Midtown Ventura isn’t exactly known for designer cocktails or, for that matter, farm-to-table food. That could be changing, though. Discovery Ventura recently opened up and with it came a slew of drinks, activities and food stuffs you’d be hard pressed to find among the car lots and paint shops the area has historically been known for.
It’s hard to miss the place on Thompson Boulevard, with its bright off-white lit sign and outdoor fireplace. Indoors, a wraparound bar is lined with big screens enough to capture from any angle the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony fiasco when the fifth ring didn’t open properly. Of course, with a few drinks in you, most of the Olympics will seem mildly amusing.
The bartenders at Discovery know their customers. Upon ordering Surf Brewery’s Lemon Wahine Wheat, I was asked if I wanted a 22-ounce pour or a 14-ounce pour. Maybe it wasn’t a conscious move, but when my eyebrow was raised in the “You’ve got to be joking” way in, which it does when I’m asked if I want a small or large beer, the bartender nodded and returned with 22 ounces of the lemony, citrusy and refreshing brew. If it’s cocktailsyou’re after, look no further than Discovery. Even the vodka soda seemed to have a bit of a higher class about it when it was served in a heavy-set glass, topped with a slice of fresh lime.
For the record, no, we weren’t able to play pool or shuffleboard that night. Unfortunately, Discovery is just too popular, and for good reason. On a Friday night, all of the bowling lanes and the activities were populated by locals who, for ages, had to drive to Downtown or elsewhere for their kicks. It’s a testament to the area. Though surrounded by an industrial vibe of Old Ventura, the clientele come down from the hills to enjoy a (large) pour of Firestone’s 805, or even Chimay Blanche, which is not often found on tap in Ventura.
Come for the bowling or pool, stay for the restaurant and the bar. There’s plenty to discover at Discovery. Spirits will be provided, you bring the appetite.
Chris O’Neal is known far and wide for his plundering ways. Follow him on Twitter @agentoneal.