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A group of us are looking for bars with a happening scene, decent food and good wine/cocktails. Live music or a dj wouldn't hurt either. We seem to have exhausted all avenues so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Mastro's - upstairs

    the bar at the Peninsula Hotel

    in OC, there's Chimayo in Newport Beach that has people of all ages at their upstairs bar

    2 Replies
    1. re: LisaStitch

      Where in Newport Beach is Chimayo?

      1. re: Philly

        Sorry I had a complete brain fart. Instead of Chimayo (which I'm not sure is even there anymore) I was actually talking about The Cannery.

    2. I was at Montana Lounge last week with a couple 40+ friends and there were plenty of other people there in their age bracket. I would really love it if there was a DJ there, but it was still fun without.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        To keep this on the food and drink, our cocktails were decently mixed that night and I had a chili cheese dog, which was good drinking food. They have more upscale items on the menu like bacon wrapped scallops, but I was looking for something that I could be certain would soak up the alcohol.

        1. re: mollyomormon

          I read that Cafe R & D is taking over. Is this correct?

          1. re: Robin Ficara

            Yes, but it sounds like Montana Lounge will be open until July at least.

        2. Hi Folks-

          Please note, Chowhound is all about finding great food and drink, but bar scenes, dancing, entertainment, etc. are out of scope for our discussion. Please focus on the food and drink.


          1. Guess I qualify as part of the "select" demographic, so here goes - all in Pasadena/Glendale area.

            I like the Ritz-Carlton Huntington bar the best for music, the food, then drinks. Ambiance/service, even when crowded, is excellent. The bar serves serves those Mini-slider Burgers, amongst other typical bar food- also a dessert selection... mixed drinks are expensive, Wine by the glass is from a reasonable selection somewhere around 9 and up for a glass...the mixed drinks generally are good, just don't ask for a dirty martini, because it was as if he''d mixed 1 part Pacific Ocean with 1 part gin - 15 dollars for simply the most gawdawful swill -shoulda sent it back but just asked for water and nursed my NaCl concoction for the night.. My sis-in-law enjoyed the Sliders, we love the complementary mixed nuts, and similar good choices off the bar menu... blues bands on Saturday night are usually pretty good, in a very comfortable, big loungie arm chairs and sofas, old-style "library" chic , bar. No cover, and the valet is less (I think 5$ instead of 12) if you let them know you were at the bar.

            Parkway Grill - eat at the bar and enjoy the piano player. Excellent drinks, great food from the menu - I love a bowl of Black Bean soup, a vodka martini...BF always gets the special pizza and a gimlet...if I go for dessert, it is always, always, always the Sorbet...and then I'm set for the evening...,great contemporary piano music on weekend evenings.( everything from gershwin to Van Halen!)

            red white + bluezz - Old Pasadena - I've had both good small plates and entrees here (really excellent Scallops a few weeks ago!) this is a wine bar/restaurant with good music on weekend evenings starting around 9 p.m. I like the flights they offered, not inexpensive, but if just there for the small plates (appetizers) it's less pricey overall than the Ritz...again, a wine bar, and sit at the bar - my experience is they are more attentive at the bar.

            Jax in Glendale - our default on a saturday night...guaranteed good music, spot-on with the cocktails - i'd say most of the bartenders are well-versed and versatile in their mixology...(again watch that hand pouring the dirty martini...got another Ocean Special, but when I apologetically asked one of the other bartenders to taste it to see if he could "fix" it for me..., he dumped it immediately, pulled the "offending" bartender ( a new guy) over and made him watch as he made me a new one so the newbie would know what a slightly dirty martini really means). Food is meh, and a little pricey for the quality, but acceptable - stick with the simple dishes, Pasta, grilled fish, and Crab Cakes were acceptable.

            Even at the Ritz, people are dressed in denim/white shirts, etc. A little more polished at red white + bluezz/ Parkway Grill on weekend evenings. I find the most comfortable crowd for my style at Ritz or Parkway, then Rwb, then Jax.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Local

              Definitely Montana Lounge - and the menu seems to change a little each week (gone is the fried bologne sandwich, replaced with a sloppy joe).

              Viceroy bar - great bar menu from Whist (I love the chicken and waffles)

              Otheroom - order delivery from Abbots Pizza

              The Penthouse - but the food is definitely sit-down fare, you can order at the bar.

              Bar at Brentwood, also bar at Brass Cap (but Brentwood has better food).

              All the above spots are 40+, especially on weekdays, and everyday before 9PM. After 9, everywhere gets really young. But Westside is your best bet for that age bracket.

              1. re: yogachik

                As of Thursday night, the fired balogna was still on at Montana. Tried to talk my friend into taking one for the team and trying it, but he went with the quesadilla.

                Oh, I thought of a perfect one: Bandera, especially on Thursday nights.

              2. re: Local

                Red White + Bluezz would definitely be my choice. Live music Thurs-Sunday, and the wine and cheese flights are all fun especially since you can mix and match your own or use their very helpful pairing guides. The entrees are great also, especially the short ribs, but I prefer to order off the app menu and just get a bunch for the table.

                1. Panama Joe's in Long Beach. (Belmont Shore/2nd Street)

                  Full Bar, Live Band.

                  However... horrible food IMHO. Yet somehow people are always eating there...

                  Patio seating...

                  1. Monty's in Woodland Hills (west San Fernando Valley) is just what you describe.

                    The clientele is definitely 40+. Happy Hour includes rounds of shrimp cocktail and other good nibbles. If you are willing to pay for your nibbles, order the fried pickles - - I know that sounds odd, but they are scrumptious. Sometimes there is live music later in the evening. You can eat dinner in the bar area if you like, or have dinner in the restaurant area. It's not a cheap place for dinner, but the steaks are good. Bar prices are normal for a nice place.

                    I haven't been there myself, but I know 40-something adults (foodies) who have raved to me about a bar called Father's Office in Santa Monica. This place is known for a fancy burger, in addition to great cocktails.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: purplescout

                      Forgive me for putting chain restaurants into the mix, but I have had good experiences at Houstons (Santa Monica or Century City), Gulfstream, French 75 (Century City), and Bandera (Wilshire). Good ambience, food, and live jazz at all of these places. They are quite good as far as chains go.

                      1. re: chelseafc

                        This is true although I would 86 French 75 from your list as it is too faux French.

                      2. re: purplescout

                        Wouldn't Father's Office be a little too much of a zoo?

                        1. re: Joanie

                          I was there on Monday night and it wasn't bad at all. At this point, I consider it my favorite burger in LA, and it's particularly sweet if I don't have to hover over someone waiting for a table, which I didn't that night. The burger, an order of sweet potato fries and a bottle of Terrible and I'm a happy girl. The crowd there was a good mix of all ages on Monday night. Also, obviously this is a beer and wine only place, so go elsewhere if you want mixed drinks.

                          1. re: Joanie

                            I think FO would be a great rec normally, but I have a feeling that there's going to be a group going, and I'd be wary about walking into Father's Office in a group of *two*.

                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                              Completely agree. Father's Office is great if there aren't more than two of you and you can go either on a weekend afternoon or on a less crowded night early in the week. It is not a group place.