Where to Go for Late Night Drinks and Bites in Napa

Nightlife destinations can be hard to find in Wine Country. These new lounges and bars are changing that.

The last time I went barhopping and stayed out past midnight was several years ago – okay, maybe it’s been more than a decade. It’s not just that I’m getting older, but that late nights have long been hard to accomplish in Wine Country. Sidewalks generally roll up early here and nightlife destinations can be hard to find.

Downtown Napa is finally changing that. Some new places are – gasp – open until 2 a.m.


The stunning, glittery setting and exotic spirits selection lets us know Napa is truly arrived. Some 80 Tequilas and 40 mezcals showcase boutique, family-owned labels from across Mexico City and tequila-producing villages. There are also a few craft beers (try the Farmer’s Valle Mexican Style Lager brewed with estate grown sushi rice) plus a tight list of international wines (a divine Territorio Cepa La Casa de las Locas Godello from Spain).

At Chispa in downtown Napa. (Haley Robinson)
At Chispa in downtown Napa. (Haley Robinson)

Sip: My three friends and I shared four drinks, because it was challenging to choose from the delicious sounding choices curated by bar manager Marco Garcia. The pretty-in-pink Side Eye blossoms with Lalo Blanco tequila, hibiscus, herbaceous Granada Vallet liqueur from Hidalgo, Mexico and lime, while the Scenic Sling beckons with Cimarron Blanco Tequila, fresh lemon, seasonal Silverado Trail strawberries, floral Cocchi Rosa Italian red wine and fresh lemon.

For more mainstream but still invigorating drinks, go for a Highball or El Tesoro Blanco and Ultra carbonated soda water, or the House Margarita of Libélula Joven Tequila, blue agave, orange liqueur and fresh lime.

At Chispa in downtown Napa. (Haley Robinson)
At Chispa in downtown Napa. (Haley Robinson)

Nosh: There’s the same “choice challenge” with chef Mac De Chavez’s (formerly of St. Helena’s Charter Oak) intriguing takes on bar bites with accents from his Filipino heritage. So we nibbled on a handful of delights, including crispy, pork stuffed lumpia drizzled in a flame-throwing hot chile sauce with chile threads and more fiery, sliced chiles on top. Kung Pao octopus is the must-get dish, the seafood so firm and tender, and laced with peanuts, peppers and chilies in a silky, milder sauce.

Where: 1500 First St., Suite 140, Napa, (no listed phone), chispabar.com

Hours: 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Fink

Owner Judd Finkelstein has always adored lounge life, even as he ran his Judd’s Hill winery in Napa (insiders knew he entertained with a pop-up tiki lounge there). This “real” lounge wows with some 70 cocktails, divided into geographical categories like L.A. to Bay, Gotham City, Latin America, Caribbean, and Europe. Cool bonus: The Napa Riverfront space is decorated like an ancient ship (if such ships had leather couches and Persian rugs).

Sip: Master bartender Andrew Salazar makes all his own syrups, tinctures and milks, and comes up with some outrageous joys. Try something really wild, such as the Queen Anne’s Revenge, in a crazy tasty mix of Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof rum with Cynar, pineapple gomme syrup, and Ohm coffee bitters. Cynar is an Italian aperitif made from 13 herbs and plants, predominantly artichoke. Gomme syrup is gum arabic that adds a hint of pleasing viscosity, and the bitters are handmade from Napa’s Ohm Coffee Roasters beans.

The cocktail Iuka's Grog includes dark Jamaican rum, Demerara rum, lime, pineapple and passionfruit juices, and a signature "The Fink" swizzle stick at The Fink, a new craft cocktail bar with the theme of an old boathouse in Napa, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (Beth Schlanker / The Press Democrat)
Iuka’s Grog includes dark Jamaican rum, Demerara rum, lime, pineapple and passionfruit juices, and a signature “The Fink” swizzle stick at The Fink, a new craft cocktail bar with the theme of an old boathouse in Napa. (Beth Schlanker / The Press Democrat)
The decor in The Fink, a new craft cocktail bar goes with the theme of an old boathouse in Napa, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (Beth Schlanker / The Press Democrat)
The decor at The Fink, a new craft cocktail bar, goes with the theme of an old boathouse in Napa. (Beth Schlanker / The Press Democrat)

Nosh: Simple fare is more of an afterthought, with chile-braised beef tacos, a mini margherita pizza, and hummus with pizza. But some nights, you might be surprised with “lobsta rolls” dolloped in Tsar Nicolai caviar (this is the new Napa, after all).

Where: 530 Main St., Napa, 707-266-5940, thefinknapa.com

Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Bitter Bar

The section of Main Street between Third and Second streets is called The Block Party, because owner Mick Salyer operates ZuZu, La Taberna, Hank’s Takeway, and The Bitter Bar all within that stretch. You have to know where this speakeasy spot is, hidden behind the sidewalk café takeout window of Hank’s – you pull on a coatrack on a mirror door in the foyer, and voila, you’re transported to a dark, sexy, pre-Prohibition-style room lined with fern and flora wallpaper, glittering crystal chandeliers, a curved, polished wood bar backed by mirrors, and small tables and velvet booths set with flickering votives.

Sip: A short list of cocktails adds extra cool-factor, baby, with such unlikely combinations you’ll want to adventure through them all. The Afterglow sings with Ron Colón Salvadoreño Red Banana Oleo Rum (real banana), Oloroso dark sherry, citrus, berries, lemongrass and sparkling. Dive in, too, for a crisp Don’t Hit Me James, a twist  on Pimm’s Cup with gin, melon, citrus, and a dash of earthy black sesame soda.

Bites from La Taberna can be ordered to (Nicola Parisi)
Bites from La Taberna can be ordered to Bitter Bar from Hank’s Takeaway window. (Nicola Parisi)
The Bitter Bar. (Nicola Parisi)
The Bitter Bar. (Nicola Parisi)
Empanadas from La Taberna. (Nicola Parisi)

Nosh: Order some bites from Salyer’s other spots. Hank’s is open to 9 p.m., sending out to-go tapas from ZuZu and La Taberna like boquerones (Spanish white anchovies with sliced egg and remoulade on grilled bread), wild mushroom and goat cheese empanadas, beef cheek empanadas, and ham bocadillo with avocado, sherry aioli and piparras peppers.

Where: 823 Main St. Napa, bitterbarnapa.com

Hours: 5 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday-Sunday

The Lincoln

Owners and casino/nightclub entrepreneurs Mike LeBlanc and Adam Snyder know how to put together a vibrant hangout. This beautifully designed spot is high fashion, from its bolted stainless-steel bar flanked by weathered brick to a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and an outdoor cabana lounge with individual firepits.

Sip: Craft cocktails like the Hot Piece of Houston mixing Milagro Blanco with pineapple, guajillo chile syrup and lime, or the delicious, zero-proof Green Flash drink of kiwi, pineapple and sparkling apple cider over crushed ice (you’ll love the slurpable boba hidden at the bottom). Draft beer refreshes – the creative, seasonal Mare Island Brewery selections are standouts – and there are lots of fine California wines, like the limited production Cattleya Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

At The Lincoln in downtown Napa. (Kristen Loken)
Burger from The Lincoln in downtown Napa. (Kristen Loken)
Cocktails from The Lincoln in downtown Napa. (Kristen Loken)

Nosh: “Hash mac.” Really. It sounds like a starchy, gloppy nightmare, threatening with a marriage of macaroni and cheese and hash browns, but it is a mouthwatering marvel. The sauce is sublimely creamy and studded with zingy Fresno chiles over the fusilli pasta, and the browns come as a 30-layer potato au gratin chunk that somehow remains pillowy with a buttery inside and a crisp crust.

Where: 505 Lincoln Ave., Napa, 707-699-2276, thelincolnnapa.com

Hours: Happy hour 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. plus full bar 3:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.


Longtime local favorite ZuZu expanded last fall, adding a global, gin-based cocktail bar to its Spanish-inspired restaurant. Gin is beloved around the world, crafted in London, France, Spain, Vietnam, Ireland, India, Mexico City, Scotland, Italy, Japan, Healdsburg and Chicago, among other spots. Sit at the sleek white tiled bar, or at the surrounding wood bistro tables, and explore the world in your glass.

Sip: You can select from the house crafted list – the Early Girl Spritz is a standout, with Manchego gin, tomato water, sparkling wine, golden balsamic and simple syrup. Or select from one of nearly 20 global gins (try Ki No Tea from Kyoto, Japan, brimming with notes of yuzu, bamboo, gyokuro tea, and sansho pepper), choose your tonic from a rainbow list, and make a custom G&T.

Nosh: Savor tapas all day and night, then nibble late night snacks such as fire roasted mussels, fire roasted shrimp, and chicken croquettas.

Where: 829 Main St., Napa, 707-224-8555, zuzunapa.com

Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, with late night bites running until “closing,” which is generally 11-ish.