(Palm Springs Twilight Photo by Kathy Condon)
Article Courtesy of Kathy Condon, Palm Springs Insider Guide, Subscribe Here
Palm Springs, CA
As a mature woman over 50, I, like many of my friends, am not keen on having a large meal late at night. Thus, we often meet somewhere at 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. to take advantage of the Happy Hours scattered throughout Coachella Valley. Most of my friends live in Palm Springs, and thus, we usually stay in town. However, when I’m meeting friends from other parts of the Valley, we often come up with halfway meeting places.
Things to consider when going to Palm Springs Happy Hour in the summertime.
Do you want to eat inside or outside?
With temperatures sometimes reaching 115 degrees in the summertime, it might not be the wisest choice to select a place based on its delightful outdoor seating area, though many have misters.
Confirm the Palm Springs Happy Hours timeframe by telephone.
More than once, I checked a restaurant’s website and reviewed the information provided, only to discover there was no Happy Hour or the hours were different than the ones listed on their website.
While most restaurants now stay open year-round, a few close for a month or two during the summer to have a much-needed rest before the season begins in mid-September or October 1.
My Go-To Restaurants for a Palm Springs Happy Hour
This list by no means states which are the best or inclusive of all Palm Springs Happy Hours–it is the list of the places I enjoy and go back to again and again.
(Mai Tia at The Reef Photo by Kathy Condon. The Reef at the Caliente Tropics)
The Reef is one of my go-to places when I have visitors in town. I like to go there because I believe it has the best coconut shrimp in the area. Also, their Mai Tia topped off with a large sprig of fresh mint, seems like the perfect drink to end a day.
Guests and I am discovering many locals have not gone here. The Reef is on the side of the Caliente Tropics, so look for the sandwich board near the entrance door. Walk down the hall and turn left into the room. The entire space is decorated, so one feels like you have walked into Jimmy Buffet’s Key West world.
There are booths and café tables where you can gather your friends for intimate conversations. That is if the small stage in the corner has not attracted some local musicians who perform with an upbeat tropical vibe. In that case, sit back, enjoy, or grab a person, and dance on the postage-size dance floor. If you have a big group, the patio has picnic tables poolside so that you can watch the antics as hotel guests frolic in the large pool.
2. Bill’s Pizza Takes You Back to Italy
One of my fondest memories is visiting North Lake Como with my family. We looked over a menu with perhaps, 50 different kinds of pizza for our evening meals.
I was delighted to discover Bill’s Pizza in downtown Palm Springs has a crust reminiscent of the ones I enjoyed in Italy. While the menu is not nearly as extensive, my favorite is the Elton John. The combination of artichokes hearts, tomatoes, cooked spinach, red onions, four kinds of cheese, and feta on top of garlic-infused olive oil sauce is so flavorful and the perfect reason to overlook the calories involved.
Happy Hour is only on Monday, but it gives one an excuse to go there for reduced draft beer and wine. Plus, getting a table inside or out is easier since visitors have hit the road after their weekend getaway.
3. Agua Caliente Casino 360 Sports Bar
A friend was visiting, and she wanted to try her hands at the slot machines at the Agua Caliente Casino. After playing for a while, it was time to get a bite, and we discovered it was Happy Hour at the 360 Sports Bar.
It was then we discovered the Nachos. We should have figured out when the bartender said you want one-half of an order, right? We looked at each other and asked, ” Is it big enough for two?” He grinned and said, “Yes, I am sure you will be fine.
It arrived, and we both started laughing—the serving was huge. It appeared to be made with melted processed cheese, but we overlooked it because the other fresh ingredients were superb. (I’m going to ask for regular cheese melted on it next time—It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask.)
Paired with a glass of wine or an ice-cold draft beer, I can assure you you won’t need another bit of food the rest of the day. We took half of the half-order home for lunch, which was heated in the air fryer the next day.
(Cocktail at Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill Photo by Kathy Condon. Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill Tucked Away)
If you are downtown, you will want to go under the arch that says The Vineyard and walk until you get to the building in the back. Tell the concierge you are there for Happy Hour and will be directed to an inside lounge or a secluded outdoor patio.
Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill is a well-established restaurant has been attracting people for years and is known for its delicious Italian meals. Late into the evening, local musicians entertain crowds and encourage dancing and mingling.
As you would suspect, the Happy Hour menu has an array of Italian foods. Recently my friend ordered eggplant parmesan. My serving of a meatball and spaghetti was the right portion size for my evening meal. With a choice of wine, well cocktails, and various craft beers at reduced prices, you can have a lovely meal in a beautiful atmosphere at a reasonable cost.
5. Eight4Nine Superb Cocktails
Okay, I’m hooked on their Old Fashioned. My first drink in Wisconsin was an old-fashioned made with brandy when I turned of age. Brandy was readily available in my German community and was believed to help digestion. Thus, the cocktail was created using brandy instead of whiskey.
However, more prevalent in the Southwest, it is made like the original inventor in Louisville, Kentucky, intended to be made with whiskey. Thus, that is what you will find at Eight4Nine with a giant square cube, which melts slower and causes less drink dilution.
The Eight4Nine lounge area, all day long, you can order craft cocktails and beers at reduced prices. They call their menu Lounge Bites, which range from hearty sandwiches and salads to Lobster Croquettes.
Locals often go here to meet with friends or have a noon business meeting. Locals are often seen having a quick chat with a person at an adjacent table.
(Eight4Nine Patio Photo by Kathy Condon)
Are you staying in Palm Springs and Wanting to Meet Friends at the Other End of Coachella Valley?
6. Enzo’s is A Great Halfway Meeting Place
Located in Rancho Mirage, Enzo’s has become one of my favorite places to meet friends who live at the other end of Coachella Valley. It is approximately halfway between Palm Springs and Indio, making it a great location to catch up.
There is plenty of parking. Walking up to the front door, you feel you are in for something special. Once you open the door, the expansive view of the restaurant appears before you. Turn left and go down the steps to find an empty table. From experience, I’ve learned the bar is also a great place to strike up a conversation.
There are two dishes I can highly recommend. The lasagna with homemade Italian sausage, ricotta, Romano pecorino, and parmigiana Reggiano will practically have you wanting to lick your plate. I mentioned homemade Italian sausage—you cannot go wrong with their meatballs. Add a glass of your favorite wine, and you will be all set for the rest of the evening. Of course, with our beautiful Palm Springs evening weather, there is always room for a nightcap at one of our many outdoor patios.
After carefully checking, I discovered some of my other favorite Palm Springs Happy Hour places are not having Happy Hours. Instead, they use the term “Lounge Bites.” Upon examination of the menus, it appears many items are small portions of the entrees served in the main dining rooms. I don’t know about you, but that’s great because I enjoy the restaurant’s superb cuisine without having to take home half of it to warm up the next day, which is never that satisfying.
Even though Palm Springs Happy Hours seem to be diminishing, I am glad restauranteurs are finding a way to keep serving those of us who desire smaller meals in the evening. One last thing, it seems new restaurants keep popping up, even in the summer, so I can assure you there are many other places you may want to explore.
Kathy Condon is an award-winning author and journalist for numerous publications. She has been a resident of Palm Springs for 11 years and travels the world writing about her experiences. email@example.com www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com