La Valencia unveils cool cocktails, tasty treats for 85th anniversary happy hours
by Marc & Darlynne Menkin
Published - 05/03/12 - 10:05 AM | 6338 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The La Valencia Hotel is rolling out some new tapas and cocktails in celebration of its 85th anniversary. Courtesy photo
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La Jolla’s iconic La Valencia Hotel is marking its 85th anniversary this year in a memorable way. Not only is the historic property undergoing an impressive multi-million-dollar renovation, its famous Whaling Bar & Grill recently unveiled an exciting new menu, including a bevy of innovative, cool cocktails and scrumptious happy hour food selections.

“The Pink Lady” is a popular place for visitors, but thanks to its newly redesigned menu, it’s also hoping to secure a reputation as a hot spot for locals. Celebrated mixologist Scotty Moises is the creative force behind La Valencia’s new beverage program. Moises said he had fun revamping the menu and with the hotel celebrating its 85th year, it was an ideal time to offer something new — think old-school classics with a twist.

So what are Moises’ favorite cocktails?

“Since the hotel has been open since 1926, I wanted to introduce the Sazarac, which is a classic from the 1800s, while the Hemmingway Daiquiri is a homage to the classic writer and to our beautiful ocean setting,” he said.

Another favorite is the Ballast Point fizz — sure to be appreciated by San Diegans, as it’s made with a locally distilled gin.

“Using a local product always gives our guests a unique experience,” Moises said.

Also worth mentioning is the grand cosmo, which has a hint of citrus and is topped off with pink champagne. With the warmer months fast approaching, it’s the perfect summer cocktail.

As for the Whaling Bar’s new happy hour food menu, there are plenty of tasty choices.

Our advice? Make sure you come hungry. We sampled the bacon-wrapped dates and couldn’t get enough — you can’t go wrong with rye bourbon and bacon! Guests can also choose from a delicious list of tapas, including pardon peppers served with sea salt and manchego, calamari frito paired with a chipotle aioli and potatoes la rioja made with chorizo, braised kale and a poached egg.

La Valencia’s new happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays and offers half-price specialty cocktails, wines by the glass and draft beers along with half-price tapas. They also offer a special deal, which includes two drinks with two tapas for under $20. For more information, visit

— Marc & Darlynne Menkin are the co-owners of Where You Want To Be Tours. Many of their tours and team-building scavenger hunts feature secret areas in La Jolla,
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