It’s posh, it’s sexy and it’s in Riverside. This bar is a lustrous gem with swanky swigs and an aperitive cuisine. The mood is tailored for those ready to unwind and those eager to mingle. It’s the place to have an artisan martini and a flirty exchange.
Lounge 33, 3639 Riverside Plaza Dr., Riverside, (951) 784-4433; www.loungethirtythree.com.
BEST DYKE BAR
The V.I.P. Nightclub in Riverside
Madonna’s music is eternal—and forever on the playlist (along with Basement Jaxx) at Riverside’s premier alternative lifestyle hot spot. The bartenders know how to pour here—and this place literally (look on the roof) flies the rainbow flag proudly.
The V.I.P. Nightclub, 3673 Merrill Ave., Riverside, (951) 784-2370; www.vip-nightclub.com.
BEST JAZZ CLUB
Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue in Claremont
It’s just the place for any classy cool cat to reside. With basslines from here to the Savoy and a rattling high hat that never seems to cease, this is where Satchmo would have retired to.
Hip Kitty, 502 W. 1st St. HYPERLINK "" \t "_parent" , Claremont, HYPERLINK "" \t "_parent" (909) 447-6700; www.hipkittyjazz.com.
BEST PICKUP BAR
Killarney’s in Riverside
It’s the pub that’s quite right for any born-and-bred boozehound. They’ve got copious amounts of liquor and enough legit shamrock brews to satisfy any Irish village drunkard. The waitresses sport little plaid kilts, but we know you’d step over half-a-dozen scantily clad ladies just to get to a pint of Guinness. Sláinte!
Killarney’s Restaurant and Irish Pub, 3639 Riverside Plaza Dr. Ste 532, Riverside, (951) 682-2933; www.killarneys.com.
BEST DANCE CLUB
Brandin‘ Iron in San Bernardino
This Corral is more than just O.K. There ain’t much hang fire at the B.I with new promos every night of the week. So kick on your snakeskin dancin‘ boots, order your happy sally straight up and get down at this all-fired Tennessee honky tonk.
Brandin‘ Iron Saloon & Dance Hall, 320 S. “E” St., San Bernardino, (909) 888-7388; www.brandinironsaloon.com.
BEST CLUB DJ
The electro/house rhythms that have been getting your booty shakin‘ at certain Club Sevilla nights have been coming from Luvtek. Looking for this DJ’s M.I.A. or Justice remixes? Get your butt on the dancefloor then!
Check out what all the dance music hysteria’s all about at www.myspace.com/luvtekmusic.
BEST STRIP CLUB
Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in Redlands
A full bar, $2 steaks every Tuesday and a bit of T ‘n’ A—Okay I’m under-exaggerating . . . There’s enough long-legged ponies at this club to kick-start Hefner’s heart and make even Mötley Crüe blush—maybe.
Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, 1331 W. Colton Ave., Redlands, (909) 798-6330; www.hustlerclubs.com.
The Royal Falconer in Redlands
It resembles a pub straight outta that place with bad teeth and worse weather. . . Yep, yep, foggy olde London. The Falconer features English grub such as shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash, and it goes without saying that this is where tankards can mind their pints and quarts.
The Royal Falconer British Pub & Restaurant, 106 Orange St., Redlands, (909) 307-8913; www.royalfalconerca.com.
If you’re talking the best out of five, Omaha Jack’s is rockin‘ aces over kings. With super-bomb barbeque and Thirsty Thursdaze, don’t bother ordering beers to go. Keep it simple and double up on Bradley Nowell and order a 64-oz. growler for the road.
Omaha Jack’s, 11837 Foothill Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 477-4377; www.omahajacks.com.
BEST COCKTAIL BAR
The Vault Martini Bar in Redlands
As stiff as a strong martini but nowhere near as dry. The Vault is a cool place to enjoy a cocktail, live music and spinning by DJ Hobo. But don’t forget to drink with your pinky out.
The Vault Martini Bar, 14 E. Vine St, Redlands, (909) 798-2399;
BEST WINE BAR
dba256 Gallery Wine Bar in Pomona
If the red and white is your thing (no, not Budweiser—the other red and white) dba256 boast 200 varieties of the corked stuff. Featuring contemporary artwork, this is unquestionably the place to sip on a bottle . . . or two.
dba256 Gallery Wine Bar, 256 S. Main St., Pomona, (909) 623-7600; www.dba256.com.
BEST GAY BAR
The Lark in San Bernardino
Another alternative lifestyle bar that gets high marks in the IE, The Lark’s got cheap drinks, line dancing and let’s not forget Macho Mondays. Don’t forget $3 you-call-its every Friday night.
The Lark, 917 Inland Center Dr., San Bernardino, (909) 884-8770; www.the-lark.com, www.myspace.com/thelarksb.
BEST DIVE BAR
Kicks Sports Pub
According to new owner Rick Schneider, Kicks was the kind of bar that attracted a “rough” crowd—the kind of place that seemed to attract cops every night. Now that Rick’s in charge, this friendly neighborhood pub has retained its “dive bar” cool but lost its unruly reputation. Now, with two happy hours, a full bar, karaoke and an every-Sunday pool tournament, Kicks is now the place you can peacefully drink your troubles away—and not worry about trouble finding you.
Kicks Sports Pub, 16788 Arrow Blvd., Fontana, (909) 350-1160.
BEST KARAOKE BAR
Redlands Underground in Redlands
Two dollar wells and domestic! Nothing like a little liquid courage to get you belting the high notes. Redlands Underground has a reputation for cheap libations and delectable appetizers which, in the company of high spirited wannabe “Idols,” is a necessary pre-requisite for a great time.
Redlands Underground, 19 E. Citrus Ave. Ste. 103, Redlands, (909) 798-1500; www.myspace.com/redlandsunderground.
BEST IRISH BAR
Liam’s Irish Pub in Colton
The people keep coming back to Liam’s. Is it the cold ones, the live music or the tempting bar food? Some say it’s a trifecta effect but others might say it’s the party. Patrons know how to throw a couple back, shake to music and have a damn good Saturday night.
Liam’s Irish Pub, 1087 S. Mount Vernon Ave., Colton, (909) 422-9900; www.myspace.com/liamsirishpubcolton.
BEST SMOKING BAR
Hard Hat Sports Bar in Norco
Hard Hat is ground zero for the avid smoker. It’s the place to smoke a dirty, chug some brewskies and gawk at your barely-dressed waitress. There aren’t many places in SoCal where you can smoke indoors and watch a lingerie party unfold while drinking with your buddies.
Hard Hat Sports Bar, 1950 S. Four Wheel Dr., Norco (951) 734-0276; www.hardhatssportsbar.com.
BEST HAPPY HOUR
Tequila Hoppers Bar and Grill in Upland
Half-off drinks is sure to provoke some happiness. At Tequila Hoppers the bargain makes it easy to throw back one too many. Not too worry, the happy hour menu also helps to take the edge off the Purple Hooters and Cactus Coolers.
Tequila Hoppers, 60 N. Mountain Ave., Upland, (909) 985-9114; www.tequilahoppers.com.
The Sire in Riverside
Can’t go wrong with a place with the best jukebox around. Known for its stiff (and cheap) drinks and an old-man bar reputation, The Sire’s where you want to be where the prime rib dinners are affordable, $20 will get you drunk and your favorite Steely Dan tune is just a buck away.
The Sire, 6440 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, (951) 683-7473.