The best night out deserves an arc, from beginning to end, warm-up to finish line. In a large city, that demands planning, sometimes debating, and usually Ubering from one spot to the next. Or you could trade the city’s chaos for the historic charm of old town Folsom, where within four blocks on Sutter Street you’ve got all the entertainment and eats a night really needs.
The Cellar Wine Bar
THE OPENING ACT
Catch D’ARTAGNAN VINEYARDS tasting room before it closes at 5 p.m. Sample from four El Dorado County wines for five bucks, but they’ll waive the fee with a bottle purchased.
THE CELLAR WINE BAR has a broader selection of wines, with balanced beers on tap, and complementing starters. Open till midnight on Friday and Saturday, the place has a Mediterranean ambience.
Catch a bite at SAMUEL HORNE’S TAVERN during happy hour (4–6 p.m.), when select local beers are half off. The Johnny Cash burger is a favorite. Other spots: CHICAGO FIRE for a deep dish, PIZZERIA CLASSICO for pizza and sandwiches, or THE FAT RABBIT PUBLIC HOUSE for pub food (Scotch eggs, anyone?) and ale.
Hacienda Del Rio
THE MAIN EVENT (open till the wee hours)
Mexican restaurant HACIENDA DEL RIO, known as “the Hac,” turns nightclub with DJ and dancing after 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Renovated and reopened in May, it serves $3 tacos on the balcony. Best of all, no cover!
FOLSOM HOTEL SALOON has more or less been slinging drinks since 1885 and looks every bit the Wild West saloon. It’s a classic dive bar that attracts a mix of people. About 30 bands—including Rolling Heads, Rock Monsterz and Takeout—rotate every Friday and Saturday night, taking the stage at 9:30 p.m. Expect a $5 cover once the music starts.
Off Sutter across a parking lot is a nondescript corrugated tin facade, the entrance of POWERHOUSE PUB and SCARLET’S. Describing the two venues, owner Murray Weaver says, “we purposely have a controlled chaos environment, kind of like a circus or a labyrinth of curiosity.” Scarlet’s does DJ and dancing, while Powerhouse focuses on live bands. Weaver claims Scarlet’s has the largest selection of spirits anywhere in Northern California (“a couple thousand bottles,” he says), while Powerhouse’s “Zombie Bar” serves unusual cocktails. The two venues also share a patio, BIG ROB’S CABANA, which sells cigars and hookah for $15 to $20. Cover runs $10 and grants access to all three venues.
After all the live music and dancing, SUTTER CLUB SPORTS BAR provides respite from the noise. No DJ, no band, just a jukebox and free pool, and the well drinks run $4.
Big Rob’s Cabana
Prefer to party late into the night—or maybe even through it? LAKE NATOMA INN is two blocks away. Next day, cure the morning hangover with a fresh smoothie or cold-pressed juice from PURE LIFE JUICE COMPANY, a gigantic omelet from SUTTER STREET GRILL or a stiff espresso concoction and big sweet treat from KAREN’S BAKERY.