So your sweetheart wants to go out on the town for Valentine's Day? Dinner can be pricey and reservations hard to get. How about cocktails, small bites and entertainment till the wee hours of the morning? Can this be found in Glendale? Absolutely. Here's a guide to the burgeoning Glendale night life scene and to some tried-and-true spots.
Instead of splurging on an expensive dinner, why not start the night by sharing the outstanding Taco Tasting platter at Frida in the Americana at Brand. During happy hour, it's only $10 for five juicy, meaty tacos and all the chips and house-made salsa you can eat. Wash them down with their $6 margarita in a big Mexican glass.
Next, a film at one of the nearby theaters might be nice or perhaps hand-holding and window-shopping. Afterward, stroll over to the Famous Craft Cocktail Lounge at 154 S. Brand Blvd., right across from the Americana. Housed in the historic Huntley-Evans building, former site of the Famous department store, this new incarnation of the Famous is warm and woody like the wide assortment of premium bourbons, whiskeys and liqueurs available for sipping or mixing.
This is the kind of place where they make an Old Fashioned the right way — with muddled artisan cherries, small-batch bitters, exquisite ice cubes and an orange-zest-rubbed rim. You'll feel like you've gone to the latest downtown L.A. hot spot (and you'll pay the same prices). Trust the bartenders here. They mix vintage cocktail know-how with fresh artistic trends. Food options are in constant flux, so it's the luck of the draw, and live music is possible but not probable. You come to the Famous for cocktails and conversation, upscale style. Weekday happy hour prices ($2 off) hold till 8 p.m., and the doors close at 2 a.m.
If you're hankering for some live music, walk around the corner to Left Coast Wine Bar at 117 E. Harvard. Most nights from 8 to midnight, local musicians share their talents and bare their souls in the upstairs loft. Valentine's Day features Karl Marsh on the jazz saxophone. Admission is free and wine is recommended.
Maybe cocktails and wine aren't your thing. Beer, cider and vintage soda pop connoisseurs will want to check out the newest addition to the Glendale craft-brew scene. The Glendale Tap, at 4227 San Fernando Road, is off the beaten path but worth the hunt. Made to look like a fishing-lodge-meets-race-car-garage, Glendale Tap has all the comforts of a dive bar but none of the grime. An eclectic collection of 50 microbrews, including the spicy
Point Smokescreen with Jalapeno, are on tap and served in pints or 8-ounce trial sizes, typically $6 and $4. Helpful bartenders will pour smaller free samples of anything you like in an attempt to find the perfect brew for you and your sweetheart. You won't find a romantic booth for two here, but bar stools are comfy and bar mates friendly. The rest of the seats flank two large pool tables (free of charge) where players happily wait their turn.
Food items, like empanadas and soft pretzels, are brought into the Tap from Timmy Nolan's Tavern in Burbank, owner Steve Skorupa's other establishment, but if your stomach is seriously growling, walk across the street to Victoria's Tacos. I talked about Victoria's in another review, but it's worth mentioning again because a) it's open till 2 a.m. on weekends and b) it's got the kind of delicious, gigantic burritos you want in the middle of the night.
Still not ready to call it a night? Then check out C Plus 24 hour Craft Coffee at 1302B S. Brand, close to the Los Feliz border. They never close, so the pour-over brews never stop flowing and the punk rock never stops playing. Choose from a variety of coffee roasters, such as Plow & Gun, Handsome and Groundwork. Plus they serve teas and $4 sandwiches like the turkey, cheddar and kale construct called C-Bird's T-Bird.
There's free WiFi at C Plus, so you and your honey can Instagram photos of your night on the town before heading home.