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Best of the East Bay: Fun

Kick up your heels, grab a glass, and let loose.


By Matt Edge

Wine Made Easy

To decipher Residual Sugar’s menu, come with a sense of humor and a thirst for something new.

Reader Picks: Date Night Spot, Singles Scene, Wine Bar

Sure, you may be able to identify notes of currant or oak in your wine, but what about hints of Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Walking Dead, or Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window? Residual Sugar owner Jim Telford and his staff take a different approach to the wine menu, weaving together traditional fruit (pear, Bing cherry) and nonfruit descriptors (spice, chocolate) with clever pop-culture references that run the gamut from NBA hot shots to curvaceous reality stars. The result is one part fun, two parts information, zero parts pretense, which was Telford’s goal.

“The last thing I want to do is freak out or alienate my guests. We wanted to be more approachable and to have a little fun with it,” says Telford. “The menu serves the primary goal of informing the guests, but it also gets them to laugh. It says, ‘Hey, don’t take yourself too seriously. This is supposed to be fun.’ ” 1684 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 891-4465, residualsugarwine.com.  —Kristen Haney


Penélope Cruz: lovely with a smooth finish / Featureflash/Shutterstock.com

Looking at the Menu

The wine: 2008 Barahonda Monastrell Tinto from Yecla, Spain. According to Residual Sugar: “This wine is a lot like the Spanish power couple Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz. Bullfighter on the nose right out of the gate. Think Bardem’s psychopathic character, ‘Anton Chigurh,’ in No Country for Old Men—dark and foreboding with leather, herbaceous bell/black pepper, and wet stone. Then along comes the lovely and petite Penélope Cruz, not the psycho Penélope from Vicky Cristina Barcelona or Blow, but the sweet, demure ‘Sofia’ she played in Vanilla Sky. Raspberry aromas with flavors of red and citrus fruits, with a smooth, yet complex lengthy finish. Muy caliente.”


illustration by Celyn

When I Grow Up

Now, you can achieve your childhood dreams without years of training, skill, or athletic prowess.


Editor Pick: Dance Classes
Ditch the topknots and leotards at The Ballet School. You can drop in and take adult ballet classes with no strict dress code: Beginners are welcome in socks and form-fitting clothing. 1357 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-2133, theballetschool.org.


Card Shark

Reader Pick: Cards/Casino
Try your hand at poker, blackjack, baccarat, and other card games at California Grand Casino, which is open 24/7 and hosts a tournament every Sunday. 5988 Pacheco Blvd., Pacheco, (925) 685-8397, californiagrandcasino.com.



Reader Pick: Comedy Club
Hone your shtick at Tommy T’s Comedy Club, where you can make ’em laugh during open mic nights held the first Tuesday of every month—just make sure you’re in the top five to make it to the main stage. 5104 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 227-1800, tommyts.com/pleasanton.


Game Show Contestant

Reader Pick: Trivia Night
Alex Trebek might not be calling your name anytime soon, but you can still show off your pop culture smarts—and enjoy discounted tacos and margaritas—during Tuesday night trivia at Sauced BBQ and Spirits. 2300 First St., Ste. 120, Livermore, (925) 961-1300, saucedbbqandspirits.com.


Mad Scientist

Reader Picks: East Bay Winery, Wine-Tasting Room
At Wente Vineyards’ Winemakers Studio, experiment with crafting your own oenological concoctions with the blending experience, test your sense of smell during the wine aroma discovery course, or discover the secret behind a perfect wine and cheese pairing. 5565 Tesla Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2385, wentewinemakers.com.


Pop Star

Reader Pick: Karaoke
Belt it out like Prince, or do your best Beyoncé impression at The Greenery Restaurant at Diablo Hills Golf Course, which offers three-plus hours of prime-time singing Thursday through Sunday. 1551 Marchbanks Rd., Walnut Creek, (925) 937-1270, diablohillsgolfcourse.com/greenery-restaurant.html.


Professional Athlete

Reader Pick: Bocce Court
OK, so walking on to an NFL team may be out of the picture, but you can still show off your pinpoint accuracy during a game of bocce at Campo di Bocce, where you can rehydrate with wine instead of Gatorade. (Score!) 175 E. Vineyard Ave., Livermore, (925) 249-9800, campodibocce.com. —Kristen Haney


By Samantha Schneider

Home Court

A quarter-by-quarter look at Blackhawk Plaza’s game-time MVP, Fieldhouse Sports Grill, during a Warriors playoff game.

Reader Pick: Sports Bar

First Quarter

Steph Curry and James Harden take turns lighting up long jumpers just as my ballpark pretzels arrive. A nice start to the evening, although the Warriors finish the quarter down by seven.

Second Quarter

The braised chicken tacos—with fresh salsa and Cotija cheese—arrive with my beer as the bar area fills with rowdy Dubs fans. Golden State leads by three at halftime.

Third Quarter

At the start, I order the creamy salmon Florentine with an Italian Pinot Grigio from Fieldhouse’s extensive wine list.

Fourth Quarter

What a game! The Warriors hang on and win, 110–106, as I finish with fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. 3483 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., Danville, (925) 886-1812, fieldhousesportsgrill.com—Peter Crooks


The Last Word / Cali Godley

Reader Picks

Bar Menu
The Last Word
2470 First St., Livermore, (925) 493-7293, drinkeatgather.com.

Greg Palomo, Walnut Creek Yacht Club
1555 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 944-3474, wcyc.net.

Beer Bar
Øl Beercafe and Bottle Shop
1541 Giammona Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 210-1147, beer-shop.org.

East Bay Brewery
Altamont Beer Works
2402 Research Dr., Livermore, (925) 443-2337, altamontbeerworks.com.

Happy Hour
Bridges Restaurant and Bar
44 Church St., Danville, (925) 820-7200, bridgesdanville.com.

Live Music Club
Dan’s Irish Sports Bar
1524 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-1331, dansbar.com.

Locals' Bar
The Round Up Saloon
3553 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-4817.

Piano Bar
McGah’s Pub and Pianos
148 E. Prospect Ave., Danville, (925) 743-8466, mcgahs.com.

Place to Go Dancing
Dan’s Irish Sports Bar
1524 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-1331, dansbar.com.

Street Festival
Lafayette Art and Wine Festival
September 19–20, 2015, lafayettefestival.com.

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