People & Places picks

SN&R writers highlight some winners, including the best spot for a cloak-and-dagger meet-up.

Outside the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento.

Outside the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento.

Photo by Rojer CC BY-SA 3.0

Best place for an anniversary dinner

The Firehouse Restaurant

Sometimes you just have take the time to commemorate that important date in your life with a little lamb loin and a bottle of fine wine. Maybe it’s been 15 years since you said “never again” to polyester fabrics. Maybe it’s been 20 years since you and your dog switched bodies. Maybe it’s been 157 years since the Great Flood of 1862, without which we would never know how much water the Sacramento Valley could actually hold. (It’s a lot.) Or maybe you’ve been married for 50 years. Whatever the anniversary, the Firehouse Restaurant offers a beautiful, elegant dining space perfect for those looking to celebrate their special day. As long as you’re not bothered by the close proximity to the river, settle in and raise your glass to life, love and the looming threat of another flood that could irreparably damage the greater Sacramento area.

1112 Second St.; (916) 442-4772; R.M.

Best radio host

Pat Martin

If the heavy metal band Tesla hadn’t had Pat Martin in its corner, ready to jump in and facilitate their reunion, who knows what would have happened? Maybe Tesla wouldn’t have continued on its path to continued success, but we don’t have to worry about that, because Martin, the longtime radio host of 98 Rock, did get the band back together.

Martin’s voice and playlists direct listeners through the sounds of their workday. The radio host and prolific local personality is also a musician in his own right, informed by his interviews and countless encounters with some of the biggest names, most rocking performers and iconic characters in the rock ’n’ roll world.

As if that weren’t enough, now he’s got a second Best of Sacramento title. In 2014, SN&R readers voted him the Best Radio Voice, ahead of Capital Public Radio’s Beth Ruyak. After three decades of dedication to the audio broadcasting, Martin’s reaping the much-deserved rewards of serving Sacramentans for years.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, KRXQ, 98.5 FM. M.M.

Best person to follow on Twitter

Arnie States

If you miss the Rob, Arnie and Dawn the way it was, you have to catch them elsewhere. The trio from KRXQ’s former morning show split in 2015, with Rob Williams and Dawn Rossi continuing on through Rob, Anybody and Dawn. Fans of Arnie States’ candid, funny and sometimes downright offensive reflections have followed him to his web podcast, The Arnie States Show, live weekdays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. States is also invading Twitter, where you can catch his NFL conspiracy theories and rants about George Strait getting snubbed at the Academy Awards.

Twitter: @ArnieShow; M.Z.

Best place for a secret meeting

The Back Door Lounge

Old Sacramento is changing, but one place no one wants to change is The Back Door Lounge.

With its half-concealed alley entrance invoking the speakeasys of yesteryear, this cool, dim drinking cave has the feel of a joint the Rat Pack would have picked for their hardest partying. Its old Edwardian mirrors are laced in magenta lights casting a hellish haze on crimson wallpaper from another era.

The Back Door Lounge has been owned for more than 40 years by Gail Dick, whose father was also a working-class bar-runner for decades. She has stubbornly kept her old town hideaway casual, quirky and unapologetically geared toward neighborhood characters. In the afternoons, young individualists drink alongside the tough, time-hardened faces of a Sacramento fading from memory. At night, the lounge is soaked in raucous nostalgia, with singers hitting Frank Sinatra numbers and the occasional group of friends drunkenly bellowing Billy Joel hits at the top of their lungs.

The lounge is unmarred by “branding” efforts and trends, and many who love it just keep its existence to themselves. So it’s no surprise it was voted the best place for a secret meeting.

1112 Firehouse Alley; (916) 442-5751; STA