Downtown Napa’s Swanky New Lounge RulesAuthor:Annette Hanami
Napa Valley’s first tasting room circa 1848 wasn’t a winery, it was the Empire Saloon in Downtown Napa, a gathering place for gold miners looking to strike a future in this verdant but virgin realm. The new Empire pays homage to the original saloon as a welcoming gateway to Napa Valley, serving a variety of small plate dishes, local wines and swanky spirits.
The theme of empires from different ages is woven throughout the space, starting at the entrance with the double-height ceilings and a montage created by S.F. designer and artist Michael Brennan. The retro-future design – from the Roman arch leading to the dining gallery, to the Art Deco bar, to futuristic references in the art and decor – was part of Brennan’s goal to create a timeless space that’s unified by dramatic lighting and a rich palette of colors and textures.
A 150-year-old Italian coat of arms adds to Empire’s theme, creating a dynamic mix of the past and future. On the other side of the candle box is a large private room with banquet seating.
The neon jellyfish tank mirrors the organ pipes across the way in bold, mod fashion.
As you sink into the deep seating, expect a server to come by with a cocktail cart and mix up one of their signature cocktails such as the Ukiah Sour #5 (above) made with Tapatio Blanco Tequila, Mexican Sage syrup, lime juice and citrus bitters.
Make it at home!
Ukiah Sour #5
Tapatio Blanco tequila 2oz
Mexican Sage Syrup 1oz
Lime Juice 1 oz
Citrus Bitters 3 dashes
Shake double strain and serve up!
The Meriwhether (not pictured)
Templeton Rye 2oz
Barolo Chinato .25 oz
Germain Robin Apple Brandy .5oz
Kina L’Avion d’Or .5oz
Stir, strain, serve up with lemon twist.
Empire is located at 1400 First Street in the West End of Downtown Napa on the corner of the Andaz Hotel. Opens at 5:00 p.m. and closes 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
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