Bar Review: Vino Nostra (Fullerton, California)

Wine Bar Review, WINE BAR REVIEW?

I know exactly what you are thinking, this is a BOURBON blog. Well, one has to diversify at times and this is that time. We have friends and relatives who own wineries, wine bars, restaurants, and craft breweries. I have to give some quality time to my friends of the grape and hops.


On Saturday we stopped by Vino Nostra, a wonderful “Retail, Beer, and Wine Bar” in Fullerton, California. We were there to pick up our June Wine Club bottles. Vino Nostra is the creation of Dena and Kevin David. Dena has been involved in the wine and restaurant business for years and she has put that knowledge and experience to good use.


On their website they have the following quote:

“Grapes. One of the crops that helped found northern Orange County. Grapes and wine, in part, founded Fullerton, and in that tradition, Vino Nostra was created.”

The Wine Club (which is filling up quickly), is unique in that Dena selects 3 unique wines for you quarterly and as part of the club there is a private reception to pick up your wines where you can taste them while enjoying small bites, cheese, fruit, and this month we enjoyed some delicious tri-tip sliders!


More importantly it’s a great spot to try a huge selection of unique wines and craft beer. They have small bites available daily. With very friendly owners and staff its always warm and welcoming. Dena has been creative in having Tastings and Tacos on the 1st Tuesday of the month, regular Thirsty Thursdays, and the 2nd Sunday of the month an “Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social” with some cider for the ice cream.  They are also one of the hosts the Fullerton Art Walk.


Vino Nostra is open Tuesday through Sunday until 10:00 PM, opening times vary by day. It’s a short walk for us, but worth the drive from your home or office. Give it a try and you will discover one of the best spots in Downtown Fullerton!

Bar Review: The Cellar Restaurant & Spirit Room (Fullerton, CA)

The Cellar Restaurant & Spirits Room as penned on their website says:

The Cellar in Fullerton is Orange County’s premier fine dining experience featuring one of the country’s largest and most exclusive wine lists. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a larger gathering of friends, family or for business…

What it doesn’t say is they have a great bar! This is a place to go for a drink, small plates at the bar, or an elegant dinner. It is literally in the cellar of Fullerton, California’s Historic Villa del Sol, built in 1922.


The interior of The Cellar was conceived and designed by craftsmen from Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean in 1969. You descend a flight of dimly lit stairs into the old world. The dimly lit restaurant is true to the 20’s and festive at the same time. Fun Fact: Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor (for the second time) in a secluded booth in the cellar.

Ryan Dudley, the owner, has worked hard to keep it current, yet classic, including hiring bartenders with a flair for the history of classic cocktails and spirits (you can check out their bar menu here). They have a good selection of quality Bourbons and Ryes and they make a terrific “Old Fashioned.” Orange Coast Magazine’s February 2016 issue named the “Original Manhattan (1870)” from the Spirit Room at The Cellar as one of the tastiest cocktails in Orange County!

Photo from The Cellar’s website

Ryan’s creative approach to marketing the restaurant is to even have classes in the bar. We attended one on making “The Classic Old Fashioned.” What great fun we had that night.  It’s become my regular recipe, which I’ll share in the next couple weeks.

After a play last Thursday, Lynn and I wandered down to The Cellar for dinner (we’re in walking distance!) and split the “Steak Sandwich.” I had an Old Fashioned and Lynn had one of their specialty cocktails, “Just Peachy,” with peach, lemon, bitters, and bourbon. We like The Cellar for drinks and a bite after a play or movie, champagne after midnight on New Year’s Eve, or a well deserved dinner out.

I can’t say enough about the feeling of drinking an old fashioned in the ambiance of The Cellar.   You feel like you are back in the 20’s when Vila del Sol was built. It is truly as magical as the Disney artisans intended. Sit at the bar or one of their cozy booths and check out their list of specialty cocktails or order your favorite, you won’t be disappointed.

This is a Bourbon Blog but I have to mention they have a spectacular wine selection if you or your company doesn’t want bourbon (on Wednesdays they have 1/2 price bottles of wine). As I sit here writing this week’s blog I am dying for some of their Truffle Macaroni and Cheese and they are closed on Mondays! You can order small plates or a full meal at the bar. We love making a meal out of small plates. You can have the Lobster Bisque, Bone Marrow, Escargot…   There is no end to the choices but do end the evening with a Soufflé!

From The Cellar’s Facebook page