By Shawn Nesaw
Understanding that sometimes men just need a little time to BE MEN, we pulled together a “guys’ only” itinerary to Sonoma, sure to make you feel as though you’ve escaped to a personal “man cave” of epic proportion when you’re most in need. In for the weekend? Here’s what to do.
Friday Night: Sonoma Springs Brewing Company
Kick off your weekend at a local spot that features some of California’s own craft brews at Sonoma Springs Brewing Company. The taproom combines the feelings of a German beer hall with the added character of Sonoma sophistication.
Seasonal selections are always available and a wide selection of over 20 beers on tap ensures even the pickiest beer drinker can be satisfied. If you’re looking for the brewery’s staple, you must try the Sonoma Springs Kolsch, with apricot notes throughout and a strong body that delivers refreshment.
Saturday Brunch: Fremont Diner
Start your day off on the right foot by visiting the Fremont Diner in Sonoma, featuring breakfast all day and a robust selection of local beers.
Voted as the 2017 People’s Choice Award winner for the best BBQ in Sonoma, Fremont Diner also has tremendous Nashville hot chicken on the menu (complete with a waffle) and a hearty breakfast menu including pancakes, biscuits, eggs and a unique selection of egg and potato specialties.
Saturday Afternoon: Wing & Barrel Ranch
After filling up at the Fremont, head on over to Wing & Barrel Ranch for an experience sure to get the blood rushing. The venue is known for its world-class sporting clays shooting course.
Novices need not worry, as the expert instructors are trained to the highest extent of safety and offer education classes for men, women and youth shooters alike.
Wing & Barrel Ranch does it right, with custom gun-fitting for all levels of shooters available at the pro shop from some of the finest instructors in California.
Saturday Night: Russian River Brewing
Seasonal favorite Pliny the Younger (released every February) made them famous, but Russian River scores high marks for its wide selection of beers on tap.
The aforementioned Pliny the Younger is decorated, receiving awards on an annual basis which has yielded a devoted fan-base.
If Pliny the Younger isn’t around when you visit (which is probably won’t be due to it’s super limited availability), the year-round selection of two IPAs, Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder, are sure to please. In particular, Pliny the Elder is a slightly bitter brew, with floral, citrus and pine influences.
You won’t leave hungry, either. The meatball sandwich is a top seller and a massive variety of pizzas, highlighted by the “Mikey” (with pepperoni, sausage and onions), are fan favorites.
Sunday Morning: Dierks Parkside Café
Voted Sonoma County’s best breakfast in 2016, a drive over to Santa Rosa is well worth it for the pull-apart bread with cinnamon and sugar.
Opened in 2006, the eatery also boasts an elevated potato hash with the flare of duck confit and “Stacks of Jacks” for pancake lovers looking to load up on carbs.
The pull-apart bread is affectionately a family staple and it’s hard to argue the menu’s claim that they are better than donuts.
Sunday Afternoon: Matanzas Creek Winery
A little Sunday afternoon exploring leads you to Matanzas Creek Winery, where the bocce courts give you an injection of sports and a laidback atmosphere without working up a sweat.
As an added bonus, the winery produces giftsets that serve as excellent souvenirs, so be sure to surprise your significant other with a Lavender Radiance Basket, which includes Lavender Chamomile Balm, Lavender Shower Gel/Bubble Bath, Lavender Spray and Potpourri.
You’ll score some extra bonus points with that special someone by thinking of them while you’re having a weekend to yourself.
Sunday Night: B & V Whiskey Bar & Grille
Your weekend has just hours remaining and you’d like to send it off on a good note. B & V Whiskey Bar has just the cure.
Led by award-winning Chef, Carlo Cavallo, B & V has over 25 imported bourbons to choose from, and they all promise to give you a warm, comforting feeling.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the Hudson flight is right up your alley, with Manhattan Rye, Baby Bourbon and Four Grain Bourbon as featured selections.