(Above photo from the restaurant’s website)
Bar/Restaurant: The Nest
Area: Indian Wells
Typa Joint: Old School
Signature Cocktail: The Burning Mandarin
The Nest has been a mainstay in Indian Wells since 1965, making it the oldest continuing bar and restaurant I have visited in the Coachella valley. (The Nest beats Lord Fletcher’s by one year.) It has two very distinct personalities: the dining room, and the bar.
THE DINING ROOM
The bar menu has an extensive selection of $7 entrées from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. nightly. (It is also available in the dining room for “early birds” from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) One person in our party was not able to sit at the bar tables in the bar, so The Nest extended the bar menu prices to us in the dining room, even after 6:00. That’s a class act. The dining area is classic old-school, with large black booths, brick walls, white linen, leather chairs, and gilded mirrors.
Our waitress was superb. I was happy to find a cocktail list, and I opted for the Burning Mandarin – a fairly sweet concoction using Absolut Mandarin, jalapeño, and fruit juices. It was neither bad nor memorable.
My friends and I ordered several plates, sharing tapas–style. Everything we had was delicious, and at $7 per plate that is a bargain in the Coachella Valley.
I heard two things about The Nest’s bar before I ever set foot in it. The young man who came to fix my satellite dish, barely 30 years of age, told me that when he first arrived in Palm Springs, his friends told him to go to The Nest if he wanted to bag a “cougar.” (If you are not familiar with that term, it is already passe, so don’t bother to look it up!) The other tidbit I learned from Jo, a beautiful 80-year-old at Lord Fletcher’s, who advised wryly, “When going to The Nest, pack your penicillin.”
We finished our meal and headed through the bar to the restrooms. Things were already beginning to heat up in the bar, which has live entertainment seven nights a week. The median age of the patrons is somewhere in the 40s/50s.
It was subtle, and I did not notice it at first. Then I saw the large hooks dangling from the ceiling and circling the room. As people entered they hoisted themselves up onto the hooks, jerking and swaying along through the space, garnering attention from the spectators and scores from the judges.
A meat market! At our age?
I have not been looked up and down that much since college. The women surveyed me as potential competition. The men surveyed me as potential prey. Men wore their best polo shirt and khaki pants. Women sported tanning bed bronze skin, ridiculously high heels, and tight-fitting dresses.
My friends and I found the whole scene a bit depressing and surreal, so we opted not to stay for the live music. Though it wasn’t to our tastes, The Nest’s bar offers good times for aging Generation X’ers and straggling Baby Boomers, longing to re-live the “glory days.” It is certainly a great place to people watch!