When the 24-hour news cycle gets to be too much, take a break from reality and enter the world of pink pleasure known as the Madonna Inn. There, the band is playing, the kids are swing dancing, and tourists from around the world are mingling. As a local and nearby neighbor, it is my sweet, sweet privilege to stop by the Silver Bar Lounge whenever the goings get tough. This is exactly what I did on a random Tuesday night, and I was delighted to find a new special on the bill. My hubby and I may not be able to afford a luxurious Madonna Inn "suite" this Valentine's Day, but we can sure toast to their Madonna Inn Sweet cocktail, something of a lemon drop with raspberry vodka, fresh lemon juice, and house-made raspberry syrup.
• Madonna Inn's Madonna Inn Sweet—and a nice goblet of strong barley wine, am I right? Cozy up to Bang the Drum's sweet and smooth barley wine offering, with notes of vanilla, warm bourbon, and a hint of unexpected coconut (because we are talking about Bang the Drum here, people). Throw some wood on the fire and hunker down for the season—it's going to be a wet one. Beard and flannel not included.
• Bang the Drum's Barley Wine—Price upon request; 950 Orcutt Road, SLO.
Hayley Thomas Cain can be seen hanging at the Madonna Inn bar on the regular—and she even dances! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.