With longer days and warmer evenings, Benicia is bustling with people having a good time as the sun goes down. Whether you’re looking for dinner and a play, drinks and live music, or something else, there’s lots to choose from here. Check out this sampling:
Get your weekend started early by hitting Benicia’s Farmers Market held every Thursday 4-6 p.m. through October. Located on First Street between B and D streets, this small town outdoor market offers everything from seasonal produce to live music.
Shop for the weekend, bring the kids to get their faces painted, and enjoy a delicious meal downtown.
On the first and third Friday of every month, Benicia offers an evening of mystery, excitement, and paranormal exploration. Guests 10 and older are invited to join a guided ghost tour of Benicia’s haunted hideaways. Dare to discover what’s on the other side. Tours begin at 8 p.m. and last approximately two hours. The price per person is $25. For reservations call 707-745-9791 or visit the website.
Sip on amazing gourmet cocktails at one of the Bay Area’s premier entertainment and drinking establishments, The Rellik Tavern. This elegant lounge offers more than 40 customized specialty drinks, over 100 fine wines by the glass or bottle, and 24 microbrews on tap. Every night is a party at The Rellik. Get in the game on Tuesdays with “Tacos, Teas and Trivia,” and for musicians, Open Mic night. Every Wednesday is Dueling Pianos night, and Thursdays is “Ladies and the Eighties.” There’s also live music Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, check out The Rellik’s event calendar.
A “steampunk-inspired” Irish tasting room and beer garden, Cullen’s Tannery Pub is the place to go for handcrafted spirits and beers from all over the world. Kick it with friends on Cullen’s dog-friendly patio overlooking the Carquinez Strait, or participate in tasting events where you can enjoy special tastings of beers, wines and spirits the second Saturday of each month. And check out the unique shops inside the historic Tannery Building while you’re there. For event details visit the website.
Rookie’s Sports Bar and Grill, where the motto is Eat, Drink, Play – Repeat. This 5,000-square-foot bar and restaurant has lots of big-screen TVs, sports memorabilia, pool, and menu full of delicious items.
New to downtown Benicia is the “Cabana,” an outdoor dining and music venue located behind Lucca Bar & Grill. At the Cabana, guests can enjoy a full barbecue menu and afternoon live music by artists of various genres. Coming soon, the Cabana will offer more than 20 different drafts on tap. Beer aficionados will be able to enjoy everything from seasonal microbrews to macrobrewery favorites. For more information and a list of upcoming artists visit their Facebook page.
Music lovers won’t want to miss Upstairs @ the Café, located above First Street Café where artists range from retro cover bands to solo guitarists. This downtown landmark is a great place to sip on wine, relax, and enjoy views of the water. Check out their events page for upcoming live entertainment.
A great place to relax and unwind is the appropriately named, “The Chill.” This wine and beer bar has a great selection and knowledgeable bartenders who will help you find exactly what you like. Enjoy a warm summer night on The Chill’s pup-friendly patio, or take part in one of their events. For more information, check out their Facebook page.
The Loft Wine Bar has a warm, inviting atmosphere with oak barrels and rich marble. More than 40 wines are available by the glass, with new options arriving monthly. Visit their Facebook page for the latest.
Downtown Benicia has no shortage of great places to go for a drink, entertainment, and more. Many of the restaurants on First Street also offer great bars with views and a terrific selection of specialty drinks and cocktails. Check out the amazing views of the bay at Sailor Jacks and the old world charm of the Union Hotel. Also on First Street is Elviarita’s Mexican Bar & Grill. Check out their full bar, and enjoy an icy margarita.
Live Theater and Comedy
Lovers of live entertainment will want to watch the event schedule of Benicia Old Town Theatre Group (BOTTG), where artists have been entertaining guests for more than 50 years. BOTTG’s fall production will be Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” or Holmes for the Holidays. Be sure to get your tickets early by visiting the website.
Movie Night Under the Stars
Take the whole family out on a date night in the park for Movie Night Under the Stars. Bring a blanket, low-back chairs, pillows, and a picnic dinner to the City Park gazebo located on the corner of First Street and Military West. Admission and popcorn are free, but get there early because this popular outdoor event fills up fast. This summer’s lineup includes “Inside Out” on Friday, July 22. All movies are rated PG and begin at dusk. No pets allowed.
With so much to see and do in Benicia, you’ll want to fuel up with a delicious dinner before embarking on an evening of fun. There are loads of great restaurants and bars on or near First Street. Check out the dining directory.
For more information on the many shops, galleries, bars and eateries in Benicia, please peruse VisitBenicia.org/businesses/.