Arts and Entertainment
BestOf 2006 Reader's Picks
Thursday, March 16, 2006
LOCAL ARTIST Steven Whyte
…Whether memorializing fallen coal miners or depicting classical Bacchanalian scenes, the British-born Whyte manages to capture his subject’s spiritual as well as physical qualities. A master of bronze sculptural portraiture, he has completed commissioned works for many members of the British nobility and created a slew of public monuments, including a life-sized seated statue of Dr. John Roberts, Seaside’s founder, on display in front of City Hall. Whyte works in an open studio on Cannery Row where folks can see why he’s the best.
LOCAL STAGE ACTOR Julie Hughett
…Hughett’s sensual beauty and subtle power onstage are well known to PacRep regulars, who have seen her in roles ranging from Cyrano’s heartthrob Roxanne to Lady MacBeth. Prepare for a treat this summer when Hughett appears as the evanescent Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.
PHOTO GALLERY Weston Gallery
Sixth and Dolores, Carmel | 624-4453
…The art world doesn’t get much more authentic than Carmel’s Weston Gallery. The oldest and most respected showcase of its kind, the Weston is considered the home gallery of the great American photographers Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Morley Baer. New talent gets its day here, too, in the form of work by the likes of Linda Butler, Mark Citret and Ryuijie.
ART GALLERY Carmel Art Association
Sixth and Dolores, Carmel |624-6176
…For nearly 80 years the Carmel Art Association has represented the best artists living on the Monterey Peninsula, starting with luminaries Armin Hansen and E. Charlton Fortune. Today entry is by jury, which means the 120 artist-members are accomplished individuals dedicated to advancing the arts. A number of them are drawn to the subjects that have fascinated generations of local artists: the sea, fishermen, and the stunning natural environment in which we find ourselves.
CLUB DJ DJ Angel
Club Octane | 646-9244
…Top-shelf DJs all do one thing very well—connect with a crowd. Unsurprisingly, then, the Weekly’s Best DJ of Monterey County the last three years running is an expert at exactly that, drawing on a diverse stash of music to give a crowd whatever it needs—all while amiably amping it up as he goes. Angel’s “Top 10 Reasons to Date a DJ” on MySpace.com reveals that he finds that adaptability key: “#2: We are all about versatility, i.e. changing up the tempo and texture to keep every situation fresh.” The 37-year-old single dad from Salinas plays Club Octane in Monterey Mondays and Fridays.
KARAOKE Britannia Arms Pub
444 Alvarado St, Monterey | 656-9543
…There are a few types of karaoke singers to be found at Britannia Arms. The Veteran goes every week without fail and graces the stage with decent renditions of standards like “It Happened in Monterey” or “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The Gifted goes every once in a while, wowing the audience with American Idol-finals-quality vocals on tough numbers like “Black Velvet” and “I Will Always Love You.” The First-Timer chokes down a few drinks, gets egged on by other inebriated friends and takes the stage with as many other party girls in the bar as possible to sing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (the boys go for “Bad to the Bone”).
BAR FOR FOLKS OVER 50 Mission Ranch
26270 Dolores, Carmel | 625-9040
…It helps to get to the lounge area in Clint’s meadowside haven early, although the real action doesn’t start ‘til the sun is down and the piano is tinkling. Tourists come here often to rub elbows with the man, but adult locals stock this bar year ‘round because they know that there may be snow on the rooftops, but they sure can stoke the fires down below. Smart under-50s come here to learn how it’s done.
PLACE YOU CAN’T TAKE YOUR PARENTS Nu-Art Theater
2116 Fremont St, Monterey | 372-9430
…This, of course, assumes that your parents aren’t into porn and sex toys. If they are, you can bring the whole family down to Nu-Art, the Monterey Peninsula’s old-school source for fine smut. Nothing fancy here, just the basics and some relaxed, no-pressure sales folk.
CLUB FOR ROCK Lava Lounge
321 Alvarado St, Monterey | 646-9244
…It can’t be stressed enough that rock ‘n’ roll isn’t dead in Monterey. An evening at the Lava Lounge will blast your ears with as much raw, loud and obnoxious rock music as you can handle—the way it was meant to be heard. Located downstairs from Club Octane, Lava Lounge attracts the best of local metal and hard rock acts and is a key stopping point for rowdy rockers who are just passing through.
CLUB FOR BLUES Sly McFly’s
700 Cannery Row, Monterey | 649-8050
…Every night of the week music pours out of Sly’s while dancers get down en masse on the crowded dance floor. Sometimes it’s reggae, sometimes it’s funk, but most of the time it’s blues-inflected rock, the musical equivalent of soul food. And the people come to Sly’s in droves to gobble it up. No wonder it’s won Best Blues Club seven years running.
CLUB FOR JAZZ Cibo Ristorante Italiano
301 Alvarado St, Monterey | 649-8151
…Six nights a week as the dinner hour winds down, this warmly-lit restaurant and club in the heart of downtown Monterey morphs into a civilized playground for grownups. Most nights jazz musicians from here and the Bay Area take center stage, but reggae, soul and funk are getting lots of play here, too as visitors and locals alike indulge their jones for sophisticated but un-stuffy fun.
DANCE CLUB Club Octane
321 Alvarado St, Monterey | 646-9244
…Life without dancing just wouldn’t be any fun, and the people at Club Octane are doing everything in their power to make sure that never happens. Four dance floors and four different sound systems exponentially increase your groove factor and give you all the space you need to let loose.
MUSICIAN Dennis Murphy
…What do you say to a guy who plays bass like a god, has the courage to reinvent himself and is a good guy to boot? You say, “Congratulations, Dennis, for winning Best Musician for the umpteenth time in a row, and thanks for your recent detour from the blues to big band music. It’s really cool, and it took some nerve! And hey, keep up the good work with JazzMasters—some of those kids could really use some encouragement in a positive direction, and you’re just the guy to provide it.”
BAND Red Beans & Rice
…Red Beans & Rice has reigned as Monterey County’s best local band for 11 years in a row. And although they’re simply unstoppable, the words of RB&R’s Gil Rubio (guitar/percussion/vocals) prove that all these guys are still gracious and eager to please: “I’m just extremely thankful that people still enjoy us,” he says. “I think that the blues are something that we all share in common. It’s not about being depressed or sad; when I saw Albert King live, I remember that he said, ‘Some people call it the blues and some people call it the pinks.’ It’s the celebration of a basic emotion that transcends age, race, creed, everything.” This month, RB&R returns to the studio to work on its fourth album with new frontman Bishop Mayfield. The album is due out this summer.
HAPPY HOUR Mucky Duck
479 Alvarado St, Monterey | 655-3031
…There’s hot: sitting outside on Mucky Duck’s patio next to a gas fire pit, downing $2 pints and $2 well drinks and dancing up a storm to one of Monterey’s local band’s like Coco Beat. And then there’s hot: sharing a half-price appetizer, like crab cakes or chicken quesadillas, with the cute girl or boy who was sitting across the fire pit from you.
PUB Crown and Anchor
150 W. Franklin St, Monterey | 649-6496
…A fat pint of beer in a cozy pub decked out in an over-the-top tall ships motif—who can resist? That’s why Crown and Anchor is cool. It oozes atmosphere. Sit at the bar and exchange words with your neighbor, huddle up in a booth for fish ‘n’ chips or decamp to the back deck to relax under the heat lamps. Or just sit quietly at a table, hoist a pint to your beer hole and watch the waves roll silently in.
474 Alvarado St, Monterey | 645-9036
…Writer Bernard Devoto declared the martini “the supreme American gift to the world.” In that case, Lallapalooza, with its big menu of 21 (count ‘em) big martinis (they’re always doubles here), is the supreme gift to Monterey County. From the Ruby Martini, dubbed “Sex in the City of Salinas,” to the Purple-Headed Dragon or the Classic Cold and Dry Martini, there’s a gift for every tastebud at Lallapalooza.
MARGARITA Baja Cantina
7166 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley | 625-2252
…Whether it’s on the rocks or frozen, the house margarita for $3 at happy hour or one of the bar staff’s diabolically tasty concoctions, it’s all salty sweet and delicious at this beloved mid-Valley home of all things fiesta. Try the Corkscrew, made with Herradura Silver, triple sec, lime juice and sweet and sour. Or take a ride in the Cadillac, featuring Sauza Gold, Grand Marnier, Cointreau and sweet and sour. Or go all-out with the new top-shelf Asombroso tequila with triple sec and sweet and sour served in a shaker.
NEIGHBORHOOD BAR Duffy’s
282 High St, Monterey | 644-9811
…At a neighborhood bar one expects good company, cheap drinks and eats and good jokes. Last one heard at Duffy’s while wolfing down fries and a perfectly done medium-rare bacon cheeseburger: Too good to repeat here, so you’d best go hear for yourself.
DRINK WITH A VIEW Highlands Inn
Highway 1, Carmel Highlands | 620-1234
…One of the best ways to experience the majestic grandeur of this paradise we live in is having drinks in the lounge at Highlands Inn. Getting dressed up, cruising down the coast a bit, then turning up that steep driveway gets you a-tingling. Valet the car. Sashay, gavotte, stroll and slide like Fred and Ginger up the stairs through those beautiful wooden doors, into that chalet-in-the-sky lobby, around the bend, past the Paul Bunyon fireplaces and into one of the luxurious chairs. Settle in. Order good drinks gracefully and with style, sit back and enjoy the view.
WINES BY THE GLASS Bouchée Restaurant and Wine Bar
Mission between Ocean and Seventh, Carmel | 626-7880
…Even a lightning-quick glimpse in the window of Bouchée alerts the viewer to the importance of wine here. A neat semicircle of spent Domaine de la Romanée-Conti bottles stand as a reminder of the 20-vintage La Tache weekend last Christmas. You may not be able to get La Tache by the glass, but you can always get something interesting from around the world, carefully chosen by the dedicated and talented Bouchée staff.
BEERS ON TAP Mucky Duck
479 Alvarado St, Monterey | 655-3031
…The good people at Mucky Duck do not wish us to go thirsty, so they have set up 26 beers on tap just in case we’re very picky. Besides your standard Sierra Nevada-and-Sam Adams lineup, they’ve got Pilsner Urquell, Ramsey’s Fat Lip Ale, Great White Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, Strongbow cider, Smithwick’s Irish and both Guinness and Murphy’s. Feeling giddy yet? An equally impressive selection of bottled brews awaits.
PLACE TO SHOOT POOL Bluefin Billiards
685 Cannery Row, Monterey | 375-7000
…With 17 Color-of-Money-quality tables, a private wing for mixers and benefits and a pimp upstairs Cannery Row location, there’s no need to call Mensa to help figure how Bluefin took this one. But look deeper and you’ll discover the assets that truly elevate the Bluefin’s game: tons of TVs (including two big screens), satellite trivia, shuffleboard, a full bar with 22 beers on tap, a bonus game room (with air hockey, darts and foosball), a fat menu, a big deck overlooking Steinbeck Plaza and Monterey Bay, and—oh yes—its very own escalator.
BAR FOR DARTS Bulldog Pub
611 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey | 658-0686
…Earning the nod as the best dart bar in town with only one board is like winning the gold in synchronized swimming with only one swimmer. It’s not impossible—Bulldog does it annually and solo syncho swimming has been an Olympic event since ’84—but you’d better be entertaining. Bulldog fits that bill. The competition isn’t always Olympic (it ranges across skill level and blood alcohol content), but it’s universally lively and amusing.
SPORTS BAR Knuckles Historical Sports Bar
1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey | 647-2039
Even if you aren’t watching sports on one of the 19 televisions, there’s a lot to keep you entertained in this popular drinking and eating establishment located in the Hyatt Regency Resort. The walls—and ceilings—are covered with sports-related paraphernalia like old wooden golf clubs and college football helmets. The Monterey County Wall of Fame features framed pictures of local sportsmen like Herman Edwards and Monterey Mayor Dan Albert (playing basketball for Monterey High). All that and they have 10 Sierra Nevada beers on tap.
SINGLES BAR Mucky Duck
479 Alvarado St, Monterey | 655-3031
…Take large population of bored college students. Stir in enormous selection of beer. Add convenient downtown location, fire pit out back and live music many nights of the week. Sprinkle in happy-hour specials. Congratulations. You have ensured the survival of the species.
…Perhaps it may be hard for some purists to admit, but Starbucks really is a foolproof place to go for quality java and attentive service. They’re organized, efficient, innovative, and usually have some excellent music on sale. Sure, Starbucks is a powerful and successful multinational corporation, but can’t you see why?
MOVIE THEATER Osio Cinemas
350 Alvarado St, Monterey | 644-8171
…Perennial winner Osio Cinemas is the place to see the movies that all the cool kids will be talking about on any given Monday. An added bonus—as if entertaining movie choices weren’t enough—is the downtown location (Best Pub Crown and Anchor next door, Montrio or Stokes just up the street) and $5.50 movies all day on Tuesdays.
PLACE TO HANG OUT AFTER A MOVIE Cold Stone Creamery
1470 Del Monte Shopping Center, Monterey 649-1346 | 796 Northridge Shopping Center, Salinas 449-2870
…Movie theaters do a lot of things right—popcorn, lemon drops, Good ‘n’ Plenty. But you want to save your ice cream eating for after the movie, when you can scamper over to Cold Stone Creamery and play ice cream god with a dizzying choice of ingredients. Chocolate ice cream with bananas and brownie and walnuts? Check. Coffee ice cream with Heath bar and caramel and strawberries? Check. You see where we’re going with this. Things get crazy fast.