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Who knew? I was heading up Congress in Old Town last night, and suddenly remembered this über-cool place I had always meant to spend time at with my most sophisticated friends – haha – and tonight I see it here, all aglow.

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Low lights, cabanas protected by high-end tents, rattan furniture, cool underwater murals, music, and yes, happy hour.

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This is the Wine Cabana (2539 Congress Street, Old Town, 619-574-WINE).

I head in to the bar with a beautiful tropical-blue fish tank, and behind the counter, KC the cook, and Sarah the barkeep/wine expert.

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On this side, Alan, who’s a kind of photographic wizard from the fine art photography gallery next door, and three or four cool Italian guys.

"This is sad," Alan says. "Look around at how beautiful it is."

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It's like relaxing in a sheikh's tent

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You feel…in. Arrived. Like you had a free pass to Studio 54, whatever, but without the crammed crowds.

So why the long faces?

Sarah puts on a grave smile.

“We’re closing, tonight.”

“You mean…?”

“Yes. No more,” she says.

Oh Lord.

Only one thing to do: Try to be happy in the last happy hour.

Actually it’s not that dramatically cheap. Salmon and goat cheese are $14, a “duo of cheese” is $10, “home-made peanut butter with apples," is $7.

Best deal seems to be pulled pork Hawaiian sliders ($8). They're “slightly roasted, jerk-spiced pork, slow-cooked with green peppers, onions. Served with a pineapple coleslaw.”

So, long story short, I order that and a glass of Argentinian Malbec ($10), and not cheap, but certainly good.

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First and last happy hour snacks

What I kick myself for: not bringing the beautiful Carla, to lounge away an evening here. It would have been so cool.

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Even the bathroom is a work of art

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R.I.P, Wine Cabana. Wish I could have known you better.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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