Truss and Twine’s head bartender takes us through the making of one of his favorite off-the-menu cocktails.
Zoe Meyers/The Desert Sun
Much to the delight of designated drivers everywhere, the Buzz bus is back.
Starting Jan. 10, the free trolley service will start services in downtown Palm Springs through a partnership with the SunLine Transit Agency.
The Buzz will operate Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. The buses should go by Buzz stops about every 20 minutes.
This is good news if you’re looking to get your drink on. With a little planning (and patience), the Buzz can be a safe and convenient way to get around town.
More: Palm Springs area restaurants and bars that opened in 2018
More: Palm Springs area restaurants and bars that closed in 2018
Here are a few ideas for bar crawl routes via the Buzz bus in downtown Palm Springs:
If you want cheap beer
The Draughtsman, in Palm Springs, is one of the recent projects designed by Chris Pardo, Jan. 19, 2017. (Photo: Zoe Meyers/The Desert Sun)
Start: Billy Reed’s (Stop 4000)
Most people know this storied spot for its old-school decor and epic portion sizes, but there’s a cozy bar with a few stools and TVs that are perfect for sharing a cold one. (1800 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-325-1946; billyreedspalmsprings.com)
More: Palm Springs restaurateur Joe Hanna remembered as the man who knew everybody
Draughtsman (Stop 4000)
I highly recommend this sports bar for day drinking because they’ve got bags, horseshoes and other games on the patio, which are always more fun a few beer in. OK so it’s not super cheap, but it’s a great place to pre-game (pun intended). (1501 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-507-1644; draughtsmanpalmsprings.com)
More: With Draughtsman, Arrive hotel expands footprint in Palm Springs
Next: Shamrocks Irish Pub (Stop 4006)
This Irish pub just opened in the old Hair of the Dog spot on Palm Canyon Drive. There’s a whole line of TVs, and the bar staff is first-rate. Plus, the interior opens right up to the patio. (238 N. Palm Canyon Dr.) *Note: The Buzz does not stop here on Thursdays.
More: Trying to find the popular watering hole Hair of the Dog? It’s moving from downtown to a new spot later this year
End: Shanghai Reds Bar & Grill (Stop 4022)
After a summer renovation, this hot spot behind Fisherman’s Market & Grill is now open with an outdoor stage for the Smooth Brothers on Thursdays and Barry Baughn Blues Band on Fridays and Saturdays. (235 S Indian Canyon Dr.; 760-322-9293; fishermans.com)
If you want a good cocktail
The Game Changer at Truss & Twine (Photo: Courtesy of Truss & Twine/Special to DESERT magazine)
Start: Wexler’s Deli (Stop 4000)
At the classic Jewish deli, which is serving up breakfast and lunch daily, there are exclusive menu items to try, like The All American Snowcone: a red, white and blue ice cocktail with “booze FTW (for the win).” (1551 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-507-1650; wexlersdeli.com)
More: Wexler’s Deli has arrived in Palm Springs. Here’s what you should order off the new menu
Next: Bootlegger Tiki (Stop 4002)
Get here before 9 p.m. to beat the tourist rush for Tiki-inspired drinks that come in toucan glasses with pink umbrellas and colorful twisty straws. Try a dealer’s choice punch bowl, where you pick the spirit and the bar team does the rest. (1101 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-318-4154; bootleggertiki.com)
More: Fernet is not for the faint of heart
Next: Truss & Twine (Stop 4003)
Most people sip a Southside at Truss & Twine, but the Game Changer is where it’s at. This gin cocktail mixes lime, cucumber, sugar, onion brine, sea salt and celery bitters for a concoction that truly is – a game changer. (Truss & Twine: 800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; 760-459-3451; trussandtwine.com)
More: Did you know Palm Springs bartenders have their own secret handshakes?
End: Seymour’s (Stop 4012)
I remember the first time a bartender at this moody speakeasy inside Mr. Lyons Steakhouse convinced me to try the Oaxacan Brunch. Made with mezcal, lime juice, sage simple syrup and egg white, it’s a delicious surprise in a glass. (233 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-892-9000; seymoursps.com)
More: Raise a glass: Sparkling drinks for New Year’s
If you’re a wine lover
Christine Soto, owner of Dead or Alive bar, is bringing a wine festival to Palm Springs, featuring all California-based winemakers. (Photo: Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun)
Start: Birba (Stop 4004)
Sip a glass under the lights at this chic outdoor venue. Choose from Italian selections that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s pasta, pizza or charcuterie. (622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-327-5678; birbaps.com)
Next: Zin American Bistro (Stop 4008)
Mindy Reed’s mimosas are the best around, probably because she uses a delightful Champagne that pops with green apple – indicative of the award-winning wine list she’s curated for years. (198 S. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-322-6300; zinamericanbistro.com) *Note: The Buzz does not stop here on Thursdays.
More: Rebel wine lovers are uncorking a new kind of vino in Palm Springs
Next: Spencer’s Restaurant (Stop 4009)
Ask local industry veterans which wine list they respect, and Spencer’s Restaurant inevitably gets a nod. Wine and Spirits Manager Andre de Carteret’s list is California heavy, but he says “there’s so many gems on there (like Bordeaux and Burgundy stunners) if you take the time to look.” (701 W. Baristo Rd.; 760-327-3446; spencersrestaurant.com)
End: Dead or Alive (Stop 4012)
If Palm Springs’ older, political elite hold court in Spencer’s, the city’s young professionals gather within the secrecy of Dead or Alive. Owner Christine Soto curates a forward-thinking selection of wine that’s always changing. I tell her to pour me whatever she recommends. (150 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-864-7193; deadoralivebar.com)
More: A new wine festival is coming to Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, and it’s going to be a party
If you want to karaoke
The bar at the Amigo Room inside Ace Hotel and Swim Club (Photo: Courtesy photo)
Start: Amigo Room (Stop 4013)
Every Tuesday night at 9 p.m., locals and tourists alike gather in this dimly lit bar at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club for a sing-along soiree. There’s even a few regulars always parked in the front row to take on the likes of Elton John. (701 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-325-9900; acehotel.com)
End: El Jefe (Stop 023)
Miss Rusty Waters hosts karaoke every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., but you can drop by this cantina at Saguaro Palm Springs any time. I recommend it as a mid-day margarita spot because the bartenders don’t look at you funny. Plus, they’ll change the TVs to sporting events if you ask. (1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-323-1711; thesaguaro.com)
If you want to dance
Tommi Rose and The Playgirls perform at Toucans Tiki Lounge, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo: Zoë Meyers/The Desert Sun)
Start: East Arenas Road (Stop 4022)
Bust a move on Arenas any day of the week. Chill Bar and Hunters have the most exciting dance floors. Plus, karaoke happens at Chill on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and at Hunters on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (Chill Bar: 217 E. Arenas Rd.; 760-327-1079; chillbarpalmsprings.com; Hunters: 302 E. Arenas Rd.; 760-323-0700; hunterspalmsprings.com)
End: Toucans Tiki Lounge (Stop 4029)
The beloved gay nightclub and bar in Palm Springs hosts the city’s longest continuously running drag show, Tommi Rose & The Playgirls, as well as popular after-parties for the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Cinema Diverse. Plus, the dance floor is almost always poppin’. (2100 N. Palm Canyon Dr.; 760-416-7584; toucanstikilounge.com)
More: Palm Springs restaurateurs purchase Toucans; will ‘stay true’ to spirit of beloved gay nightclub
Kristin Scharkey is the editor of DESERT magazine and community content editor at The Desert Sun. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kscharkey.
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