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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.


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


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.


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."


It's like relaxing in a sheikh's tent


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.


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.


Even the bathroom is a work of art


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


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