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The Best Drink Ever here and we are excited to introduce you to some of our favorite bars in the Ventura County Coast. Sure, you know the area for their beautiful beaches, plentiful sun, inspiring vistas and delicious food. But did you know about their incredible cocktail bars?
From tiki bars with endless rum cocktails, to modern bars with classic cocktails, to spirit forward bars with a view, Ventura County Coast will delight and surprise you when it comes to cocktail culture. With so many cool spots in the region, our only challenge was where to start!
Serving up Polynesian-inspired cuisine along with an impressive array of modern tiki drinks and traditional cocktails, VenTiki Lounge and Lanai transports you to a true island oasis in Ventura. Owner Scott was inspired by the classic tiki restaurants he grew up with in the area and longed to see a return. He opened VenTiki in 2013 with an emphasis on delightful and imaginative cocktails and modern mixology.
Looking for a traditional tropical-island inspired drink? Grab a seat on the outdoor patio lounge or pull up a stool inside at the festive bar and prepare to be transported. If you’re in the mood for a traditional tiki cocktail, we’d recommend a Mai Tai. Invented by Trader Vic, VentTiki’s Mai Tais are made with lime and rum and without the addition of grenadine or pineapple. Their version of Mai Tai features Rhum Clément Silver Rum, Rhum Clément Gold Rum, and orgeat and will not disappoint. You even get to take home the VenTiki mug.
One of our favorite cocktails was the I.C.C. of ‘73. This 1973 International Cocktail Competition winning recipe includes gin, gold rum, disaronno, passionfruit syrup, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, orange curacao and blue curacao. VenTiki Bartender Ayreanna says, “It’s a definite must try on the menu.”
While planning our trip to Ventura County Coast, we discovered that Port Hueneme is one of the largest and busiest ports for bananas entering the U.S., and they even have an annual event to celebrate, Port Hueneme’s Banana Festival. So naturally, we had to try VenTiki’s Chunky Monkey, which celebrates this popular fruit with a delicious combination of pineapple, light rum, macadamia nut liqueur, banana liquor, Deadhead Chocolate Rum, liquid alchemist coconut, dark rum float and chocolate bitters. Make sure to try this with their Spamaggedon Sliders…you’re welcome.
Waterside Restaurant & Wine Bar in Oxnard serves seasonal California cuisine with a Mediterranean twist and their cocktails are not to be missed. With incredible views of the Channel Islands Harbor from nearly every seat, their impressive cocktails are always paired with stunning scenery.
In the mood for an elevated twist on a classic beachside cocktail? Try the Chambord Raspberry Margarita. Made with fresh raspberries, Chambord and tequila, this elegant take on a traditional margarita will elevate happy hour any day of the week.
Make sure to grab a seat outside for their amazing patio views while you enjoy their Jalapeno Basil Martini. Made with fresh lime juice, muddled jalapeno, St. Germain, Tanqueray and basil, how could you go wrong?
SLATE Bistro & Craft Bar is a contemporary and refined restaurant in Camarillo pairing classic American cuisine with an extraordinary craft cocktail list. The bistro opened in 2018 and has been surprising and delighting guests with their innovative and tasty cocktails (with cheeky names) ever since. Cocktail lovers will have a hard time choosing which to try. We recommend narrowing your options by alcohol base, sweetness preference or even color – there’s something for everyone and every mood.
When was the last time you had a purple cocktail? SLATE can give you a choice of no less than six options of purple concoctions . If you’re feeling sassy try the “Irresistible B*tch/Bad & Boujee” featuring vodka, St. Germain, lime juice, prosecco and pomegranate juice. “Underneath the Cream” is a take on a piña colada with Denizen Rum, pineapple juice, coconut water, lime juice, demerara syrup, lime pineapple foam, and tiki bitters. The drink is topped with a purple flower and palm leaves–it’s quite the stunner.
We think there’s something deeply satisfying about a traditional gin and tonic, but SLATE has leveled up this classic craft cocktail with the “Clean Slate.” The “Clean Slate” is a precise mix of Hendricks Gin, elderflower liqueur, aloe liqueur, butterfly pea simple syrup, lavender bitters, lime juice, and soda water. You’d be hard pressed to find a more refreshing and satisfying cocktail.
Feeling adventurous…this Amaterasu cocktail is the perfect balance of Nigiri sake, Shochu, Yuzu and Pomegranate. This cocktail pairs well with their amazing sushi selection.
The Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust is a chic and modern cocktail bar housed in a historic building in downtown Ventura near shopping and local landmarks. Our team loved the vibe here!
Located in the Bank of Italy building, a 1924 Beaux-Arts style two-story building first used as a bank, the Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust is an Italian-influenced bar and restaurant serving up classic cocktails and drinks with sophisticated style. Head here if you’re looking for a fresh craft spin on Italian cocktails.
There’s a bit of mysticism influenced in the decor of the bar with nods to fantastical stories (looking at you Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fans!) and this magic also gets influenced into the drinks they serve. Let your cocktail cast a spell over you and order a Longbottom (contratto aperitif, gin, lime, grapefruit, tarragon, and tonic), a Gandalf the Grey-hound (vodka, grapefruit, Italian stuff, and lemon), or an Order of the Phoenix (blanco tequila, strawberry, campari, vanilla, mezcal, bitter rhubarb, and lemon).
If classic cocktails are more your speed, order a traditional Negroni or try one with a twist. Their Coffee Negroni is made with gin, bitter aperitif, Vermouth, (local) Coffee Collective cold brew, Amaro di Angostura, and cacao. The Negroni Rosado is an inventive blend of mezcal, Cocchi Rosa Aperitif, grapefruit oils, Dry Vermouth, Oaxacan rum, and gentian. You may not recognize all these ingredients, but trust us, they are all delicious.
So where are you starting first? Take a trip to Ventura County Coast to stir up an unforgettable and delicious cocktail adventure.
About The Best Drink Ever
TBDE is a Los Angeles influencer team that is passionate about craft cocktails and sharing the great stories behind them. Their mission is to inspire you to try new drinks and share their stories. Follow @TheBestDrinkEver on Instagram to discover the best bars and bartenders on their search for The Best Drink Ever.