It’s been open for a few months, but Las Palmas, the new onsite brewery and “natural” wine bar, has yet to have their Palm Springs grand opening. Owned and operated by good friends, Rey Romero and Sam Gill, they’re pretty laid back. “The first night we ever opened,” Gill says. “Rey and I, were were just, ‘Oh, let’s try this wine,’ and we're sitting in the front, and Crystal (Reihl, from The HeyDay) came in and then a bunch of other people came in.”
They have been open since.
The duo met in San Francisco where Romero was bartending, and Gill was managing the Cervecería bar and brewery. They struck up a friendship, and eventually Gill moved on to learning and creating craft beers, while Romero focused on management.
“I ended up becoming the general manager of one of their new locations,” Romero relates, “and was able to see one of their latest projects being turned from a completely gutted laundromat into a tasting room for their house made beers. I incorporated the natural wine into it as well. I was running the show there and seeing everything behind the scenes. While I was doing all that, Sam left that company to go work for a mutual friend’s company called the Black Sands, and that's where he was practicing more of the craft [of brewing].”
They wanted to open their own place, but San Francisco was a no go. “There were beer gardens on every corner," Gill says. "There was actually a time where it seemed like Oakland opened one every month.
Romero was born and raised in Cathedral City, and Gill was raised in Los Angeles, and spent a good deal of time in Palm Springs.
They found the home for Las Palmas in a 1940s building that housed Bram’s, an antiques and jewelry store on Palm Canyon Drive.
Once they decided on the desert, the hunt was on for a storefront. They found it in a 1940s building that housed Bram’s, an antiques and jewelry store on Palm Canyon Drive. The store closed, and the owners struck a rental deal with the two entrepreneurs.
The new look with a front area for seating and a beer garden in the back.
Romero says that one of Gill’s friends gave them some solid advice on the decor, “‘You guys need to agree on a word and treat it like your North Star. And whatever you do from this moment on, make sure that it meets the definition of that word.’ We chose two: timeless and relaxed. So, whenever we were about to paint something or choose furniture or even our branding, that would be the final question, is this timeless, is this relaxed? That helped a lot.”
Those North Stars also trickled down to their beers. That means old world classics to Gill and Romero.
They offer three housemade brews, and three guest beers. They are not always the same, but they are always timeless lagers. “It's almost like your record collection,” Romero explains. “You always have that Fleetwood Mac, or Michael Jackson in the back. You can drink a lager anytime of the day, anytime of the year and it's going to be good. You're going to enjoy it and you’ll have another, versus some beers that are trending.”
The rustic little bar and brewery has a layback vibe with a clean, modern, yet timeless (their North Star), look. Inside, the wood bar and booths were built from trees procured from Gill’s father’s (Tim) ranch, and custom built for the space. There is also a small two-seater ‘library’ in the corner to curl up in that’s as cozy as a window seat. The decor is delightfully stark, leaving the wood and lighting as the star of the bar adding to its timeless aura.
They offer three housemade brews, and three guest beers. They are not always the same, but they are always timeless lagers.
Down the hallway, past the brewing area, and outside is their equally cool beer garden, which is an actual garden. They are growing herbs that Gill uses in beer making, and have planted passion fruit, guava, and mandarin trees already producing fruit for their small-batch beers. Those trees will eventually grow tall and shady when they mature.
The beer garden is where “Happy Weekends” begin with local food vendors taking residence, cooking up their specialties. Currently on the line-up are The HeyDay (burgers and Cubanos), Marcel Ramirez’s savory crepes, and Fat Boy Tacos.
If you’re not into beer, wine, or alcohol in general, you can still enjoy the space with a cup of coffee, hot and cold brewed on site; kombucha; and a large variety of teas.
Las Palmas Brewing, 461 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-992-5082; laspalmasbrewing.com.