A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
I’m a big believer that variety is the spice of life. If I could tipple “cocktail flights” for every happy hour and nibble appetizers for every meal, I would be doing a happy dance for the rest of my life.
I still haven’t found a place that has “cocktail flights” on the menu (sharing sips with friends is the next best thing), but I have found a great small bites place just a hop, skip and jump from the office: The Pan.
Located in the restaurant row at 18 E. Cota St., this retro cool place serves comfort food “tapas“: small plates of yummy favorites like chicken pot pie, truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, tater tots, cobb salads, mini burgers and more. The small plates and straightforward atmosphere make this a great place for families as well as anyone else who wants some light bites or a few different tastes to make a meal out of. Everything on the food side of the menu is between $3–$6, so it’s an easy decision to order a few things and share them.
This includes desserts. I don’t usually bother with anything that’s not chocolate, but the Apple Crisp at The Pan is just like how you wished your mama made it!
And of course—I probably should have said this first—the cocktails are fabulous. They have all the modern classics, including Old Fashioneds (featuring Bulleit Bourbon), Sazerac and the Dark and Stormy, among others. They also have a “healthy and organic menu” for cocktails, including Margaritas, Cucumber-Lemonade Chillers (with gin) and my personal favorite, the Citrus & Spice Cocktail featuring jalapeño-infused organic vodka (that counts as a vegetable serving, right?), King’s Ginger liqueur, organic fresh orange juice, grapefruit juice and passion fruit puree.
There is one downside to this place, however. It’s only open Thursday (5–10 p.m.), Friday and Saturday nights (both 6 p.m.–midnight).
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”