Whether your spouse or friends are away or busy, or if you live alone, there are Palm Springs bars to go out to and engage in a conversation with other folks.
The criteria for this includes being open to meeting others. Some Palm Springs bars have ice breakers like tiki bars, “What kind of drink is that? How does it taste?” often opens things up for further conversation. Another is the shape of the Palm Springs bars. Horseshoes and squares are the best because patrons are almost required to make eye contact with one another. Note: sit in the curve or corner if you can.
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Another is the bartenders. Are they outgoing? Bartenders often connect people just by having a lively conversation with their patrons, pulling others into the chat. Live entertainment is also another way to join people together, but that can vary. You’re not likely to have a good conversation when the band is banging out heavy metal, or rocking your socks off – you can’t hear in that type of atmosphere.
So we’ve put together a group of Palm Springs bars in no particular order (most with dining options) where we’ve had good experiences meeting other people with just that in mind.
Not an upscale bar, but not a dive by any stretch of the imagination – just old school. The bar, mostly separate from the dining areas, is huge, oak, and curves around each end. For gamblers, lottery tickets are available. Bartenders are busy so don’t expect much of a chat from them, but there are a host of regulars who are extremely friendly. They always make eye contact and engage in conversation. The chances of being the only person at the bar are 5 percent if that. No entertainment except special occasions. Mostly a mix of locals at the bar. billyreedspalmsprings.com
Trendy bar area with a happy hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The bar is always busy, with a wide variety of friendly people across all ages. The bartenders are busy, but if the bar is empty they will chat you up. Seats at the bar are almost always full. triopalmsprings.com
PHOTOGRAPH COUTRESY TRIO PALM SPRINGS
Trio Palm Springs
This very busy bar has a daily happy hour and Wednesdays it’s happy hour all day. Tuesdays and Thursdays a two or three piece jazz band plays, but you can still hear yourself talk. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat at the bar, whether inside or outside (although we’ve had more luck inside) there is always someone interesting sitting next to you. Because the bar is so popular, they tend to add chairs making it difficult to get into and out of the seats. They have specialty drinks and for those that drink white wine, it is served in a chilled glass. Makes a world of difference. thetropicale.com
Revel Public House
Formerly Alicante, this downtown L-shaped bar attracts a variety of customers. A friend once exclaimed, “I always meet the most interesting people at Revel.” The crowd tends to be on the younger side, but they’re still friendly. If you’re over 65 this bar may not be for you, but if you’re still young at heart, give it a go. Happy Hour is available every evening until closing. revelps.com
It’s happy hour all day at the bar, and the horseshoe-shaped bar is perfect for meeting other people. It’s bright, the bartenders are friendly, and depending where you sit, is ripe for people watching. Happily no matter where you sit at the bar, you’re bound to strike up a conversation with someone local or from far away places. Happy Hour runs 11 a.m. to closing every day.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GREGG FELSEN
Lulu California Bistro's horseshoe-shaped bar is great for meeting and conversing with others.
Stacy’s is a classy piano bar located on Arenas, but not so upscale you have to dress up. A recent visit had my companion declare, “this bar doesn’t belong here”. That’s because it’s right next to Street Bar, Hunter’s, and across from Blackbook - three popular gay spots with heightened action. Stacy's is the calm in the midst of the ‘chaos’. It has a long bar which is not on our list of favorites but they make up for it in a few ways. You can sit around the piano. The entertainers are always top notch, they always take requests, and sometimes there are sing-alongs. On a past occasion, the piano player held a game of “guess the song”, which was a crowd pleaser and encouraged cross talk. There are daily drink specials, but they currently do not serve food.
Las Casuelas Terraza
Margaritas (tequila) tend to make fast friends especially when it’s served at a horseshoe-shaped bar. We’ve always had a fun chat here. Live music starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, and early afternoons, and evenings on Saturdays and Sundays. The bands are contemporary, generally pop and dance music, and they can get a bit loud, but usually later in the evening.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY LAS CASUELAS TERRAZA
The music works in tandem to make Las Caseulas Terraza a fun place to chat with people.
Who doesn’t have fun at a tiki bar? Located in Caliente Tropics motel, behind Evzin Restaurant, the bar itself is small, but adequate and looks out on the pool. The bartenders are generally happy people mixing up your favorite tropical drinks. We have never been in this bar without meeting someone, whether at the bar or at a table. And because it’s in a hotel, you get a wide variety of people from all over. The tables extend out to the pool area, which makes you feel like you’re on vacation, too. There are several drink specials, but two that stand out are Hemmingway Hump Day with $10 daquiris all night, and Thursdays offer a very fun Yacht Rock themed night of entertainment. If you prefer a more rat pack theme, or something less kitschy try one of the other bars.
On the southeast end of Palm Springs, located in the historic and gorgeous Parker hotel, this wine bar is not an everyday place unless you have deep pockets. But it’s pretty special. Tucked back from the rest of the hotel like the well-kept secret it is, Counter Reformation is funky and fun. The slightly curved bar is about all of the seating in the place, and because of the intimacy, people chat. This place is open Thursdays through Mondays, 3-11 p.m., closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. parkerpalmsprings.com
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PARKER PALM SPRINGS
Counter Reformation is located inside the Parker Palm Springs.