tailored to your taste

Bali Wine Bar and Grill
2416 18th Street

Bali is tucked away on the less than bustling 18th Street off busy Broadway. It’s been open for three years and plenty of people don’t know it has a bar. Most of the customers find out about it through word of mouth. And the majority of patrons stop in for the wonderful Balinese food. So why make the trek to this tiny gem now? Well, if the intimate, exotic atmosphere isn’t enough, how about regular wine tastings?

Though the wine selection has always been good and features plenty of local area wines, management hopes by mid-March to begin focusing even more on wine and wine education, in addition to the lunch and dinner menus.

For those so inclined, the owner, Putu, says she has compiled extensive tasting notes on all her wine selections including information on vintage, appellation, varietals composition, production statistics including wine acidity and ph. For others, just a glass of wine and homemade Balinese crab cake might be enough. The bar is tiny, seven chairs and an ottoman. But that’s part of the charm. Can’t afford a trip to the South Seas? Stop by Bali for a tiny taste of perfection.

Golden Bear
2326 K Street

This question was lobbed across the bar one afternoon to the Golden Bear’s famous bartender. “What would you like any readers who have not been to this favorite Midtown bar to know?”

“We’ve got a good crowd, friendly patrons and funny bartenders.”

The cozy spot holds 150 patrons and in the summer expect a long line. They offer movie Mondays. Joe usually picks the title but they’re open to suggestions from customers. A DJ is in residence on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Every second Sunday listen for Alternative Country. Quite popular are the covered porches that give smokers a place to smoke out of the rain or sun. Menu includes salad, sandwiches, appetizers and grand handmade pizzas. Open 3 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. everyday.

Elk Grove Brewery and Restaurant
9085 Elk Grove Blvd

Feel the need to hunker down over a handcrafted beer in a historical setting? Try a amazing Amazon Blond, a strong (8.8 percent alcohol) blond ale or a Big But Blond, big in flavor but blond and light in color or a delicious, according to my companion, Grain Barrel Stout, a dark ale brewed with 9 different malts. Or, now that the weather is getting warmer, opt for a Tropical Ale with extracts of mango and apricot.

Elk Grove Brewery and Restaurant is just a short jaunt down Highway 99 but you can out of town for a bit, get award winning microbrews-cocktails and a great menu selection. Try the award winning garlic bread. The establishment’s cheesy artichoke garlic bread was voted the best in Sacramento by, hum…, another local publication. Sundays and Mondays are $2.50 pint nights.

Brewer Bill Wood brought home the honors from the 25th annual Great American Beer Festival held last September in Colorado. Elk Grove Brewery won a Gold medal for its Otis Alt, German style amber ale, and a Silver medal for its Eagle Pride Pilsner. 2,402 beers were judged in 69 categories with an average of 35 beers per category.

Located in the 1885 General Store building in Elk Grove’s revitalized Old Town, the brewery is open seven days a week and features live music on weekends.

2565 Franklin Boulevard

Cheers is alive and well in Sacramento not Boston, thank you. The television series is long gone but friendliness is still alive at the Franklin Boulevard establishment. On hot summer nights I had often eyed the spot on the way to Gunther’s, but it seemed to never be the right time to stop.

So now it’s a cold, rainy night and we’re hungry and stressed out from a load of weekend work. My companion suggested tonight was the time to check it out.

Ok, it wasn’t a usual night at Cheers. It was a Sunday and Glo’s birthday, (she’s the cook at Cheers) and balloons skittered across the ceiling. Fourteen television sets, four big screens behind the bar, meant everybody had a view of the Kings, or if you prefer pro-rodeo cowboys. Great music offered it’s own diversions. Talk at the bar was friendly. As soon as we got settled into our bar stools our order was taken by the newly minted (three days on the job) bartender.

The birthday buffet was set up and after a short prayer for the hands that made it, the crowd of singles, couples and a few wiggly kids circled the table with plates in hand. I won’t list all the goodies, or detail how good we felt by the time we left … Those Sunday night blues had been dissipated, and I’ll just say the collard greens were the best I’ve ever had.