Expert Tips


10Best Napa Valley Spots to Sit and Sip After Sunset

Days in Napa Valley are filled with tasting at its more than 500 wineries. Folks tend to move at a bustling taste, making their way to favorite tasting rooms while trying to squeeze in new suggestions. But when the sun goes down and vintners go home, life slows down a bit in Napa Valley. Endless bottles continue to get un-corked after sunset, but they have to share the wine country stage. Live performances are nightly affairs at the Uptown Theatre and the more than 100-year-old Cameo Cinema is a great place to finally catch that movie you’ve wanted to see.

If it’s more about grabbing a drink than catching a show, Downtown Napa has the busiest nightlife scene in wine country, with spots like Cadet and Napa Palisades keeping their doors open late.

So take a nap after your busy day of tasting, and use these 10Best spots to inspire some Napa Valley after dark exploring and toasting.


Crush Lounge
Photo courtesy of Brian Welsh

Roll a strike Napa style at Crush Lounge. Bowling is different here. Think fresh, modern and yes, even hip. Located at The Meritage Resort and Spa, a short drive from downtown Napa, Crush Lounge is a luxury sports bar. Beer, wine and cocktails are served by the fire, the six bowling lanes, around the pool table or a dinner table. The fun choice is yours. With options like fish tacos, burgers, salads and fried calamari, the menu has all the makings for a nice dinner, or munchies to share with a group. All ages are welcome until 11 pm when it switches to ages 21 and up.

How long does it take to read an 18-page wine list? Find out at Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ. With 400 bottles of wine and 40 available by the glass, you'll have to make some tough decisions here. Beer lovers, there's a menu for you too. And then there's the BBQ menu. Famous for their Beer Can Chicken, the beauty comes to the table atop a Tecate beer can. You sauce your own BBQ, so be forewarned, things can get a little messy. For a taste of everything, try the Bounty Hunter Smokin' BBQ Platter and plan on sharing.

Napa Palisades Saloon
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann

If you didn't know it was there, you could walk right by Napa Palisades Saloon, but you'd be missing out. Bigger inside than it appears from the outside, Napa Palisades is a sports bar where you don't have to be a sports fans to have a good time. Grab a seat at the bar or at a table. Friendly flannel-clad servers make rounds quickly, filling glasses and delivering unique bar eats like lamb and falafel burgers, Brussels sprouts with bacon, garlic, and goat cheese, and chorizo fries. Napa Palisades has more than 30 house and local craft beers on tap.


The bar closes when the last person leaves at Solbar. Lively, but quiet enough to have an enjoyable conversation, Solbar is a great spot to grab a late night drink or bite to eat. The wines by the glass list is impressive, but the fun signature cocktails are fabulous, especially after a busy day of wine tasting. (The second Wednesday of each month, Solbar bartender, Kelly Dallas talks about the art of cocktail creation with interested visitors. Advance sign-up is required.) Sit at the bar, lounge in colorful, cushy seats, or stake a place on the patio. The munchies menu, compliments of the adjoining Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name, makes eating well especially easy.

Charlie Palmer Steak Napa
Photo courtesy of Charlie Palmer Steak

One of the newer spots in downtown Napa, the lounge at Charlie Palmer Steak Napa has quickly become a favorite with locals and visitors alike. In addition to beer and wine by the glass, the cocktail menu is worth a look. Think choices like a Dark & Stormy with mount gay rum, Underberg, pineapple, ginger, lime, and ginger beer, or a CP Old Fashioned with whistle pig 10-year rye whiskey, orange oleo saccharum, raspberry, and aromatic bitters. Wine country knows how to do cocktails too! Small plate offerings range from Alaskan King Crab Cocktail to deviled eggs, and the must-order lobster corn dogs.

Cameo Cinema
Photo courtesy of Brian Welsh

More than 100 years of Hollywood has graced the screen at Cameo Cinema. Believed to be the oldest single-screen movie house still in operation in the United States, the Cameo makes going to the movies an exciting experience. Stop at the concession stand to get goodies like popcorn, assorted locally made cookies, and sweets like caramel and bark made at the nearby Culinary Institute of America. You can also grab a beer or glass of wine before heading into the theater where 140 velvet covered, comfy seats are waiting. Each show begins with a live introduction, and speakers in the restrooms mean you won't ever miss a beat.

Blue Note Napa
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann

Blue Note Napa is a live music jazz club located in downtown Napa on the first floor of the historic Napa Valley Opera House. With seating for less than 150 music lovers, every seat in the intimate theater is a good one. There's typically live entertainment every night of the week but Monday. Seating is typically general admission, on a first-come, first seated basis. Groups are kept together, but you may also be sat at a communal table. The restaurant at Blue Note Napa offers an extensive menu with headliners including thyme basted halibut and scallops, fresh linguine, and baby back ribs. If you have a sweet tooth, save room for the dessert menu.

Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann

Wherever you call home, you'll feel welcome in this neighborhood hangout. Featuring beer and wines from all over the world, Cadet is a wine tasting room and fun bar all rolled into one lively nightlife spot. Options are constantly changing as the owners find new things to drink. Cadet offers a small selection of munchies and late evening snacks, including cheese and salumi plates, grilled cheese, La Quercia Berkshire prosciutto, and a snack board with Castelvetrano olives, za'atar almonds, and piment d'espelette potato chips. Cadet has a record player and fabulous vinyl music selection. Buy a bottle of wine and you can choose what spins next.

St. Helena
Goose & Gander
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann

Ask any local where to go at night in St. Helena and the answer is always the Goose & Gander. It's about a block off of St. Helena's main drag, but easy to find. Head up the stairs for the main entrance to the restaurant, but if you're plotting a course for a good drink, hang a left and head to the much-loved basement bar. The just light enough, just dark enough digs have a relaxed, "it's always Friday," kind of feel. Goose & Gander features nearly three dozen specialty cocktails that change with the season. Just as important as how they taste is how they look. Some of the drinks, like the Coastal Pimm's Cup, look like a florist put in some serious time before your drink left the bar.

Phenomenal performers and a great stage make the Uptown Theatre a top nightlife spot in downtown Napa. Whether it's a musician the likes Keb' Mo' or comedian Adam Carolla, the art deco Uptown Theatre is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. With just 863 seats, the Uptown is small by modern entertainment venue standards, but less than five minutes in, you'll appreciate the intimate setting. Come early. Dating back to the late 1930s, the Uptown has more to see than just the performer on stage. An added bonus, you can enjoy a glass of wine, beer or even a small bite to eat, at the for ticket holders only, Courtyard Café.


Meet Dana Rebmann

Dana Rebmann moved from San Francisco to Wine Country in search of sunshine. Amazing wine and food was a delightful bonus.

A former television producer for NBC News, Dana is a regular...  More About Dana