On any average day, Nepenthe in Big Sur is full of locals and tourists alike enjoying the expansive view and perhaps an adult beverage.
The mantra has been that everyone is welcome to walk around and check out the space, says manager Alicia Hahn. With social distancing protocols, the vibe has changed. “We can’t really offer the typical ‘Hey come on in, everyone is welcome to come walk around,’” she says. “We are running a pretty healthy waiting list.”
Outdoor seating works for Nepenthe’s wraparound patio, plus its menu of classic cocktails, local beer (California-made only) and wine (Nepenthe claims to sell more Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir than anywhere in the world).
Hahn has noticed that going out seems to be more of a special occasion these days. “We’ve seen an increase in demand for cocktails,” she says. “When people get here, it’s special and they want to do something really nice.”
And they try to give the best. They use St. George Bruto Americano and Carpano Antica in the California Negroni. They make their own mix for the Nepenthe Bloody Mary. “We like the classics but we do it really well with great ingredients,” Hahn says.
NEPENTHE, 48510 Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2345, nepenthe.com