.Venus Spirits keeps it fresh

A constellation of events, plus a beer garden back on the wharf.

Venus Spirits (200 High Road, Santa Cruz) knows how to extend tractor beams to pull flavor astronauts into its orbit.

“Every event invites new faces and allows us to broaden our horizon, as far as new customers,” Head of Marketing Tory Leslie says. “Always changing it up keeps things fun for both guests and us.”

For “St. Pitties Week,” Venus’ Tasting Room creates a “When Pitties Fly” cocktail (March 14-17)—a botanical gin-and-peach punch in a complimentary commemorative glass, for $15—with 100% proceeds going to Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

Then National Pie Day (March 14) means complimentary coffee with a slice of pie, while guests can get their Easter Sunday pie and quiche pre-orders on.

In sync with International Women’s Month, a special tasting explosion follows with two female-owned guest stars (March 16). Bakes and Boards rolls out baked goods inspired by Venus’ new spring gin and its chamomile, rose and elderflower elements; meanwhile, the curated house goods pros at Rye Home—joining the neighborhood as soon as next month (719 Swift St. Suite 62, Santa Cruz)—offers cute cocktail kits. Plus there’s a distillery tour-tasting led by co-owner Grace Venus, and the official release of the aforementioned spring gin.

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Then comes cocktail class (March 20) with professional beverage coach Lindsay Eshleman stirring up lessons on distilling, gin variations and hands-on cocktail making.

That’s all followed by a Disco Brunch (March 23), and a magnetic “Forage & Feast: Venus Goes Vegan” (March 24). For the latter, aerial-yoga/natural foods savant Vega Bluem leads a Pogonip foraging hike and tea-making session, then Chef Daisy Keen crafts a five-course plant-based tasting menu with cocktail pairings. Dishes include sorrel vichyssoise, stinging nettle-tofu ricotta tortelloni, mushroom bourguignon and redwood panna cotta with rose-hip huckleberry gelée. Earthy and yummy. venusspirits.com

STOKE CITY

Last Sunday, the scoreboard the size of a house that hangs in San Francisco’s Chase Center was registering crowd noise, and Santa Cruz responded. The Pono Hawaiian Grill-sponsored “Stoke Meter” hit 100, and the Wave City Warriors—in San Francisco for a special appearance at big brothers’ place—responded with a comeback 112-105 win over fellow playoff contender Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Meanwhile, Pono (120 Union St.and 3744 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz) stays open longer on Santa Cruz game nights with drink deals and its Late Night Grind menu, and ranks among restaurant partners like Poké House, Mad Yolks and Woodstock Pizza. A handful of Sea Dubs home games remain, versus the G League Ignite (March 15, 16) and the South Bay Lakers (March 27), santacruz.gleague.nba.com.

SEASON GREETED

Humble Sea’s Santa Cruz Wharf beer garden (45 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz) is back live, with fresh beers by tap and can, ocean views, merch, plenty of picnic tables and BYO food from surrounding spots like Stagnaro Brothers and Riva Fish House,(humblesea.com)…The first  Santa Cruz Mountain Mushroom Festival is on the horizon (May 4-5) and will bring together known names in the mushroom community to spread culinary, cultivation, medicinal and scientific spores of knowledge at Roaring Camp (5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton), scmmfest.com…March is Hummingbird Month at UCSC’s Arboretum (Arboretum Road, Santa Cruz), as Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds proliferate and docent-led bird walks, talks by professional photographers and a natural history lecture also descend, arboretum.ucsc.edu…A Happy St. Patrick’s day quote to close: “Don’t throw away luck on little stuff,” author Tim O’Brien once said. “Save it up.”

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