Leave it to the on-trend folks at Fashion Island to bring out the first Whole Foods Market with a bar inside of it. Back Bay Tavern is a real bar – with bartenders, flat-screen TVs, bar food (the chic kind) good old tavern style, and some of the best beer and wine around.
The brand-new Back Bay Tavern just opened last month, and the crowds are coming. Who wouldn’t, really? Gourmet grocery shopping chased with a shot of all organic and local libations. It’s quite a concept.
“We were passionate about designing a store with unique features that reflect the Newport Beach lifestyle,” says George Khoury, Whole Foods Market Newport Beach Store Team Leader.
Back Bay Tavern serves up a rotating selection of 36 craft beers on tap, plus wine and spirits. Some recommended brews to request: the Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout, the Coronado Brewing Company Idiot IPA and Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA. Most beers are $6-8, and you’re welcome to try as many samples as you’d like. Wine varietals are plentiful, so just take your pick of red or white.
What’s to eat? Everything from the healthy, organic Kale Salad and Veggie Burgers to classic bar food, including starters of fried potato chips with dip. The full menu includes beef, seafood, vegetarian and vegan meals.
As far as the style of the place, it’s cozy and quaint and offers seating for 150. There are a handful of booths, a couch area and raised tables to stand around. Back Bay Tavern is opened daily 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, so shop any hours you want then top off the trip with a tavern stop.
Be sure to also try out the free valet parking in the Whole Foods parking structure—it’s trendy too. Just drop your car at the valet, and they’ll give you a fob to alert the valet staff when you’re done. Push the fob, and it signals staff that you’re ready for them to retrieve your car and bring it to the Whole Foods’ store entrance. They also offer Curb-to-Car Shuttle via chauffeured golf carts; the drivers take you to your car and load your packages.
The whole scene is so very Fashion Island, isn’t it?
Back Bay Tavern
Whole Foods Market Fashion Island
415 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer who thoroughly enjoyed the Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout and the whole ‘Bar in a Whole Foods’ concept. Debbie also writes for Laguna Beach Magazine, Bask Magazine and more. Keep up with her at @deblavdas on Twitter.
Photos: Debbie Lavdas