Where to Drink in Palm Springs, California - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Where to Drink in Palm Springs, California

Nestled in the Sonoran Desert’s Southern California extension and flanked by mountain ranges, pint-sized Palm Springs has long been a getaway for celebrities and snowbirds. Though the city is often associated with golf resorts and midcentury architecture, a solid drinks scene has been steadily taking root, bolstered by spots like Workshop Kitchen + Bar, where Dave Castillo built the bar program with his partner in work and life, Michelle Bearden. “I’d argue that before Workshop opened [in 2011], there really wasn’t a ‘cocktail scene’ in Palm Springs,” says Castillo, who also helmed sister bar Truss & Twine. “Now you can get pretty much whatever you’re looking for—classics, modern, tiki, plus great wines and great beer.” Castillo and Bearden, who currently reside in Long Beach, recommend a trip down historic Palm Canyon Drive for a tour of the city’s diverse drinking destinations. 

Bootlegger Tiki

Opened in 2014 in the former Don the Beachcomber restaurant (circa 1953), Bootlegger Tiki revamps the vibe with a rotating menu of originals. “Tiki bars have been very trendy the last few years. They always look cool and have a fun feel but the drinks, sadly, are not always that great,” says Castillo. “But these guys are making great drinks, classics and originals, often using new, fun ingredients.” Check out the Rum N’ Rye, with demerara rum, rye whiskey, lemon and orange juices, orgeat, cinnamon syrup, Nixta corn liqueur, and a pechuga apple brandy.

Dead or Alive Bar + Shop

At the cozy beer-and-wine bar and shop Dead or Alive, opened at the end of 2015, owner Christine Soto curates a constantly evolving list of about two dozen wines and beers, with IPAs and farmhouse ales alongside orange wines and classic Italian whites. “There’s a great selection of interesting and esoteric wines without being unapproachable,” says Castillo. “Although, you can get funky, if that’s what you’re in the mood for.”

Mr. Lyons/Seymour’s

A retro-style steakhouse that hearkens back to Rat Pack–era Palm Springs, Mr. Lyons complements its hand-cut meats with classic Martinis and Sidecars on the lounge menu. “Right next door, in the same building, is Seymour’s, a very cool little cocktail bar,” Castillo says. “After you’ve had your steak frites and a couple glasses of wine in the lounge, you can pop over for an amaro, a cocktail, or both!” Try an original like the Little Owl, with rye whiskey, walnut liqueur, IPA syrup, and amaro.

Las Palmas Brewing

Adding some flavor to the sparse brewery scene in Palm Springs proper, Las Palmas Brewing opened at the end of October 2019 with a two-barrel system and an affinity for sessionable beers. “This spot is a welcome addition to Palm Springs,” says Castillo. With six taps typically offering up to five house beers and a fun guest beer, Las Palmas also keeps a collection of “nostalgic beers” in bottles and cans. Expect old-world-inspired styles like a seasonal dry-hopped table beer that clocks in at just above 4 percent ABV, along with refreshing, tropical-inflected IPAs made to be enjoyed in the backyard beer garden. 

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