The red flocked wallpaper, crystal light fixtures and low velvet couches pay tribute to the speakeasy (Pasadena’s first) that purportedly thrived here during Prohibition. In this more licentious age, patrons freely enter the candlelit walkway that leads from the South Lake storefronts to the hidden world behind: an outdoor bar arranged around a massive old tree trunk, with candles and heaters aplenty, and inside nooks that combine dimly lit plushness with Philippe Starck’s Lucite chairs. The music is good, if too loud, the bartenders make a proper drink, the wine list is worthy, and most nights have an interesting happy hour—on Monday, beer is discounted and the bar menu (good salads, snacks, a burger) is half-price. At press time, this was Pasadena’s A-number-one hot spot.
492 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.584.1126, magnoliaonlake.com, Bar/American. Nightly. Full bar. AE, MC, V. $-$$