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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sonoma County Nightlife

Let's say you've spent a day wine tasting. Now you want to do something else besides go back to your hotel room and stare at the TV screen. So what is there to do in Sonoma County in the evening?

Live professional entertainment

Broadway Under the Stars at Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen. (Seasonal).
Green Music Center
Image from

Green Music Center at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. Symphony to jazz to lecture series.

Mystic Theatre in Petaluma has musical entertainment. It's mostly local, but some nationally known artists perform.

Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. A place for young, local rockers to play in front of their tattooed fans.

6th Street Playhouse. A community theater in Santa Rosa

Spreckels Performing Arts Center run by the city of Rohnert Park. Dance, music and theater.

Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa with everything from Kathy Griffin to Willie Nelson

Summer outdoor concerts with local entertainment
Cloverdale has a Friday night concert series.
Sunset at Paradise Ridge Winery
Healdsburg has Tuesday evening concerts in the town plaza.
Santa Rosa's Julliard Park (just south of downtown) has Sunday evening concerts.
Also in Santa Rosa, Paradise Ridge Winery has a food truck and live band on Wednesday evenings--admission fee.
Windsor has music in the town square on Thursdays.

Summer outdoor movie nights

These aren't weekly, but happen occasionally  
At St. Francis Winery just east of Santa Rosa on Thursday evening. 
On the Windsor Town Green on Tuesday night.
"Moshin picture" nights at Moshin Winery outside of Healdsburg.

Evening Farmer's Markets

Healdsburg on Wednesday
Santa Rosa's is the biggest and it's on Wednesday evening though it's gone from a farmer's market to more of a flea market, but with lots of good "street eats."  
Rohnert Park and Occidental on Friday
Sonoma on Tuesday  
Windsor on Thursday


The Santa Rosa Junior College Planetarium puts on interesting shows. If you've been wine tasting all day remember not to fall asleep when you lean back your chair and they turn out the lights (at least don't snore). 

The Redwood Empire Ice Arena has adult hockey league play on many evenings.

Sunset on the beach. Pick a not-too-foggy evening, grab a blanket, or at least a jacket, and head over to the coast to watch the sun go down.

Dive Bars
John & Zeke's in Healdsburg

Okay, you want real local flavor plus you don't have to plan for a specific night because every night provides lots of entertainment.
In Sonoma, The Blue Moon Saloon. In Santa Rosa, Fiorino's and The Wagon Wheel. In Healdsburg, John & Zekes and B & B Saloon. In Guerneville, Stumptown Brewery.
Petaluma also seems to have a pretty good bar scene in that it occasionally gets rowdy and makes the news.

A Little Less "Divey"

In Sonoma Steiner's Tavern and Hopmonk (there's also a Hopmonk in Sebastopol). Belvedere and Toad in the Hole Pub in Santa Rosa. The town of Petaluma has a pretty good downtown bar scene.

Trendy Bars

So you didn't bring the right clothes for the dive bar scene and you want to go somewhere nicer for some reason. Some of the happenin' places around:
In Healdsburg Spoonbar is probably the newest, trendiest bar in the county.
Popular happy hour spots are Stark's Steakhouse, Jack & Tony's, Jackson's Bar, and John Ash, all in Santa Rosa. 
Clubs? Beats me. Ask someone younger. :)

Beer Bars

You might just get tired of wine. Some of these have the occasional evening entertainment.
In Santa Rosa Heritage House, Russian River Brewery, Sprenger's Tap Room, and Third Street Aleworks. In Healdsburg Bear Republic Brewery. In Sebastopol and Sonoma Hopmonk Tavern. In Petaluma Dempsey's and Lagunitas Brewery.

Gay Bars

Sonoma County was rated the 2nd "gayest" area in the country (behind SF, of course). The gay bar scene is concentrated in Guerneville along the river.

Current happenings

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Disclaimer: I work for one of the above establishments (no, not one of the dive bars).