Greater Palm Springs Drinks and Dining – What is open and where you can dream to go soon

By the time we all get out of Covid-19 lockdown and can move free of fear, it may feel like the Roaring 20s all over again. You might want to hug a stranger, dance in the streets, or scream for freedom. Get to know Greater Palm Springs by sipping your way around the destination’s 9 distinct cities. Many establishments offer outdoor seatings, patios, gardens, rooftops, or a grand property to social distance. Research beforehand or take your drinks to-go.

Once a Hollywood hangout in the 1950s, this sun-drenched desert hideaway is still going strong as ever – as many from the cities have opted to rent or move to this Sonoran desert city (that feels more like multiple small towns) in southern California.

Imbibe responsibly! Please see updates on all locations. We hope this cocktail list gets you excited when life resumes in Palm Springs.

 Del Rey Bar at Villa Royale

At the desert’s hottest new boutique hotel, crank up the romance at the dimly lit Del Rey Bar hidden behind the pool in Villa Royale. This Palm Springs restaurant and bar with candlelit ambiance offers a zesty handcrafted cocktail menu. Sidle up to the personable wooden bar or get cozy in a leather cushioned booth with gold tabletop and black and white tiled fireplace. Besides the tapas-style bites, order a Shy Rickey with vodka, celery, and lime juices, ginger syrup, ginger beer, and angostura or the grown-up Murcielago, a Laphroaig and Monkey Shoulder scotch blend with amaro Montenegro, date syrup, lemon, barrel-aged bitters, and black tea ice cube.

Besides wine and beer, other drinks to get you in a tizzy include the Rayu Mezcal Mucho Mucho with carrot, saffron syrup, lemon, egg white, and vermouth Blanco and the tequila Floating Hat while Precious Memories will sure to be had with pistachio whiskey and peach. Happy Hour from 4-6 and 10 pm on is the time to come since it is near impossible to sip just one!

Update: Sip poolside or on their dreamy grounds filled with swaying palms, water fountains, grand outdoor fire pits, or just your own room patio. Villa Royale has reconfigured social distance space and does not allow guests to congregate in the bar or common areas. 

High Bar Rooftop at Kimpton Rowan

The freshly revamped Palm Springs downtown area is anchored by the almost 3-year-old Kimpton Rowan Hotel. On the 7th story penthouse pool deck, decompress from real life and catch a desert sunset with a mixologist medley that matches the sunset hues. Specialty drinks include the Chupa-Cobbler ($14) with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, amontillado sherry, lemon, and cinnamon topped with a sugary pineapple slice and the Mezcal tequila Kick Back, Relax combined with lavender, grapefruit, and lime.

Update: While 4 Saints Restaurant is closed on the rooftop, it appears only hotel guests are imbibing  at the hotel.

Shields Date Garden

For 95 years this date farm in Indio has made the Coachella Valley a whole lot sweeter with The Café’s original date shake. Visitors can enjoy shakes at the authentic soda fountain counter made with delicious vanilla ice milk and date crystals (which you can buy at the gift shop) developed in 1936 by the founder Floyd Shields.

Besides tasty date burgers and other date infused dishes, the outdoor patio also serves agua fresca – lime, cucumber, and chia seeds and strawberry horchata, while the local favorite is Chavela made with chilled beer, clamato mix, and fresh lime juice. End with a walk through the 17-acre date farm with 23 handcrafted statues created by Italian artist Trinka that depict the life of Christ.

Update: Open daily. Outdoor seating. Check out The Cafe’s new menu.

Time & Temperature Innovation Kitchen at J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa

Add this dining experience to your culinary bucket list. This secret chef’s table restaurant in the kitchen of the J.W. Marriott in Palm Desert not only dishes out a multicourse meal but sensory explosive cocktails. The Basil Gimlet foams into a perfectly expanding infused aromatic bubble that eventually pops and smokes. Another showstopper drink arrives in a copper Flamingo with a secret mix of Absolut Elyx Vodka and Apricot Brandy topped with lime juice, house-made grenadine, and agave nectar. Book Fridays and Saturdays for this momentous behind the scenes no-set menu.

Update: Reopening August 31, but all other restaurants at the hotel are open.

Bootlegger Tiki

Playful Bootlegger Tiki popped up in the desert a few years ago to excite desert dwellers with kitschy Hawaiian tiki culture and fancy rum-soaked cocktails some complete with cold brew, absinthe, and Mezcal. Bartenders invent new drinks on the regular. The tiny bar with a few booths pumps out fresh-pressed juices and flavorings made in-house.

Start with the Bootlegger classic Pod Thai (white rum, lemongrass, lime, coconut, soda) or powerful drinks that come with an imposed 2-per-person max like Gates of Hell or Donn Beach Zombie made with 3-rum blend, house falernum, lime, grapefruit, grenadine, cinnamon, absinthe, and bitters ($12). Those not imbibing, a Tiki Light section offers up seductive combinations, such as the Pearl of Wisdom with pineapple, lime, passion fruit, cold brew, and macadamia nut gardenia mix.

Update: Temporarily closed.

Melvyns at The Ingleside Inn

While the crowd may be the age of your parents or grandparents, this one of a kind lounge bar has survived since the Rat Pack days. Admire the former much younger celebrity guests on the walls at this old school haunt where Frank Sinatra had his wedding dinner. Sit in his old booth, tip the piano player in the lounge after making a request, and savor the best darn Dirty Martini of your life with stuffed blue cheese olives, of course.

Add the sinful Chocolate Martini with Van Gogh Dutch chocolate vodka, chocolate liqueur, and a filthy cherry to your list. Just make sure to come on Martini Mondays when all Specialty and Well Martinis are $10.

Update: Melvyn’s is currently closed. A limited Melvyn’s menu and full bar offerings are available for guests of Ingleside Inn poolside or on the veranda Friday through Sunday from 10:00 am – 5:00pm.

Babe’s Bar-B-Q & Brewery

In Rancho Mirage, you may spot 25-year-old Lucky Callender working with the brewmaster to create new beers at this retro brewery restaurant. Lucky, the grandson of legendary pie maker and restaurant chain Marie Callender has ignited 17 years of in-house beer brewing originals with some new blends like seasonal Mexican Lager.

Wash down the hickory barbecue with a beer flight with their top-selling Blackfin Lager and Honey Blond Ale. Don’t miss sipping on the Belgian Vanilla Blond and the Palm Springs IPA too. Admire the original watercolor artwork designs of beautiful babes on the beer cans. Lucky found and hired the artist (now in his 80s) who painted the artwork in his father’s original Babe’s Restaurant.

Update: Currently open for dining. Pickup and delivery are also available. 

Azucar Bar at the Sugar High at La Serena Villas

Pass portraits of Frida Kahlo poolside and stop for a tequila flight or blood orange margarita before traipsing up to the second floor Sugar High rooftop lounge boasting an outdoor fireplace and mountain views. This Insta-worthy Boho chic spot comes with fresh cocktails like the Spicy Melon (Mezcal, tequila, watermelon puree, lemon, Aperol, agave nectar) with a ground chili rim and Pamplemousse Sparkle with cucumber vodka, Pamplemousse liquor, Brut rose, grapefruit juice, and house syrup while the décor and outdoor views add to the drool-worthy location. Enhance your happy hour with the watermelon mint feta salad.

Update: The website says they are now open.

Fresh Agave Mexican Bar & Grill

Combining traditional and modern Mexican cuisine, make sure to take an Uber to this Palm Desert cantina because the margaritas really pack a punch. This crowded local spot is known for their strong famous signature Margaritas and offers food and drinks deals at Happy Hour from 3-5 pm. Start with the Guacamole Fiesta (guacamole prepared tableside) and the Fresh Agave Skinny Margarita for a healthier option with less sugar but you may be intrigued by the Spicy Margarita or Pomegranate Margarita with pomegranate liquor. The generous tequila pours are presented in festive grand Margarita glasses that come in even more flavors – mango, peach, strawberry, tamarind, banana, guava, and pina colada.

Update: Dining is available outside and takeout is possible.

Counter Reformation

In a former storage room behind some hedges at Parker Palm Springs, find a wine bar where guests can explore and discover a variety and range of exceptional wines all at the same price. Toast unique selections from obscure locations with classic 70s and 80s tunes to set the mood in this dimly lit 20-seat bar. Reveal your sins post-drinking and clinking at the antique confessional booth that sits at one end while charcuterie, cheese plates, and warm baguettes (half-baked and flown in from Paris) help soak up the vino. Counter Reformation says it best, “A shrine to great wine. After one visit, you will be a convert.”

Update: The Parker Palm Springs estate is closed and may reopen around August 24. 

More Palm Springs Locations we adore:

Cheeky’s – open for outdoor dining

Copley’s – open for patio dining and curbside pickup only

Mr. Lyons and Seymours (vintage bar behind Mr. Lyons) – temporarily suspended

Workshop Kitchen Bar and Restaurant (stylish eatery in a former movie house) – courtyard and patio seating available

Wilma & Frieda for brunch – takeout available at both locations

Draughtsmen – Sadly, they are closed for good, but for the next couple months, Evzin will be running a weekend pop-up restaurant in the space.

Trio Palm Springs – reopened the first week of July with a new menu thanks to the new chef

Tac/Quila – patio space is open

LULU – patio space is open

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge – has an abundance of outdoor space

Hotels to find Great Grub:

The Pink Cabana at Sands Hotel and Spa

Pinzimini at the Westin Mission Hills

Citrus and Palm at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Resort

The Pink Cabana at Sands Hotel and Spa

blueEmber Restaurant at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa

Adobe Grill at La Quinta Resort and Spa

The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs

Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge

 

 

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