Napa Valley After Dark
Winemaker and restaurateur Joel Gott on Napa's new late-night scene.
"Just a few years ago, the only options after 10 p.m. in Napa Valley were cigarettes and beer at the local dives: Pancha's in Yountville, Ana's Cantina in St. Helena or Henry's in downtown Napa. And there's nothing wrong with those spots. But now there's a real late-night scene here, with craft cocktails and great wine. It's particularly true in downtown Napa. The place that really started it all is Morimoto [open until 1 a.m.], which has the biggest late-night scene: It feels more like Los Angeles than Napa. Down the block is The Thomas [open until 1 a.m.], which gets a lot of locals, sort of a wine-dork group. And it has a rooftop that's like a big party. Empire [open until 2 a.m.] launched a few months ago, and it has a serious cocktail program. It gets a good tourist crowd, since it's right next to the new Andaz hotel, which also has a lively bar scene until 1 a.m. Napa's not just about daytime tastings at wineries. We're the adult Disneyland, so we need to cater to everyone."