Cool & Cozy: East Bay Libations & Comfort Food

Sunol Ridge Walnut Creek

Crab Louie special served at Sunol Ridge in Walnut Creek, California. Photo via Facebook.

Ready for a night out? Try these 4 East Bay hot spots that pair libations with comfort food, each with their own unique flair.

Sunol Ridge

WALNUT CREEK, CA – With lots of intimate seating areas and a long flowing bar, Sunol Ridge is a great spot to catch up with friends or have a bite to eat while enjoying a game on one of the big screen TVs.

Barbecue salt gives the Kennebec potato chips just a hint of sweet to be totally addicting. They come with a side of horseradish dipping sauce.

The fries are good – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. For fries on steroids, order the Sunol Ridge option. These fries are topped with a fried egg, caramelized onion, cheddar cheese and bacon.

Shrimp louie lettuce cups are perfect if you want to stay on the lighter side, as is the bowl of seasonal crudité veggies with black olive dip and roasted carrot hummus.

Small plates start at $12. Full bar. 1388 Locust Street, Walnut Creek. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am and Sunday from 10am.


Danville Brewing Co. opened in Fall 2016 in downtown Danville, California. Photo via pictagram.

Danville Brewing Co.

DANVILLE, CA – The long-anticipated Danville Brewing Company is finally open for business and I was happy to find that it was worth the wait.

Award-winning head brewer Matt Sager has created five craft brews which are made right on site. If you’re a first-timer, get the flight for $10 to try them all. It pairs well with an order of pretzel bites.

Salads and sandwiches are on the menu, but the burgers here really shine. I ordered the money burger with millionaire’s bacon (thick-cut with a nice salty to sweet ratio) and smoked gouda. Burgers come with house-cut fries.

A side of garlicky brussels sprouts was notably good.

When cooler nights call for heartier meals, pair the beer, bison and beef chili with a plate of seasonal veggies.

Burgers start at $11. Full bar. 200 Railroad Avenue #A, Danville. Open daily at 11am.

Beer Baron

Green curry chicken wings at Beer Baron in Pleasanton. Photo via Beer Baron.

Beer Baron

PLEASANTON, CA – 25 beers on tap, an extensive whiskey selection and a great wine list await you at the Beer Baron, which is quickly becoming Pleasanton’s new hot spot to enjoy a girls’ or guys’ night out.

Whether you just want to meet up for bar snacks or prefer heartier fare, the Beer Baron has something to please.

Pair the romaine salad, a small head of lettuce topped with pickled red onions, with a couple of the other small plates for a great meal.

The pancetta-wrapped gulf shrimp were tasty, as were the green curry chicken wings (a two-napkin endeavor, though). My favorite from the evening was the hoisin lamb riblets. They were fall off the bone tender with no end to their flavor.

Small plates start at $6. Full bar. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11:30am. Enjoy live music on Thursdays. 336 St. Mary Street, Pleasanton.

Ahi, pupusa and paella are some of the tapas served at Livermore’s new Pura Vida. Photo via Alena W. / Yelp.

Pura Vida

LIVERMORE, CA – Choose from eight sangria selections at Livermore’s Pura Vida. Or, better yet, bring a few friends and order flights so you can sample them all.

Small plates are perfect for sharing. The bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with a Marcona almond are the perfect combination of sweet, savory and  crunchy. The Spanish cheese plate features a variety of aged cheeses, Serrano ham, olives and baguette.

From the larger plate selections, I enjoyed the banana leaf tamale. I prefer my meat-to-masa ratio to swing in the favor of the meat, and was happily surprised that the ample serving of fork tender pork in Pura Vida’s met my expectations.

Entrées start at $9.95. Beer and wine only. Open Wednesday-Saturday from 5pm, Sunday 12-8pm. 2241 First St., Livermore.

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. Parts of this article were originally published in the November 2016 East Bay editions.