Wine Country isn’t known for its night-owl disposition. In fact, if you’ve ever driven north from San Francisco after 8 p.m. the landscape quickly fades into a quiet darkness. So if you’re looking for late night grub, manage your expectations. Most Sonoma County restaurant kitchens close promptly at 9p.m. and you’ll likely be sitting in an empty dining room as the clock edges toward 9:30.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to grab a decent bite after dark. With longer days and warmer nights, some restaurants are expanding their summer hours and offering late night menus — especially on weekends — for nocturnal noshers.
Franco’s Ristorante: Snag some late night ‘za from 11:30 to 2:30am at Franco’s on Friday and Saturday nights. The outdoor patio (next to the Chrome Lotus club) will stay open after the restaurant closes at 10pm serving up pizza until last call. The only question is, why didn’t someone think of this before? 505 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 523-4800.
Tex Wasabi’s: Though the bar vibe has been notched down slightly since re-opening in May 2011, Guy Fieri’s rock and roll barbecue and sushi eatery is thumping even early in the evening. But if you’re looking to keep the party going, it’s a solid spot for spicy apps (Szechwan green beans, bbq sliders) and 64 ounce cocktails. Kitchen stays open until 11pm, sushi bar until midnight. 515 4th Street, Santa Rosa,
Rendez Vous: Late night bar menu includes truffled pommes fries, a petite tuna tartar, crisp polenta fries, battered lobster borchettes, shimp coctail and chef’s sliders. Belly up to the bistro from 9pm to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 10pm to 2am on Friday and Saturday night. Menu 614 4th Street, Santa Rosa, 526-7700.
Third St. Ale Works: Great burgers, fries, apps and pizzas at this downtown brew pub. If the raucous nighttime bar scene on Fourth St. isn’t your thing, you’ll dig the more relaxed beard and t-shirt vibe here. Kitchen open until 10pm Sunday and Monday, 11pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30pm Friday and Saturday. 610 Third St., Santa Rosa, 523-3060. If you’re a Russian River Brewing devotee, the nearby brewpub (725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa) serves food until 11:30pm, but expect the small bar area to be crowded with dedicated beer devotees (Pliny is a cult favorite), and food that’s pretty secondary to the suds.
Adel’s: Many a late-nighters have found breakfast-for-dinner salvation at this midnight diner. Conveniently located within stumbling distance of a number of local bars, it’s a friendly pit stop when you’re starving after dark. Open until midnight daily. 456 College Avenue, Santa Rosa, 578-1003.
Blue Label at the Belvedere: Recent additions to the evening menu have brought about a change for the burger-ier. Owner Bill Cordell (who also owns Superburger) has spent years perfecting the perfect patty, and at Blue Label, he seems to have found a creative outlet for his more ambitious creations. Choose from a menu that includes a burger topped with duck confit or Spam, along with more down-to-earth combos like the Sonoma picnic with a stack of fried onion straws on top. Open until 10pm Wednesday through Sunday. Pop downstairs to the bar after dinner to keep things thumping. 727 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa
Also in Santa Rosa: La Rosa Tequileria & Grille (500 Fourth St., Santa Rosa): open Friday, Saturday until at least 10pm; Jackson’s Bar & Oven (135 Fourth St., Santa Rosa), open Mon-Thursday until 10pm, Fri/Sat until 11pm; Stark’s Steakhouse (521 Adams St., Santa Rosa) all day dining menu until 10pm; Flavor Bistro (96 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa) open Mon-Fri until 10pm, Saturday until 11pm; La Texanita (1667 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa) open until 10pm Sun-Thu and 11pm Friday and Saturday. And of course, the Dogs from Chicago hot dog cart is open Friday and Saturday in Courthouse Square until 2am.
Underwood Bar & Bistro: The sound of chirping crickets is about all you’ll hear in West County after dark, aside from the quirky Underwood Bar & Bistro. Tucked away in the hamlet of Graton, Underwood attracts a cross-section of the county — from winemakers and artists to dealmakers and savvy tourists. Dinner and tapas until 10pm, and a late night menu of french onion soup, pizzettas, macaroni and cheese, harissa fries and a Niman Ranch burger after 10pm Friday and Saturday. 9113 Graton Rd., Graton, 823-7023.
Barley and Hops Tavern: Locals pack into this chummy hofbrau. Beer is king, but the kitchen turns out authentic pretzels, sausages along with burgers, sandwiches and salads. 688 Bohemian Hwy, Occidental. Serving dinner until 9:30pm everyday and until 10pm Fri & Sat year-round.
Healdsburg: Despite its sleepy rural locale, urban tourists and plenty of young food and wine industry workers make for a bustling late-night scene.
Spoonbar: The two-pronged lure of Scott Beattie’s haute mixology and Rudy Mihal’s spot-on bar bites makes this a popular apres-service hangout for restaurant folk. Hearty entrees like grilled lamb loin and braised short ribs are served until 11pm, but 4/$12 nibbles of marinated quail eggs, stuffed olives and lamb meatballs, along with sharable appetizers and half-size pasta plates (porcini mushroom with duck confit and truffle raviolis). Feeling especially munchie? Head straight for the spoonbar burger ($15) with sweet onion marmalade, applewood bacon, fresh horseradish and fries with aioli. Late night menu until 11pm daily. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 433-7222.
Barndiva: An abbreviated bar menu with a beefy Kobe burger, chopped chicken salad, Dungeness Crab Club and fries are served from 3pm until closing (11pm Wed, Thurs; midnight Friday and Saturday, and 10pm Sunday).
231 Center St., Healdsburg, 431-0100.
Also in Healdsburg: Baci Cafe and Wine Bar (336 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg), open Thursday through Saturday until 10pm; Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar (403 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg) open Fri/Sat until 10pm.
Girl and the Fig, 110 West Spain St., Sonoma, 938-3634. Late night brasserie menu until 11pm Friday and Saturday, regular menu until 10pm daily.
Have some favorites we missed? Comment below!