When you visit the city of Carmel, bars are probably not the first thing on your mind. You might think of the historic sites, such as the Mission; or you might head there for its amazing view of the sea. If you go there for the nightlife, you'll likely be disappointed. It is actually a fairly mild town. The bars it does have, though, are distinct and full of character.
Jack London's Bar and Grill
Named for the famous writer of the Call of the Wild, this Carmel bar has been around for more than 30 years. It has saloon-style mahogany décor and a menu inspired by Louisiana cuisine, including shrimp creole, bayou chicken and mesquite steaks. You can see live music on Friday nights and enjoy a choice of 10 beers on draft, including several regional brews. TVs abound, so you never have to miss an important game.
This bar is at the corner of Dolores Street and 5th Avenue. For more information, call 831-624-2336.
Flaherty's Oyster Bar
If you want fresh seafood, this Carmel bar is the place. You can get everything from abalone to tilapia, including oysters, mussels and scallops. Guests can watch the staff prepare their oysters fresh while still viewing one of the numerous flat screen TVs. This Carmel bar has an extensive wine list, featuring reds, whites, champagnes and dessert wines. They are available by the bottle, by the split or by the glass.
This bar is on 6th Avenue between Dolores Street and San Carlos Street. For more information, call 831-625-1500.
Popular with locals, this Carmel bar has a golf theme. Its menu features American fare, including steak, ribs and chicken "sandwedges." Its menu of beer, wine and liquor is average. The main draw here is the community of sports fans and the laid back atmosphere.
This bar is at the corner of San Carlos Street and 4th Avenue. For more information, call 831-624-2476
Don't let the name fool you. Club Jalapeno is not a dance club. Instead, it is a courtyard bar with traditional Mexican food. You can get tacos, fajitas, burritos and enchiladas with various different toppings, plus bar fare, like hot wings and stuffed artichokes. The real stars of the menu are what you find behind the bar: lots of imported beers and tequilas. Hang out in the courtyard and you're likely to hear live music most any night of the week.
This bar is on San Carlos Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. For more information, call 831-626-1997.
Alternatives to Carmel Bars
If you can't find a Carmel bar that's to your liking, you can purchase your beverage of choice at a store and enjoy it from the comfort of your hotel room. Two great shops to try are Southern Latitudes Wines on Lincoln Street at Ocean Avenue and 6th Avenue and the Cheese Shop at Junipero Street and Ocean Avenue. Of course, the Cheese Shop is more than just a delicatessen. If you'd just like to pick up a few beers, you can go to pretty much any grocery store, including the local Safeway.
While you probably won't find yourself going to, or staying in, Carmel for the bars, you could find them to be a delightful diversion during your trip.