Halloween hits kind of strangely this year.
As it falls on a Friday, it leaves party planners to decide if they would rather throw a celebration the Saturday night prior or the one following. OR, do you have the bash on actual Halloween? Are you super dedicated to the spirit of the season and celebrating multiple times?
It boils down to lots of chances to celebrate and it's been pointed out to me that a lot of bars around town are shwoing off their big guns this year with special, themed cocktails. I never knew they did this and I'm rather impressed. Also, I am going to state right now - UBER, people. Stay safe. Be responsible.
But enough of that. Check out the spooktacular:
THE CULVER HOTEL
Have you been? It's been a while since I was last there but I have fond memories and now, an excuse to return. For the holiday, The Culver Hotel's happy hour specials include garlic fries to ward off the vampires, deviled eggs, and $7 specialty cocktail “potions” from 4 to 7 pm. Their lobby comes to life at 7:30 with live jazz as scary silent movies are projected on the walls. If you creep upstairs to the newly renovated Velvet Lounge for exclusive, reservation-only bottle service experience, dress in your Halloween best for a costume contest -- prizes awarded at midnight!
Few places are better suited to Halloween than this one. Legend has it, the old Raymond cottage is still haunted by the ghost of original founder, Walter Raymond. This year, at the 1886 Bar they will be offering the Hobgoblin, a ghoulishly crafted cocktail available exclusively through Halloween weekend featuring AppleJack brandy, house made pumpkin syrup, all spice dram, cinnamon and fresh lemon juice, garnished with a chocolate spider web (yep, I'm in). Their bar bites include Chicken Satay Skewers, Beef Tataki with jalapeno salsa and Steamed Mussels with Chinese sausage and “angry lady” sauce.
Y'all may recall this is a favorite of mine and I'll basically eat or drink anything they tell me to. In this instance it appears to be a special, limited selection of Seasonal Pumpkin Brews (some exclusively available at SunCafe). Beer nerds (I'm looking at you, Raquel) can expect to find a rare collection from the likes of Russian River Brewing, Santa Clara Brewing, Almanac and more. SunCafe is also offering a special HarvestFlight of four beers for only $12 and as a treat for guests, a weekend Harvest Happy Hour, featuring food specials and a $1.00 off all beer, wine, cocktails and Kombucha from 4 pm to close. The pumpkin fanatics of the world should try the pumpkin cheesecake. And come back for a smoothie. And the nachos. Ok, you should come back here a lot. I really do love it.
This is quite a celebration, kids. Apparenty pirates have taken over The Venice Whaler and they’re throwing the best Halloween bash west of Lincoln complete with dead sailors and sea captains. But in order to come aboard, you’ll first have to navigate through a haunted house of horrors. Be prepared to bob for eyeballs and dig your hands into a vat of “brains” in search of prizes, because there is no shortage of creepy carnival games at this ghoulish event. Once inside, head straight to the Crab Shell Bar and grab yourself one of their craft cocktails. There will be attractions as well - Henna Tattoos, face painting, caricature artists, tarot card readers, costume contests, live music.... God, I'm exhausted already. But sounds like one of those "you have to try it at least once" experiences. (And fun note, I'll be reviewing their brunch in a couple weeks. You're gonna be jealous after, I promise.)
Wanna know a secret? I'll drink almost anything with "blood orange" in the title. Also? The cocktails at Zengo are always outstanding. So I'm pretty pleased that Zengo is celebrating Halloween by offering two specialty cocktails to thirsty guests for only $5 each and that one of them is a Blood Orange Margarita. The other is "Vampire’s Punch," combining vodka with a splash of sour, fresh guava puree and cranberry juice into a spooky sipper complete with spider ring hanging from the rim of the glass. The food there is also phenomenal, the setting is idyllic.
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There you have it, boys and girls. A checklist for this year's Halloween imbibements. You're welcome. And again, I beg you, be a friggin' grown up. Be safe.