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Mad Men Mixers
Emily Villanueva | Photo: Courtesy Image | April 15, 2013
In honor of Mad Men’s sixth season, we’ve rounded up the slinkiest joints in the city serving up stiff drinks, nostalgic settings and a side of ‘60s swagger.
1. Cool kitten Megan Draper would fit right in at downtown’s new Cat Eye Club, a space that’s dollhouse small but meant for grownups, with a modish Mondrian-inspired wall that’s pure eye candy. The devil here is in the details: libations are limited to champagne and classic, era-inspired cocktails like the “French 75” (gin, lemon, champagne--her drink of choice, bien sûr) or the “Last Word,” a tease with green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime. If you’re able to locate its nondescript entrance, count yourself a lucky member of the club. 370 7th St., cateyeclubsd.com
2. North Park’s Red Fox Room is a classic holdout from a moment in S.D. time when old school Hollywood stars (Bob Hope! Ava Gardner!) made the Lafayette Hotel their getaway playground. Kitted out with tufted leather booths and dark wood paneling, the El Cajon Boulevard mainstay defines steakhouse cool right down to the lobster tail and filet with béarnaise, served best, of course, with a side of two or three dirty martinis. Joan would approve. 2223 El Cajon Blvd., lafayettehotelsd.com
3. Were Peggy Olson, the show’s reigning resident of reinvention, ever to go through a tiki phase, you can bet her hula hut of choice would mimic Shelter Island’s Bali Hai. The waterfront legend, which underwent a Graham Downe’s makeover a few years back (but retains its Polynesian cred), serves up island favorites like a retro pupu platter and macadamia-crusted fresh fish, and is the best place around to study the finer points of the mai tai. 2230 Shelter Island Dr., balihairestaurant.com
4. Consider Red Tracton's your time machine. You’d find Don feeling right at home, holding court at the end of the dimly-lit bar. The Solana Beach stalwart is a Del Mar Racetrack staple with the swag to prove it: photos on the walls testify to original owner Red’s fondness for ponies and the winner’s circle (more horses are etched into the frosty bar glass). Don't look for mixology here. The silver-haired guys wearing black vests are bartenders, and they make the strongest no-nonsense drinks in North County. Don would stop there. But order up: the decadent lobster bisque comes with a generous side of sherry. 550 Via de la Valle, redtractonssteakhouse.com
5. We can just picture the scene: Roger’s hiding behind the aquarium at Manhattan Lounge, one mistress tucked into a U-shaped booth but another raging through the dusky bar looking for the perpetually wayward adman. And all poor Mr. Sterling wants is to sit down to his Steak Delmonico, a bloody slab of charcoal-broiled beef with a piquant pepper sauce that locals have even been known to order as take-away. La Jolla’s not known for its nightlife, but the live music and generous pours here have lured many to its siren song. 7766 Fay Ave., manhattanoflajolla.com