Readers' Poll BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 29 Best Bartender Best Late-Night Hangout Katie Blandin, Pearl Hour 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 657-9447, “It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.” So wrote John Steinbeck in Cannery Row, and thus is named Pearl Hour, a true gem in the Monterey Peninsula’s otherwise far-too-safe nightlife scene. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Monterey County’s Best Late Night Hangout is home to, and the brainchild of, its Best Bartender. From its name to its live jazz, drag and burlesque nights, Pearl Hour is Katie Blandin’s love letter to Monterey. She’s created a space and a vibe that is wholly distinct (and desperately needed) around these parts—while also happening to serve a delectable cocktail menu that’s unparalleled anywhere in the county, if not the entire Central Coast. Don’t think mezcal and gin can go together? Try the Pearlescent—you won’t regret it. Best Bar For Baby Boomers Mission Ranch 26270 Dolores St., Carmel (831) 625-9040, missionranchcarmel. com The bar at Mission Ranch has it all— pastoral views of sheep grazing, with Point Lobos and the Pacific Ocean beyond. A wine list featuring a range of local wines. A menu of small bites for when you start to feel peckish after that second glass (there are so many good wines to choose from). Nightly piano music sets the mood, so settle in and order a Jack Rose—it’s what Steinbeck would do. Best Bar For Gen Xers Best Bar For Millennials Alvarado Street Brewery 426 Alvarado St., Monterey, (831) 6552337 Carmel Plaza, Suite, Ocean Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel, (831) 293-8621 301 Main St., Salinas, (831) 356-219 Tasting room at 1315 Dayton St., Salinas (831) 800-3332, Can’t keep track of where Gen X ends and Millennials begin? That’s OK, neither can we. But what we can be sure of is that Alvarado Street Brewery is the place to find both generations imbibing and dining together in harmony. It’s more than your standard bar. Would an ordinary pub have smoked salmon pizza or crispy burrata salad? Would the common hangout include dozens of beer selections alone featuring Monterey Countyinspired names like “Bixby Blonde” and “Chill’d Out: Ocean Water”? An impressive selection of local wines and signature cocktails round out the options to make for our readers’ favorite multi-generational watering hole. Best Drink With A View Schooners Monterey Plaza Hotel, 400 Cannery Row, Monterey (831) 372-2628, There’s no problem with emphasizing just the drink here, even if you end up seated with your back to the view. The signature cocktails are strong and fresh, and play up the oceanfront setting—the Eden of Edgewater features cucumber vodka, cucumber juice and elderflower, or the Purse Seiner has gin, lime and fresh ginger. But what’s extra special is that those drinks are served on a perch over the kelp beds off Cannery Row, providing an excellent vantage point to watch otters, seals and seabirds. Or look further out at the horizon. Or focus even more closely on the invertebrates, like sea stars visible on a clear day, and think about pioneering marine biologist Ed Ricketts, gathering specimens just a few doors down. From micro to macro, the view delivers. Best Neighborhood Bar Other Brother Beer Co. 877 Broadway Ave., Seaside (831) 747-1106, There’s something different about this place. Perhaps that’s why it’s the “other” brother. What that means in this case is, unlike a lot of watering holes on the Monterey Peninsula that fill up with tourists (not a bad thing), Other Brother is a place where one can almost always find a table, and even if everyone doesn’t know your name arts and entertainment Jimi Hendrix image: Ed Caraeff / Iconic Images Best Pub | Crown & Anchor