Since its grand opening a year ago, Dringk Eatery and Bar at The River in Rancho Mirage has met its mission to be nothing like other restaurants in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Whether it’s morning brunch with your friends or Friday family night, Dringk’s lighthearted venue and unique menu has crossed barriers in attracting a diverse crowd.
That’s exactly what Dringk owners Kurt and Carmen Gardner had in mind. “We wanted a casual and unique atmosphere where locals and tourists can come have a one-of-a-kind experience,” says Kurt, who tells Palm Springs Life the other ways the restaurant stands out.
What made you decide to open Dringk?
My family and I have been to Greater Palm Springs numerous times before, and we love the desert as a community. When my wife and I saw an opportunity to live here, we jumped at the chance. I have four children, and the desert is the perfect place to raise a family. It is because family is important to me, that I really wanted Dringk to have a family vibe to it. We want Dringk to be a diverse place. In the daytime, families can come and enjoy the playful atmosphere, in the evening the restaurant is filled with people of all ages, and at night Dringk gets the nightclub treatment without the nightclub vibes.
Owner Kurt Gardner proudly showing off Dringk.
Were you inspired by any food trends when creating the menu?
Yes, we are very proud of how “on brand” our menu is. Carmen is the culinary force behind our menu items. She travels a lot, discovering food trends to bring to Dringk. We have fresh vibrate flavors in our Ahi Poke nachos and sweet savory flavors in our waffle burger. She is always working with our kitchen staff toying around with the ingredients to create something that is unique to Dringk.
What was the inspiration for the decor?
We know the younger clientele in Greater Palm Springs loves to decorate their social media with fun “instagram-able” places, so that’s what we made Dringk to be. We have a wall that used to be a pair of angel wings and people loved taking a picture with it. It is now a funky wall with a cool design that is just as Instagrammable as the last one. Many also like to take pictures and play on our swing chairs. When we were thinking about the décor, we wanted to make sure our customers would be able to interact with every inch whether it was taking pictures against the walls, playing with the pool table, or hanging out on the sofa. We are very proud of how “lived” the place looks.
This swing chair adds to the playful atmosphere of Dringk.
What makes Dringk different than anything else in the market?
Our hours cater to every age group. All ages can enjoy Dringk until 10 p.m., and then it’s only 21 and over so different groups of people are able to come to one place. I feel like Greater Palm Springs does not have a restaurant quite like Dringk yet. Whether you’re a family wanting to have dinner or a group of people wanting to hang out and enjoy the DJs, Dringk will have something to satisfy every client walking through our doors. We have a DJ every Friday and Saturday night to play after 10 p.m. We take a lot of pride with our DJ program with people like Trevor Worden and DJ John Paul. We want our nightclub clientele to receive the nightclub treatment with the DJs but have the lounge atmosphere to make them feel comfortable.
What has been a highlight since you’ve opened Dringk?
Hands down seeing the clients happy. I’ve been in this business for more than 20 years, and it brings me so much joy to see that everyone is having a good time. When people come up to me and thank me for creating a place where they’re having a great time — that’s priceless. Being able to see people enjoy the place you’ve created is always rewarding.
What can we expect from Dringk in the future?
We are in the process of working in a reggae night every second Sunday and an acoustics night every other Sunday. You might see a trivia night in Dringk’s future as well.
Dringk Eatery + Bar at The River 71800 Highway 111
This corner venue is perfect for a more private setting.