Penngrove is an anomaly in Wine Country. For years it didn't have a single winery, wine tasting room, or even a wine shop in the little town of about 2,500 residents. Now there are a few by-appointment-only tasting rooms, but when this community of rural estates and sprawling farms goes out for an adult beverage, they still head to the downtown bar, where beer flows and cocktails come in classic blends.
Mack's Bar & Grill (10056 Main St., Penngrove, 707-793-9480) looks like a small town joint, from its clapboard building to its old-style vertical sign above the stoop. Inside, the dark, wood paneled hangout glows with neon beer signs, but the dining room is cheerful like a cozy bistro, freshly painted and hung with historical black-and-white photos. Live music rocks the place on Friday and Saturday evenings.
This is a fine place for a burger, like the delicious Black and Blue melting with tangy cheese and served with pickles on the side plus a choice of house-made potato salad, fries, or green salad. The crispy chicken salad is a house favorite, loaded with juicy chunks of fried bird plus plenty of bacon, black olives, tomatoes, and red onion, while barbecue meats come slathered in good homemade sweet-spicy sauce.
Keep your eyes peeled for the specials though, such as spicy chicken and sausage gumbo ladled over rice and mopped up with toasted sourdough French bread, or crawfish étouffée.
You can get fed at the bar, too, for snacks like chicken wings, nachos, or lightly battered Fried Calamari dressed with tartar sauce and fresh lemon. And that's where the real action is, anyway, where the regulars gather and linger, since like a true, honest bar, Mack's serves seven days a week until 2 a.m.
During the week, the place opens at 11 a.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, the fun starts at 8 a.m. A perfect time for that perfect Bloody Mary, yes?