DJs are great, even though they do occasionally have Dub Step nights. And although the live bands sometimes suck, I would blame Santa Cruz for having an over abundance of shitty punk bands before I blamed the blue.
On a side note, it’s absurd how often they charge covers, and I wouldn’t use their restrooms for anything other than standing to pee and 1 night stands… and I’m a girl.
The Local Guide to Santa Cruz has a review of other clubs up at Santa Cruz Clubs you should go take a look and then go enjoy your night getting way to drunk in Downtown Santa Cruz!]]>