Cheers to the crafters of creative concoctions
Great wine is fine and expected in Napa, no question; but sometimes, nothing but a well-crafted cocktail will satisfy a craving. Shaken or stirred, flaming, on the rocks or with a twist, these spots — recommended by Archer Hotel Napa’s in-the-know concierge team — are the best places for cocktails in Napa Valley.
Ca’ Momi Osteria
Downtown Napa’s First Street is home to Ca’ Momi Osteria, serving organic and “obsessively authentic Italian” fare. Its cantinetta not only offers eco-conscious Napa Valley and Italian wines and an onsite nano-brewery but also has a backbar with more than 200 micro-distilled craft spirits from all over the world (including Italy and the Americas). This is the West Coast’s most substantial collection of Amari, Fernet & Bitter Liqueur, so bring your adventurous spirit, along with a thirst for off-the-beaten-path spirits. To try: the house grappa, spirit vodka and Italian-leaning cocktails featuring Amaro — an Italian herbal liqueur served as an after-dinner digestif — and the Sgroppino, blended with lemon gelato, prosecco and house-made, “heartcrafted” vodka.
Cole’s Chop House
For an impressive selection of approximately 170 whiskeys, head over to Cole’s Chop House in the Williams-Keyser building on Napa’s Main Street. One of the best places for cocktails in Napa Valley and a sophisticated steak house that has earned a spot in the 100 Best Steakhouses in America by OpenTable, this restaurant complements its cuisine with award-winning bourbon and whiskey selections. Hand-selected rackhouse flights are a convenient way to try several brands. Or ask its mixologists to craft a seasonal cocktail that aims to please — and delivers.
One of the valley’s prized Japanese fusion restaurants, Morimoto Napa consistently earns high marks for delivering an exceptional experience across the board — the cuisine, the space, the service and the drinks. Alongside beer and sake selections are the specialty cocktails, including a Campesino Caipirinha made with Leblon cachaça, Lillet Blanc, lime and Mumm brut, a Smoke and a Pancake with Santo Mezquila, Ardbeg 10, honey, yuzu (a citrus fruit) and ginger-bonito, and a Casual Encounter — Rain cucumber vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur and lemon. Enjoy your creative cocktail at the bar with delicate appetizers or with your exquisite meal.
New to Napa Valley is NapaSport — a long-anticipated concept in the wine-centric valley. With a large center bar with TV screen after HDTV screen with separate receivers, an authentic white maple gymnasium floor, private booths with their own TVs and much-better-than-bar-food bar food (think elevated hot wings and five cuts of beef with four sauce options), this premium sports bar is carving out its niche rather nicely. Bar menus crafted out of basketball leather? Check. A giant scoreboard, open kitchen, takeout window and specialty cocktails that draw inspiration from professional athlete greats? Check all around. Why not try the Stephen Curry, with Tito’s Vodka, Junmai Sake and blueberry shrub? Or the Serena Williams, with mezcal, grapefruit, lime juice, curaçao and St. Germaine? Need a nibble with your drink? The Randy “Macho Man” Savage — with bacon-infused George Dickel Rye, Amaro Averna and smoked pepper bitters — will satisfy. Sit back, relax with a cocktail and root for your team (or enjoy the company you’re with) in an elevated sports atmosphere.
If sipping artisan cocktails while enjoying locally grown, foraged and fished foods sounds like a good thing, stop in at Torc — one of the best places for cocktails in Napa Valley. On Main Street in Napa, this sophisticated yet relaxed eatery and bar pipes in rock ‘n’ roll, blues and soul — music that livens and energizes. Specialty cocktails include the Collusion Cocktail — vodka, Meyer lemon cordial and yellow chartreuse — and the Last Word — gin, lime, green chartreuse and maraschino. The offered spirits are “happy” and the classic cocktails are spot on. Should you taste the Tempura Asparagus served with lobster mayonnaise and togarashi (i.e., red chili pepper) for happy hour? Yes, you should.
Goose & Gander
Cozy up to the bar at Goose & Gander in St. Helena for some old-school cocktails that’ll take you back. The Coastal Pimm’s Cup has Pimm’s No.1, St. George Terroir gin, lemon, bitters, ginger beer and bay laurel. The Bali Spice Old Fashioned, with Old Forester bourbon, clove, cinnamon, star anise, orange and bitters may remind you of an eccentric aunt, while the Allora Punch — with El Dorado 5-year rum, Angostura 7-year rum, grapefruit, pink peppercorn, cinnamon cordial, lime and bitters — just may be your new favorite cocktail. This public house serves rustic American food and tempting bar bites meant to complement the retro-fresh libations in a relaxed but memorable atmosphere.
The Bistro & Bar at Auberge
A delectable part of Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford is the resort’s Bistro & Bar. An inventive, seasonal cocktail menu includes the summertime favorite Auberge Margarita and Earth Month Blood Orange-Meyer Lemon Drop, plus the autumnal Pumpkin Seoul Patch Cocktail, with pumpkin water, Hwayo 17˚(a Korean rice soju), Drambuie, half-and-half and a dusting of pumpkin powder and pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy your well-crafted cocktail of choice — along with sharable bites, artisan cheese, perhaps a selection from the raw bar or the grill — on the wraparound deck with fantastic Napa Valley views or inside, fireside. Insider tip: Don’t miss the sunset while sipping at one of the best places for cocktails in Napa Valley.
Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar at Archer Hotel Napa
Atop Archer Hotel Napa is downtown’s premier rooftop bar, with panoramic views that pair well with the house-made cocktails crafted by the talented Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar mixologists. Relax in comfortable lounge seating among potted olive trees or next to a fire pit while savoring the elevated American food and drink from celebrated chef Charlie Palmer and executive chef Jeffery Russell. Spice things up with Blistered Shishito Peppers served with lime and sea salt, or try the specialty Deviled Eggs with pimento cheese and tasso. Accompany your fare with the CP Old Fashioned — a tasty way to whet your whistle, with WhistlePig 10-year rye whiskey, orange oleo-saccharum, raspberry and aromatic bitters. Or explore the Dark + Stormy, made with Mount Gay rum, Underberg, pineapple, ginger, lime and ginger beer.
When it's time to visit the best places for cocktails in Napa Valley, get ready to raise a glass: To new adventures — bottoms up, cocktail lovers!