Concerts in Your Car, Best Drive-In Event

There was a time when the drive-in was a relic of a simpler, less advanced time — enjoyable for its old-fashioned charm and (for those of us old enough to remember) perhaps a bit of nostalgia. Thanks to a certain virus, something old feels new again. Vincenzo Giammanco of CBF Productions was one of the first to see the potential of outdoor concerts as alternatives to indoor entertainment venues that have been shuttered since March. For his Concerts in Your Car series, he built a massive, state-of-the-art stage at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, added enormous screens and made it possible for attendees to tune in from their FM radios to enjoy the show away from the madding crowds and in the comfort of their individual vehicles. It’s not your mother’s drive-in, to be sure . . . but it’s a winning idea in this modern age. Photo by Brittany Berggen


Dive Bar

1ST PLACE

Star Lounge
343 E. Main St. Ventura
805-648-4709, star-lounge-ventura.edan.io

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Rudder Room
2929 Ocean Drive, Oxnard
805-985-6096, www.facebook.com/The-Rudder-Room-250268401727/

Sans Souci Cocktail Lounge
21 S. Chestnut St., Ventura
805-643-4539, sans-lounge.edan.io

Event DJ

1ST PLACE

Bruce Barrios, Bruce Barrios Productions
805-658-7565, djbrucevarrios@aol.com
www.brucebarrios.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Nick Dean
www.facebook.com/NDENTERTAIN

DJ Honey
805-625-3378
www.facebook.com/djhoneyyy/

Gay Bar

1ST PLACE

Paddy’s Bar and Lounge
2 W. Main St., Ventura
805-652-1071, paddysventura.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

The Tavern
211 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura
805-643-3264, thetavernvta.com

Happy Hour

1ST PLACE

Brophy Bros.
1559 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura
805-639-0865, www.brophybros.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

VenTiki Lounge and Lanai
701 E. Main St., Ventura
805-667-8887, www.ventikiloungeandlanai.com

Lure Fish House
259 W. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, 805-388-5556
60 California St., Ventura, 805-567-4400
lurefishhouse.com

Music Festival

1ST PLACE

Ventura Music Festival
venturamusicfestival.org

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Surf Rodeo
surfrodeo.org

Ojai Music Festival
www.ojaifestival.org

Place For Live Music

1ST PLACE

Majestic Ventura Theater
26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura
805-653-0721, www.venturatheater.net

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Ventura County Fairgrounds
Seaside Park, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura
805-648-3376, www.venturacountyfair.org

Libbey Bowl
210 S. Signal St., Ojai
805-272-3881, libbeybowl.org

Radio Personality

1ST PLACE

Rico and Mambo
Q95.9 FM
www.q959.fm/on-air/rico-and-mambo

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Dave Daniels
KHAY 100.7
www.khay.com/shows/morning-show/

Tom Spence and Rich Gualano
1590 AM
kvta.com/on-air/kvta-morning-show

Radio Station

1ST PLACE

100.7 KHAY-FM

Best Place for Tunes and a Tipple
PICTURED: The Winery owners, from left: Adam Randall, Rick Boyer, Steve Holt and John McNutt. Photo by Seth Brandes
The Winery Ventura
4746 Market St, Ventura
805-535-4295
www.squashedgrapes.com
@thewineryventura
Some years ago, a modest little wine bar in Midtown Ventura became one of the hottest spots in town for live jazz.
Adam Randall and Josh McNutt had a good thing going with Squashed Grapes: They made their own wine on the premises and served it to patrons who sipped while they grooved to local favorites like Rachel Flowers, Hans Ottsen and the Barrelhouse Wailers, plus numerous talents from far and wide. You had to get there really early to grab a seat, because the place went from sparse to standing room only in a heartbeat.
Randall and McNutt knew they needed a larger spot, and after many months (and hassles with permits) they joined forces with Rick Boyer of Boyer Wines and Steve Holt of Sensation Wines to finally open the new location on Market Street in 2019. More space inside and an enormous outdoor patio gave patrons the elbow room that the venue — now called The Winery Ventura — desperately needed. The bigger space made for better concerts, too.
That patio has served The Winery well during the pandemic, once bars and restaurants were cleared to open outdoor service in June. There’s a comfortable distance between tables and a sizable spot on one end for acoustic musicians to set up and safely entertain crowds. Big names continue to show up, eager for an opportunity to play again. Everyone is a lot more careful now, of course, but that love of wine and jazz keeps those metaphysical connections solid.
The Winery will soon return to its Midtown Ventura roots with The Grape, taking over a spot on Main Street near Yolanda’s and Smart and Final. It’s slated to open in Spring 2021 if pandemic restrictions are lifted by then. More wine, more jazz, more fun . . . I can hardly wait! — Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer


www.khay.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

88.3 KCLU-FM
www.kclu.org

95.1 KBBY-FM
www.951kbby.com

Sports Bar

1ST PLACE

Cronies Sports Grill
2855 Johnson Drive, Ventura
805-650-6026, cronies.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Social Tap
1105 S. Seaward Ave., Ventura
805-667-8485, socialtapeatery.com

Victoria Pub and Grill
1413 S. Victoria Ave., Suite F, Ventura
805-650-0060, www.victoriapubandgrill.com

Recording Studio

1ST PLACE

Music Freqs (Formerly Rock City Studios)
2180 Pickwick Drive, Camarillo
805-322-4496, www.musicfreqs.com

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Megasound Studios
2789 E. Main St., Ventura
805-667-8100, www.megasoundstudios.com

Lion City Recording Studios
1501 Callens Road, Ventura
805-626-0990, lioncityrecordingstudio.com

Theater Company

1ST PLACE

Rubicon Theatre Company
1006 E. Main St., Ventura
805-667-2900, rubicontheatre.org

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Ventura Improv Company
venturaimprov.com

Santa Paula Theater Center
125 South 7th St., Santa Paula
805-525-4645, www.santapaulatheatercenter.org