By: Gabi Garrett, BellaMagazine.com
There is no better way to rekindle your love of your own backyard than to show someone else the wonders you’ve found as you frolic about on the weekends.
We’ve rounded up some favorite local establishments to create what we think is the best weekend ever. Take this outline to entertain family or friends coming from out of town, or to treat yourself to a weekend out on town. Cheers to loving it local!
Starting with our Friday evening, we hit up the South of Government district, or SOGO, for a few creative takes on happy hour, and a delightful dinner.
So Gourmet – Wine & Olive Oil Tasting
• What’d we try? A large nan cracker with snack size portions of olives, cheese, nuts and gummy-style fruit.
• Who is the best fit to bring with you? Your girlfriends after work, before joining your dates for dinner, or anytime you want to make your evening special.
• How much can you expect to spend? $12 per bottle of wine, $5 per glass and $18 per snack plate. You can also add additional cheese by the pound.
• When can you go? SOGO offers a tasting of a wine and cheese daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• How does SOGO love it local? “The culture, entertainment and Southern hospitality. Oh, and the weather, most of the time!,” said Margarette Johnson, SOGO’s event coordinator.
Nom Sushi Izakaya
• What’d we try? A flight of sake to start, followed by a delicious sake lemonade cocktail. For our dinner selections, we ordered a few shareables. We enjoyed the steamed pork belly buns, a veggie roll, the Artisan roll and spicy sesame ramen.
• Who is the best fit to bring with you? Nom is a great place for date night or a double date. When entertaining, it’s a wonderful place to observe the vibrant scene downtown while enjoying delicious drinks and shareables you wouldn’t likely find elsewhere.
• How much can you expect to spend? Between $60 to $90 per couple.
• When can you go? Nom is open Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
• How does Nom love it local? Owner Brad Jones says, “Gotta love the beach, but downtown is a great place to eat and drink. Pensacola is home to me, I’ve moved away and came back, and it’s just comfortable. It’s not too big and not too small.”
Take this outline to entertain family or friends coming from out of town, or to treat yourself to a weekend out on the town.
Once we woke up from our sushi induced sleep, we popped out of bed to head to the beach on Saturday morning. We are lucky we get to explore the historical downtown district, and our fun vibrant beach area here in Pensacola.
Cactus Flower – Beach Picnic
• What’d we try? We scooped up salsa, tortilla chips and a round of tacos for everyone. Just enough food to munch on throughout the afternoon.
• Who is the best fit to bring with you? The beach is great for a group of friends, picking up your food en route to the beach can make your prep work minimal — perfect for an easy going Saturday lunch.
• How much can you expect to spend? $12 per person.
• When can you go? Cactus Flower is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily on the Boardwalk.
• What do you need for picnic supplies? Cactus Flower will supply you with all the paper goods you need, just bring a blanket and your favorite drinks — you’re set!
• How does Cactus Flower love it local? “Serving up margaritas, quesadillas and the beach’s favorite tacos are amongst our favorite things, but mostly we love serving up memories,” shared manager Mike Hope.
The Wine Bar & Bistro on the Boardwalk
• What’d we try? After a fun afternoon on the beach, we popped in to have a nice glass of wine and share a charcuterie and cheese board.
• Who is the best fit to bring with you? The Wine Bar is great for groups of friends who have been hanging out on the beach, or those who want to pop in for a romantic evening. It’s a local’s hangout so you can expect to have fun and meet new people while hanging out at the restaurant.
• How much can you expect to spend? For a cheese and charcuterie board and glass of wine, you can expect to spend about $20 to $30 per person. Entrées range from $16 to $24.
• When can you go? The Wine Bar is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, brunch starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday and the restaurant closes at 9 p.m.
• How does Wine Bar love it local? “Wine bar is my family; people come here to socialize, it is a gathering event every time we open our doors,” said Lucas Moore, wine bar supervisor of five years.
To round up our amazing weekend, we had to recap all the fun we had entertaining our friends on Sunday morning.
Recapping over Bloody Mary’s
Five Sisters Brunch
• What’d we try? We started off brunch with a round of mimosas, then added in a Bloody Mary with a chicken wing — yes, you read that right! Next, we dived into beingets. For our main course, we had chicken and waffles and a fried green tomato benedict. The fried chicken with two Southern sides is also a popular menu item.
• Who is the best fit to bring with you? At the end of an entertaining weekend, sneaking away with your significant other can be a nice way to end the fun weekend. Though it’s tempting to stay in bed on Sunday morning, getting out and enjoying your weekend in the morning is a nice way to wrap up the fun and still leaves you time to rest up before the week begins.
• How much can you expect to spend? About $50 to $60 per couple.
• When can you go? Brunch starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings, crowd begins at 11 a.m. — so get there early! Five Sisters is also open for lunch and dinner during the week.
• How does Five Sisters love it local? “I’ve grown up here, and to continue to be a part of downtown’s growing scene makes me so happy,” shared Lauren Smith, Five Sisters catering manager.