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One Fine Weekend in the New Downtown Napa

With the opening of First Street Napa, the Wine Country destination gets a modern makeover.


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Sky and Vine Rooftop Bar offers a “reverse happy hour” on weeknights starting at 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Archer Hotel Napa

Visitors have long flocked to the city of Napa to experience its famed Oxbow Public Market, tantalizing tasting rooms, and acclaimed eat­eries. Now, there’s another reason to hit the town: A three-block stretch of First Street has undergone a $200 million revitalization project. Dubbed First Street Napa, the 325,000-square-foot development features retail shops, world-class restaurants, innovative wine bars, and a chic hotel with a rooftop bar—and more businesses are set to open by the end of the year. So grab your favorite holiday sweater, and get ready to eat, drink, and be merry in this reinvigorated neighborhood.

 

Local and global wines enhance the fresh, seasonal dishes at Compline. Photo by Kali Photography.

Sip and Savor

Kick off the weekend at local favorite Compline Wine Bar, Restaurant and Merchant, where you can take an interactive wine-education class, peruse an impressive assortment of bottles (most of which are priced between $15 and $35), or simply sip a glass of vino while savoring chef Yancy Windsperger’s seasonal fare (think local salmon, gnocchi vegetable bolognese, and duck-fat fries).

Nearby is the Mayacamas Vineyards tasting room and wine boutique. Founded in 1889, Mayacamas is one of Napa’s most iconic vineyards, predominantly crafting chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon varietals. The winery lost its visitors center on Mount Veeder during the tragic Wine Country fires last year, but it’s starting afresh with the debut of this elegant venue later this month.

Around the corner, the revamped Beckstoffer Building is home to the hip, industrial-style tasting room of Brown Estate. While the St. Helena property is only open to wine-club members, any Napa visitor can taste the celebrated vinos at Brown Downtown Napa. From the bright Betelgeuse white, to the tropical chardonnay, to the decadent Chiles Valley zinfandel, an array of wines are available for sampling. (Reservations are required Saturdays and Sundays.) complinewine.com, mayacamas.com, brownestate.com.

 

Shop

Indulge in a little retail therapy (and walk off that wine) by exploring First Street’s boutiques. Browse for fashions at State and First by Maris Collective, treat yourself to a statement piece at Napa Valley Jewelers, or head to Napastäk—slated to open by the end of December—for epicurean delights such as artisanal jams and fruit vinegars. mariscollective.com, napa​valley​jewelers​.com, napastak.net.

 

Guests at the Archer Hotel rave about the ultra-comfortable beds. Photo by Kali Photography.

Stay

For a luxurious respite, check in to Archer Hotel Napa. The tallest building in Napa Valley offers 143 rooms and 40 suites replete with premium linens, Nespresso coffee machines, and wine fridges. Sumptuous robes, slippers, and complimentary caramels by local confectionery Anette’s Chocolates ​add to the charm. Guests also have exclusive access to the rooftop pool and private cabanas.

The hotel boasts an upscale eatery too: Charlie Palmer Steak. The renowned restaurateur’s Napa venture serves up standout seasonal starters (crispy pig-ear pad Thai and seared Hudson Valley foie gras, for example) and entrées ranging from fresh seafood to house-made pasta. But the steaks are the real star here; go classic with the juicy filet mig­non, or hog wild with the massive bone-in tomahawk for two.

End the evening at Archer’s buzzy Sky and Vine Rooftop Bar, where you can take in the 360-degree view as you sip specialty cocktails. It’s the perfect spot to raise your glass and toast to a beautiful weekend in Napa. archerhotel.com/napa.

 

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