Looking for a Good Piano Bar on Your California Vacation?

In Christine on The Scene by Christine McKellar

 Locals Always Know Best: Some San Diego County Selections

While Las Vegas is a hot destination spot for tourists from all over the piano trioworld, the California coast is the hot spot (without the heat) for many Las Vegas who want to get away without going too far from home.  The beach cities of San Diego are an easy 4 to 5-hour drive if you’re packing tons of luggage and/or have children in tow.  Travel time by plane is slightly over one hour not counting security and check-in lines.

For touristy family-oriented land and water attractions, it’s best to visit the chamber of commerce page of whatever city you’re visiting. If you’re like me and want to know where the locals go for more mature entertainment such as dining, dancing and music here are just a few places to go steppin’ out to have a good time:

La Jolla: I remember when the Manhattan Restaurant opened in downtown La Jolla twenty-five years ago. Nestled in the Empress Hotel, it’s as popular today with locals and tourists as it was then. An upscale Italian steakhouse, the Manhattan lives up to its “fine Italian dining” tagline.

If you’re looking for something lighter and later than dinner, join Tad Sisler at the piano bar. Tad’s portfolio includes having been the main music attraction at Red Tracton’s, Scalini, Mille Fleurs, Delicias, and Tuscany. Tad can play damn near anything and really knows how to read a crowd. And his crowd will follow him anywhere…

For menu items and hours of operation, please visit: http://manhattanoflajolla.com/

Rancho Santa Fe:  Mille Fluers restaurant is in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe and only a mile away from the Chino’s Family farm where the chef does his daily shopping for the freshest fruits and vegetables to complement the daily menu selections. Presiding over the intimate piano bar Thursday through Saturday is Kenny Beecher.

We were on hand last Thursday to celebrate Kenny’s 20th anniversary of playing at Mill Fluers. Champagne flowed and avid, longtime fans pinaist beecherflooded the bar, restaurant and patio. Several fans were even standing on the sidewalk watching through the window.  Kenny’s “other job” is that of an adjunct professor of music at Mesa and Grossmont colleges.

Five miles inland from Del Mar, the road is scenic and winding. If you feel you might be imbibing a bit too much, it’s highly advisable to take a cab or hire a driver to get you home.  Mille Fluers is open for lunch Wednesday-Friday 11:30am-1:45pm. Dinner: Nightly 6pm; Saturday 5:30pm and Sunday Brunch: 10:30am-2pm. For more information, please visit: http://www.millefleurs.com/

NEXT WEEK: Mexican Cantinas and Some Kinda Rock n Roll