Where We’ve Been Drinking: Cliffhouse
Our second stop in our tour of alcoholic oases in the Palm Springs desert brought us to Cliffhouse. As with Morgan’s, Cliff House gets high marks for atmosphere. Happy hour happened on a large, heat-lamp bestrewn patio nestled among the rocks on the ledge of a small cliff face. When we reached the top of the winding staircase that brought us to the patio, we were warmly greeted by the friendly and relaxed staff.
The menu was a typical happy hour menu, with a slightly Mexican bent, featuring discounted mussels, chips and guacamole, and tacos (It was Tuesday, after all). The food we sampled was all pretty fresh and tasty.
What We Ordered
Margarita Shaker: el jimador anejo
Margarita Shaker: herradura silver
Cadillac Margarita: cazadores reposado, cointreau, sweet and sour mix, grand marnier float
What We Thought
There was a Mai Tai on the menu, which we probably should have tried, and a few pop-and-fizzle martinis, which it’s probably best we didn’t. This was basically a margarita bar, which is no bad thing once you know what you’re dealing with. And to their credit Cliffhouse had an inventive way of keeping it interesting. They called it the Margarita Shaker. You were given the choice of five different tequilas, in silver, reposado, or anejo (15 choices overall is a lot of options!); and that tequila came to you with the other margarita ingredients in a shaker, for you to do the honors. Shaking the drink yourself made it kind of an event, and trying different tequilas was pretty enjoyable. It’s probably not a surprise that we liked El Jimador’s anejo the best.
What Cliffhouse lacked in sophistication, they made up for in fun and creativity.
So Should You Go?
There’s nothing fancy about Cliffhouse, but it was a pleasant place to spend a late afternoon/early evening. It’s a particularly good place to go if you want to try out a number of tequilas in a more interesting way than a bunch of shots. If you go, go early. When we went at the beginning of happy hour, the patio was our oyster. By the time we left at 6, the parking lot was packed, and they were turning people away.