Updated: Mar 20, 2021
Sometimes you just want to keep the good feeling going after a nice dinner. Imagine ending your night at a nice bar or lounge with a drink like a tawny port, old fashioned, or glass of Champagne. Doesn’t that sound nice? If you’re like me and spend a good chunk of time carefully crafting an outfit to get dolled up for a dinner out, maybe you don’t want to end the night when your dinner reservation wraps up. Maybe you’d rather continue the conversation elsewhere and grab an after-dinner drink. Luckily there are plenty of options in the Claremont Village that provide a great ambiance and an impressive selection of adult beverages. So don’t race home just yet into your PJs after-dinners and watch Seinfeld reruns, make your night memorable by going to these places in Claremont to grab the perfect after dinner drink.
Citrus Grove Distillers. Did you know that Claremont has this neat little distillery tucked away outside of the village? Well there is and you have to make it a part of your nightly plans to visit this hidden gem off the beaten path. To be admitted inside, you have to purchase a lifetime membership to the distillery that’s $20 however it includes your first drink. They serve “out of this world” probably because the region's finest mixologists have curated and crafted them. In my last visit, I ordered the smoked old fashioned and the darn thing came out in an enclosed case full of hickory smoke. It was so extra and exactly what I needed in my life! My favorite time of year to visit is during the winter holidays their drinks are so festive by decorating them with pine and holly. Gotta love that holiday spirit! It’s cozy inside but feels very intimate and since it’s located in an industrial center, there’s an exclusive feel to it. Swing by after your lovely dinner out and make one of their cocktails the cherry on top of your night.
Ironbark Ciderworks. Did you know there is a cidery in Claremont? Indeed there is and they have unique and tasty ciders for days. Located off Claremont Blvd (in the same center as Claremont Craft Ales and Citrus Grove Distillers), Ironbark Ciderworks has a two-page menu of various ciders, ample outdoor seating with heaters, ambient lighting, and (most of time) a food truck.
The ciders I have tried and recommend are the Duchess (their flagship cider steeped in Earl Grey), Impeached (peach cider), Sassy Simpson (black currant cider), and Passionista (passionfruit cider). Other "must-try" interesting ciders are the Hot Elderberry Chai, Elderberry Sherry, and Glitter cider (with a dash of drinkable sparkles!). Definitely get a flight of cider because you won't be able to choose just one.
Walking inside the vibe is very "woman empowerment" which I totally dig. The bar is pink with disco balls hanging from the ceiling and women portraits hanging throughout. There's also a cool goddess mural outside perfect for a photo op.
The owner Cat is incredibly hospitable, too. She is sure to check on you and also get to know you a bit! I also was thoroughly impressed by their music selection. As soon as the song By Your Side came on by Sade, I knew that was a wrap!
Casa 425 Lounge. Casa 425 Lounge is a hotel bar inside of Hotel Casa 425 on First Street. Any chance I get to hang out at a hotel lounge bar- I’m there! Did you know that anyone can access the lounge through the front hotel entrance or enter through the back gate? You’ll want to sit outside if the weather is just right because there are tons of stringed lights and fire-pits and hear the sounds of flowing water from the fountain. What’s great is that the fire-pit seating is open for anyone so you’re likely to chat up a local or start a conversation with a hotel guest from out of town. If you feel like sitting indoors, their indoor fireplace is a super cozy spot to cuddle up and have a hot toddy or Manhattan. They have excellent cocktail choices and appetizer menu options for a late-night snack. Check out their Instagram for photos.
The Back Abbey. The Back Abbey is a lively and bustling gastropub in the heart of the Claremont Village. They have an impressive selection of Belgium, German, and English beer in the area by far and you have to go at least once if you’re in the village. They even serve beers that are pretty rare and hard to come by (especially on tap) like Klokke Roeland, de Garr, Avec les bons Voeux, and Straffe Hendrick. What’s neat is that every beer is served in its proper glass. For example, if you order a Kwak (Belgian Strong Pale Ale) they will serve it to you in a wooden contraption and if you order a Tripel Karmeliet it will come in a nice-looking goblet style glass. If you’re craving an after-dinner snack, order their pomme frites which are double-fried in duck fat. It will go perfect with your Belgian beer or glass of wine - to which they have an impressive selection. Enjoy your after-dinner beer or wine in their outdoor sitting area that’s strung with lights and has a retro vibe. You might even luck out and hear some live music in the patio which they host occasionally.
Packing House Wines. The best is always saved for last AMIRITE? Packing House Wines is a cozy wine shop, bar, and restaurant in the Claremont Packing House and is probably my #1 choice where I grab an after-dinner drink. I say that because they have the best wine selection in town, their bar top is inviting and comfortable, and their staff is super knowledgeable and passionate about wine. Need I say anything more? Some great options for an after-dinner drink maybe a nice glass of Port, Cava, or Champaign. If you’ve saved room for dessert their churros are phenomenal, and their chocolate mousse pie is purely decadent. If you don’t want to stay awhile but would still like an after-dinner drink, no problem! Just pick out a bottle of wine, check it out at the counter and enjoy your last drink from the comfort of your own home.
The Press Restaurant. Okay so I know The Press has been closed since March 2020 but I am hanging on to the hope that one day The Press will open back up. Wishful thinking, I know, but I've had way too many memories to not mention them in this post. When they open up, it is the perfect place to kick your night into the next gear. The Press has live music almost every night of the week. On weekend nights, after dinner service, you’re sure to happen upon a live DJ or a rock, folk, soul, or indie band. The Press is also the sort of place where it’s nothing but friendly vibes where interesting conversations with strangers are up for grabs. You may even leave having made a new friend or two. Be sure to try their craft cocktails, wine, or local beer on tap. If you’re hungry get their nachos! They’re the best in town and anyone who is a die-hard “Press Goer” (totally made up by yours truly) would agree with me. Check out their Instagram for photos.
What places in Claremont or the surrounding area do you most enjoy for your last drink of the night? Let’s chat about it in the comments below and perhaps we’ll uncover a few more gems to explore. But for now, adios amigos.
Photography Credits: All photos and videos were taken by the author of this blog.