HOTTEST COFFEE DUDE
Zack Strunk, Stell Coffee & Tea
Stell Coffee & Tea in Redlands is known for their freshly ground coffee, gluten-free deli sandwiches and a variety of beers for non-coffee drinkers. With a menu this great, what could be more appealing about this place? Sometimes what’s off the menu is more alluring, and we’ve come to find out that barista Zack Strunk fits the bill. Like most employees at Stell, Strunk is very nice and respectful towards customers, which increases his hotness, tenfold. Handsome guys with great attitudes are hard to come by, so when you get the chance some early morning, visit Strunk during his shift at Stell to see what all the fuss is about. (V.B.)
1580 Barton Rd., Redlands, (909) 792-4700.
CUTEST BARISTA CHICK
Samantha Jacinto, Dripp Coffee Bar
Dripp is an adorable, retro coffee bar and ice cream parlor in Chino Hills; popular amongst locals for their delicious ice cream sandwiches and coffee beverages. Working behind the counter at Dripp is barista Samantha Ortega Jacinto; sleek brown hair, fair skin and a smile that’ll knock any guy to his knees. With a unique face, radiating with joy and charisma, Samantha fits in perfectly with the retro vibe of Dripp. Her cuteness and kindness are inviting, and makes anyone’s visit to her coffee bar worthwhile. (V.B.)
13855 City Center Dr., #3015, Chino Hills, (909) 628-6384; dripp.com.
Zachary Morrison, Olive Avenue Market
Some of the best flavors in the Inland Empire come out of Olive Avenue Market, popular for their breakfast food, sandwiches and pastries. With Zacchary Morrison as chef, creations here are loved by locals as well as folks who are just passing through. With homemade food and fresh ingredients, Morrison’s creations are a healthy and simple alternative to your typical restaurant or market. The Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is a guest favorite, as are the Avocado, Egg and Bacon Breakfast Tacos. As a historic Redlands landmark, this is one place worth visiting, with an exceptional chef to boot. (V.B.)
530 W. Olive Ave., Redlands, (909) 792-8823; oliveavenuemarket.com.
Tarae McCarver, Liam’s Irish Pub
Liam’s Irish Pub seems to be one of the Inland Empire’s most adored pubs. Offering great appetizers and a good selection on tap, this snug little pub is great for hanging out. Contributing to Liam’s success is its wonderful staff specifically Tarae McCarver. Offering up lightning-fast service even on the busiest nights, McCarver consistently greets customers with a warm welcome and great attitude. Being a bartender is not easy and to have such a positive demeanor under so much pressure definitely deserves recognition. If you are ever in the neighborhood, visit Tarae for some great service to go along with a delicious cold brew. (V.B.)
1089 S. Mount Vernon Ave., Colton, (909) 422-9900; liamsirishpub.com.
Wilson Turley, The Lounge 22
With a French-American theme, The Lounge 22 has gone to great lengths to ensure that guests are comfortable and well informed. As a certified sommelier, Wilson Turley is a key element in ensuring that guests have what they need when visiting The Lounge. Turley’s knowledge is extensive in both wines and beers, which is great for those unsure of what to order with their meals. Being a fairly new restaurant, The Lounge 22 is impressive, and having a well-trained sommelier makes it that much better; offering guests a great menu, while also expanding their knowledge on good wine and local craft beers. (V.B.)
22 E. Vine St., Redlands, (909) 793-1593; thelounge22.com.
Shaina Turian, Eureka! Burger
If you love crazy creations like sweet potato fries, fig marmalade or jalapeno fried egg burgers and a waitress worth more than a gold rush, Eureka! Burger is the establishment for your entire family. Shainia Turian gets the most votes for her friendly charm, speedy service and knowing the menu more than Niels Bohr knew an electron. This is saying something, considering the sheer magnitude of ingredients there are to choose from. Thanks to Turian and the cooking her hamburger haven is known for, Eureka! Burger is a genuine sapphire in Redlands’ culinary crown. (J.D.)
345 W. Pearl Ave. #130, Redlands, (909) 335-5700; www.eurekarestaurantgroup.com.
Mark Dunham, Redlands Underground
A busser is either your ally or your enemy, capable of crushing your good time with an impact slightly similar to Thor’s hammer. Thankfully Mark Dunham, the most badass busser ever to stalk The Underground, is on your side. When bottles pile up and glasses start to clutter your table faster than you can knock your shots back, Dunham does the dangerous deed of gathering all of those dead men before somebody gets hurt. With a scintillating selection of beers, a truly legendary jukebox and a capable array of friendly bartenders, The Underground is a fine bar and affordable entertainment. (J.D.)
19 E. Citrus Ave., Redlands, (909) 798-1500; www.redlandsunderground.com.
Historically famous for its sprawling groves of orange trees, gorgeous, sunny weather and more than a dozen beautiful public parks, Redlands also boasts one of the finest institutions in Southern California, the University of Redlands. Because of the college town atmosphere there is an atmosphere of celebration that intensifies after finals, but we can all benefit from the bars, restaurants, coffee shops, clubs and pool halls Redlands has for responsible youth to properly enjoy. Despite being more than a hundred years old, this city is still on the cutting edge of cool, and Southern California benefits from it. (J.D.)
(909) 798-7500; www.cityofredlands.org.
We live in an age of dilapidated strip malls and destitute places of entertainment, despite the fact that after a hard week’s work we just want our right to party. Thanks to the combination of college kids and an art and music scene better than anything in L.A., Downtown Redlands is where it’s at for playing billiards, eviscerating victuals or just sampling the libations. Replete with many square blocks of privately owned, thriving local businesses, shops that won’t bore you and dozens of unique, legendary bars that will awe you, this downtown is where your next fun time should be. (J.D.)
1 State St., Redlands, (909) 798-7629; www.cityofredlands.org/Downtown.
Brick to Ya Face
More than a blog and beyond a website, www.bricktoyaface.com is the place for finding shining new talent of every type from spoken word performers, hip-hop musicians, stand up comics to DJs that spin, program or just rave. In the past Brick to Ya Face has masterminded successful productions such as D.I.Y. and Shut the F#ck Up!, but the best part are interviews with new and veteran artists including J-Bizness, Curtiss King and Dre Biggity. Don’t miss Common Ground every Sunday at The Vibe in Riverside, it’s the reason Brick to Ya Face is the best booker in the business. (J.D.)
BEST CELEBRITY SPOTTING
The Glass House
Free parking, convenient location and billions of bodacious bands guarantee the stars will always shine in or around the venue known as The Glass House, located in the thriving metropolis of Pomona. The list of groups that have played here is long including Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, The Horrors, Social Distortion, Minus the Bear, The Doves and VNV Nation, to name just a scarce few. These celebrities usually like to keep it low-key when they socialize before their performance, so pay attention by the bars and record stores near The Glass House . . . someone famous might be revving themselves up for the show. (J.D.)
200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us.
BEST OUTDOOR WEDDING SPOT
If you are going to get married, do it someplace wonderful like the Falkner Winery. Located in the majestic natural landscape of Temecula, this is the place to tell your loved one you’ll stay with them forever, after sampling as many of the fine vintages you can enjoy at this wine enthusiast’s paradise (including their own home-grown Bordeaux Style Red Wine, “The Meritage.”) The Pinnacle is available for fine dining, gourmet-style and the prices won’t make you want to run away and elope. Classes, tours and tastings are also available, so don’t wait until your dating days are over before you visit. (J.D.)
40620 Calle Contento, Temecula, (951) 676-8231; www.falknerwinery.com.
BEST GARDEN TOURS
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens
If you haven’t toured a garden, you don’t know what it’s like to be Adam. Take a date to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and they just might fall in love because this place has 6,000+ native plants, flowers, trees, shrubs and other California flora to help everyone get back to nature. Located in Claremont, this privately-funded, non-profit Eden offers classes, guided tours, a grow-native nursery and a plethora of events for the botanist in all of us. The Conservation Program also hosts a multitude of wildlife if you enjoy partying with animals when you aren’t playing with plants. (J.D.)
1500 N. College Ave., Claremont, (909) 625-8767; www.rsabg.org.
BEST HOTEL TO SNEAK A SWIM IN
The Mission Inn
More than a hotel, far from just a collection of restaurants, world famous for nearly a hundred years, The Mission Inn is where royalty ventures to wine, dine and rest wealthy. What’s great for the rest of us is that this California landmark is spacious enough to roam in without getting arrested as long as you are polite about it. Be confident, strip to a swimsuit, order something at the bar and hang out by the pool. Jumping in will eventually seem natural, especially after enough margaritas from Las Campanas or an exceptional vintage from 54 Degrees at Duane’s. (J.D.)
3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (888) 447-9943; www.themissioninn.com.
BEST NON-WORK PLACE FOR DOING YOUR COMPUTER WORK
Dripp Coffee Bar
Some coffee chains aren’t conducive to a studying environment, especially if they have spotty Internet service and an interior that resembles a federal penitentiary. Dripp Coffee Bar’s spacious interior is replete with industrial aesthetics, vintage designs, meditative atmosphere and plenty of seating for the whole classroom. This company knows how to appeal to hard-studying students by offering flowing free Wi-Fi and a menu that includes custom-crafted blends from around the globe, genuine Turkish coffee (it’s the Guinness Stout of java), a massive selection of teas, and deliciously delectable ice creams when all of that learning has left you feeling down. (J.D.)
13855 City Center Dr., #3015, Chino Hills, (909) 628-6384; www.dripp.com.
BEST CAR SHOW
Route 66 Rendezvous
In 1990, the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau decreed that the City of San Bernardino needed a completely cool car show, because that’s what Route 66 Rendezvous is; completely cool. The annual Route 66 Rendezvous is more than just a reason to admire miles of gleaming, beautiful automobiles containing gorgeous engines that gleam with barely constrained mechanical horsepower; it’s a public display of community pride and local entrepreneurs. Aside from incredible selections of street food there are also a few contests, like the Model Car contest, if you prefer your vehicles tiny yet terrific. (J.D.)
1955 S. Hunts Ln., San Bernardino, (909) 891-1151; www.route-66.org.
BEST POOL HALL
Stix Billiards Sports Bar & Grill
Rancho Cucamonga has a pool playing culture that is as fierce as it is unsung, and Stix Billiards Sports Bar & Grill is the place to either bring your best game or improve the way you play. More than 25 pool tables of various lengths and widths are here to entertain you, as well as a great selection of beers, a rich selection of American bar food (including a Stix Burger that’s done just right) and tournaments and events to either watch or compete in. This pretty pool place has class, so don’t be afraid to bring a date. (J.D.)
7985 Vineyard Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 989-5020; www.mystixbilliards.com.
BEST WI-FI FRIENDLY PLACE
Home Gardens Library
Open all day to the public with plenty of open seating, a calm, studious atmosphere and flowing free Wi-Fi for all, the Riverside County Home Gardens Library is a paradise of learning in a natural setting similar to a Disney flick with blue skies, puffy white clouds and rolling hills of lush, emerald grass. But if you have to stay in and study, the better your internet the faster you’ll be done, which is why this place is the prime location for cheap, reliable service. Mondays and Tuesdays are your best days, since the library is open until 8pm. (J.D.)
3785 Neece St., Corona (951) 279-2148; www.rivlib.info/home-gardens-library.
BEST COMIC BOOK STORE
A Shop Called Quest
If your daily dose of adventure doesn’t include a tantalizing trip to a comic book shop, your courage has no mettle, sirs and madams. Fortunately for every traveler, Claremont’s own A Shop Called Quest is here for all to enjoy. This place has classics like old-skool Judge Dredd (back when 2000 AD seemed futuristic) and popular heroes (Spider-Man, Thor, Superman, Captain America, Batman, et al.), plus t-shirts, movie posters, costumed crime-fighter paraphernalia and more. This place is perfect for any traveler thanks to its convenient downtown location and Wednesday is Comic Book Day, you haven’t lived until you’ve bought an issue to celebrate. (J.D.)
101 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont, (909) 624-1829; www.ashopcalledquest.com.
BEST TATTOO STUDIO
Empire Tattoo, Upland
For more than 20 years the alternative, outlaw, adventurous, experimental or straight-up hardcore have ended up at Empire Tattoo to get ink. When it’s time to make such a serious, life-enhancing decision, go to the experts at Empire Tattoo where people know how to permanently etch and dye bleeding flesh. Now that I’ve scared you, rest easy knowing that the friendly experts at Empire Tattoo are experts who know how to sterilize and clean as well as inform, so ask as many questions as it takes to choose the right tattoo for you. (J.D.)
2176 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland, (909) 985-8889; www.empire-tattoo.com.
BEST PLACE TO GET A PIERCING/BODY MODIFICATION
Laughing Buddha Body Piercing
If you are going to pay someone to punch a hole into you and insert something that isn’t biological, you don’t want to go to a filthy back alley where if it isn’t rusty, it’s crusty. Laughing Buddha Body Piercing is the clean, professional location for every type of cosmetic alteration you require. The people who work here are skilled surgeons, ready to assist you when it comes to the decision, the installation and the not-to-be neglected after care. Their website also has an online store if you like to look or buy something pretty to have firmly attached later. (J.D.)
2176 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland, (909) 981-2877; www.laughingbuddhatattoo.com.
California State University, San Bernardino
The primary reason why San Bernardino is one of the coolest college towns around, California State University is a modern institutional learning facility boasting more than 437,000 students, 44,000 staff and faculty, plus 23 campuses so everyone can have access to a better education. Far from being an ivy-encrusted tower of ivory only a millionaire could go to, CSUSB has a diverse student body comprised of races, colors, creeds and socioeconomic backgrounds which truly represent California. Many of the state’s leaders, lawyers and business successes got their start at CSUSB, and with a tuition that’s realistically affordable everyone can make it. (J.D.)
5500 University Pkwy., San Bernardino, (909) 537-5000; www.csusb.edu.
Riverside Art Museum
We could all use a philosophical infusion of artistic appreciation, so when you need culture the Riverside Art Museum is here for you, offering exhibitions that include inventive photography, stimulating video, modern sculpture and painting in every style that can be put to canvas or otherwise. Students here are trained to have solid skills as well as vision, which is why the museum leads the lineage in the world of contemporary art. They also offer classes to children and adults who feel the need to have the skills to create, so show up if you want to look or learn. (J.D.)
3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, (951) 684-7111; www.riversideartmuseum.org.
BEST DAY SPA
Glen Ivy Hot Springs
The therapeutic waters beneath the Santa Ana Mountains, which first attracted visitors in the gold rush days, have operated as the Glen Ivy Hot Springs since the 1880s. Glen Ivy today boasts an extensive complex of pools, botanical gardens and mineral baths, and its spa treatments include the red-clay Club Mud, the Lomi Lomi “Loving Hands” massage and a full-body moisturizing treatment known as The Grotto. Cabaña rentals and a Mediterranean café make it easy to spend an entire day here. (D.J.)
25000 Glen Ivy Rd., Corona, (888) GLEN-IVY; www.glenivy.com.
BEST TANNING SALON
HB Mobile Tanning
As a former lifeguard, Heather Blunk always appreciated a good tan, but a precancerous lesion taught her firsthand about sunbathing risks. She initially turned to spray tanning for health reasons, but the results ignited a passion that led to HB Mobile Tanning. Lesser companies have left tanners looking like John Boehner at a Syracuse game, but Heather always uses top products and just the right amount of spray for natural-looking color. Gather friends for a spray tan party as it helps drop the price. (D.J.)
Riverside, (909) 576-2416; www.hbmobiletanning.com.
BEST HAIR EXTENSIONS
Shear Vault Hair Studio
If you’re a beauty buff, your style changes with the seasons, hair, makeup and clothes. You may be able to buy new outfits and new makeup, but sometimes waiting for that hair to grow—for a particular style—is just not an option. Shear Vault Hair Studio is ready to help in this department. Nancy Britton’s experienced team of professional hairstylists can help style any trendy cuts or styles, and match any length you need. The salon is a certified provider for Donna Bella hair extensions and hair-straightening Brazilian Blowout treatments. Come on, get your hair did. (A.B.)
2218 Golden Ave., San Bernardino, (909) 474-9336; www.shearvault.com.
The Wax Lounge
The extensive service menu includes wacky waxes like the “Pre-Sex & the City,” the “Feel’n a Lil Frenchy Ooh-La-La” and the “Pink Cheeks Booty Cleansing Facial”, but there’s no guessing what the “Bling-Kini” Vajazzling entails. The Wax Lounge even caters to men who need a little work around their “Seabiscuit” (their word, not ours). The “Manzilian Bikini Wax” deforests the entire male genitalia—yes, including those—for a “breathtaking” sight Dr. Evil endorsed in Austin Powers. The Wax Lounge does it all, but we recommend skipping the Facebook update about your Manzilian. (D.J.)
6338 Brockton Ave., Riverside, (951) 323-1011; www.waxlounge.net.
BEST HAIR SALON
Shear Vault Hair Studio
Nancy Britton’s popular hair studio is ready to meet any styling need. Her experienced team of professional hairstylists can recommend trendy cuts, treat damaged hair and provide superior waxing and hair coloring services. The hairstylists also know how to listen when customers already know the cut they want. The salon is a certified provider for Donna Bella hair extensions and hair-straightening Brazilian Blowout treatments. (D.J.)
2218 Golden Ave., San Bernardino, (909) 474-9336; www.shearvault.com.
BEST PLACE FOR MASSAGE
Massage Envy, Ontario
Massage Envy is a national chain with 16 Inland Empire spas, but the Ontario location tops our list. The clinic offers popular massage therapies like Swedish, Deep Tissue, Reflexology and Prenatal as well as more specialized treatments like Trigger Point and Cranial Sacral. Their signature service is the 90-minute Hot Stone Envy massage, while the new Sugar Foot Scrub both soothes and hydrates. New customers can take advantage of special introductory prices listed on the spa website. (D.J.)
4150 E. 4th St., Ontario (909) 294-2222; www.massageenvy.com. Other Locations in Chino, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Upland, Claremont, Riverside, Corona—and coming to Eastvale.
BEST DOG GROOMING
Coventry Pet Resort
Not even a pile of rawhide bones can get a dog’s tail wagging like Coventry’s Ultimate Spa package, which includes a bath, facial, nail and paw treatment, aromatherapy and nourishing vitamin conditioner. For your dog, it’s the next best thing to a date with Lassie! The resort also offers teeth cleaning, grooming, training and supplies, and its daycare and lodging service includes premium meals, Kuranda beds, around-the-clock staff and no cages. Opened in 2004, Coventry is a member of the Pet Care Services Association. (D.J.)
412 Tennessee St., Redlands, (909) 792-1163; www.coventrypetresort.com.
BEST ANIMAL SHELTER
Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter
The staff at this shelter go above and beyond to help as many animals as they can, and with a smile. They make the animals the top priority, the facilities are clean, and everyone is professional. They even offer a “$5 Feline Friday,” amongst other deals and incentives to promote adoptions. They are really busy and often short-handed on staff, but for the amount of things the ladies at the shelter are willing to accomplish and take on, they are rocking it.
11780 Arrow Rte., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 466-7387; www.rcpets.info.
BEST LOCAL CHARITY ORGANIZATION
Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern California (CCFC)
An active cancer research and resource organization, CCFC started in 1979, and has been the best non-profit charity organization in the IE, ever since. Formerly known as Candlelighters of the Inland Empire, Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern California, Inc. is an organization of parents and friends who have, or have had, children with cancer. They are committed to supporting the families emotionally so that they feel less isolated, frustrated and fearful in dealing with the problems that cancer can manifest within the family structure. They also host events to aid in relationship-building, funding and progress in cancer research.
BEST PLACE TO LEARN THE ART OF BURLESQUE
Embody Pole Fitness
Embody Pole Fitness has every kind of hip and sexy fitness classes imaginable, and nothing is more sexy than vintage-inspired burlesque. Want to strut like Dita Von Teese and own the floor? Well with Embody’s help, you will. They offer burlesque, zumba, hip-hop cardio, kettlebell, barre and pole dancing classes. Plus, they have a wide range of membership and class prices to suit any budget or need. Va Va Voom!
1535 E. Ontario Ave., Ste. 104, Corona, (951) 310-3344; www.embodypolefitness.com.
BEST CAR CUSTOMIZATIONS
West Coast Customs
Since starting out in 1993, West Coast Customs has gained international fame by appearing in MTV’s hit series Pimp my Ride. It has even earned its own reality TV show spin offs, Street Customs and the more recent Inside West Coast Customs. Its high status in the car industry is due to its ability to uniquely transform each car rolling through the shop. From Paris Hilton’s pink Bentley to an Audi R8 Tron inspired race car, there isn’t anything West Coast Customs can’t do. With stores opening worldwide, the business continues to grow and become a global phenomenon.
181 Via Trevizio, Corona, (951) 248-0680; www.westcoastcustoms.com.