There’s a party over here.
There’s a party over there.
Throw your hands in the air. Shake your derriere.
OK, fair enough. The live music acts headlining three hard-charging foodie-friendly local concert series will not be playing Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is).”
But now that it’s summer in Santa Cruz, there is a party over here, and a party over there, and another over there, and they’re all free and al fresco for your derriere.
Party number one (in sequential order) is the Crow’s Nest summer beach party, happening 5:30pm until sunset every Thursday through Aug. 31, on the sand next to the storied Santa Cruz Harbor restaurant-entertainment venue.
From the grill leap ribs, tri-tip sandwiches, burgers, prawn skewers and barbecue chicken; from the bar arrives beer, wine, Moscow mules, margaritas, tsunamis and whiskey sours; from the stage come groups like Live Again (July 13), Izzy & The Haze (July 20) and Soulwise (July 27).
Also on Thursdays, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk hosts live music on the Colonnade 8:30-9:30pm through Aug. 10.
Santa Cruda (July 13), Tsunami Band (July 20) and The Deadlies (July 27) are on deck. The arcade and food purveyors like Cruzin’ Crepes and Seaside Fish & Chowder stay open late.
On Fridays, a modest parking lot transforms into a full-on fiesta with Midtown Summer Block Party.
Key draws like local artisans, food trucks and a robust live music lineup curated by Off The Lip Radio Show—upcoming acts include The Rayburn Brothers (July 14), Dirty Cello (July 21) and the Alex Lucero Band (July 28)—pull in as many as 1,000 people per installment.
Venus Beachside opens as this issue hits newsstands after an aggressive reshaping of its new Rio del Mar spot. The full drink menu features cocktails made with Venus Spirits’ locally distilled whiskey, gin, vodka, rum and agave spirits (which are also available for purchase) to go with lobster rolls, oysters and low country boils. The relocated and reimagined bar merits a pilgrimage by itself. Meanwhile sister spot Venus Pie Trap keeps dishing pizzas, sweet pies, bagels and coffee. venusspirits.com
TASTE BUD TRIP
Sampa Brazilian Kitchen, which gathered a loyal following for its Southern Hemisphere-style snacks at Woodhouse Brewing and Blending, has now opened a full-blown restaurant at the corner of Water Street and North Branciforte Avenue. The refurbished space stars Brazilian street food done with thoughtful and creative tweaks—think coxinha croquettes, carne louca nachos, churrascaria-style grilled meats and traditional feijoada stew—with local wines, 12 beers on tap (yes, starring Woodhouse favorites) and live music on weekends. sampabrazilianfood.com
Much-adored downtown Santa Cruz spot Soif hosted a compelling pop-up the other day. It featured veg-forward The Village, one of Big Sur’s most anticipated new restaurants in a while (scheduled for late summer), from Chef Tim Eelman and Beverage Director Matt Peterson, a Big Sur Food and Wine linchpin. The dining room buzzed with joy at the flavors on the plate, and news reopening of the Soif restaurant itself. Chef Santos Majano will debut Hook & Line, featuring locally-sourced seafood, in that space come October. As that happens, the wine bar Soif will get its reboot in a new location. In the meantime, the Wine Retail shop remains open with wines by the glass, flights, small plates and special off-the-menu tastings 5-7pm Thursdays. soif.com