Good Libations

Loads of atmosphere, specialty drinks, and a niche vibe define the desert’s best bars

Lisa Marie Hart Arts & Entertainment 0 Comments

Bar, a moody downtown haunt is the definition of hipster cool in downtown Palm Springs.
Photo by Dre Naylor


Hipster Cool

For a shady break from the sizzling scene around the Ace Hotel & Swim Club pool, tattooed Angelenos duck into the cavelike Amigo Room to catch eclectic bands and DJ sets. Take off the edge with the vodka-based Desert Facial; Order a classic Old Fashioned at Bar, a moody downtown haunt that keeps the cool urban look as simple as its name. Flirt with new friends across the pool table or let loose amid a weekend DJ scene that isn’t afraid to get wild;


Tropical Fun

Jonesing for Polynesian playfulness? Uptown at the intimate Bootlegger Tiki, spiky blowfish lanterns cast a retro glow on flaming, port-based Gooney Goo Goo drinks; Pu pu platters and rum drinks reign on the SHAG-designed menu at Tonga Hut, where throwback surfer décor spills out onto the second-floor balcony; Club-style nightlife goes South Beach during Wednesday Latin Nights at Copa Palm Springs. Try the fruity Hunky Monkey;


Breezy Beach

A seamless indoor-outdoor open concept at Birba creates a carefree, coastlike atmosphere. Sip an elderflower Hello Nancy among other smartly dressed conversationalists; Renowned for weekend events bubbling over with youth and poolside music, partying at Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club takes a cue from Vegas resorts. Order pitchers of mojitos (classic or wildberry) mixed to share or fancy mimosas;


Music Haven

Rollicking live music and a Wild West spirit prevail at Pappy & Harriet’s, a legendary high desert hangout known to host the best intimate performances by huge bands. Shady Lady and Vic Williams, served in mason jars, are must-tries; Deep in Coachella fest territory, Date Shed is a righteous concert destination for local and touring acts. Black walls, a disco ball, and low couches frame up this stage-centric hot spot. Cool down with a vodka or whiskey drink.


Party Time

The party starts with margarita-fueled karaoke sessions on Thursdays at the unassuming Tack Room Tavern and continues with live bands on Fridays and Saturdays. Try the Empire Derby before attending a game at the nearby Empire Polo Club; From the indoor saloons to the lush landscape surrounding the outdoor patios,  Jackalope Ranch is perfect for every get-together. For a “wow” drink, request the tequila-based Paloma;

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