Hip Lounge And Dive Bar Make For A Fun Combination In Monterey Bay
You will never mistake it for Paradise Beach on Mykonos, New Orleans or even down the coast in Hermosa Beach.
But Carmel, CA, has some fun nightlife, and my two favorite places are Mundaka and Ody’s Tavern.
There are the two best bars in Carmel and frankly, probably also expanding to Monterey.
They are the best bars because they are the most fun bars. The most comfortable bars. And they are located side-by-side, making them Monterey Bay’s dynamic duo, like a modern day Montana and Rice.
And the funny thing about it is that Mundaka is not really a bar. It’s actually a tapas restaurant with a funky menu featuring menu items like Hamburguesa, a lamb burger slider (that happens to be my favorite dish here, by the way).
And Ody’s is a dive bar that’s not really a dive bar. It’s a happening bar with smokiin’ hot bartenders – that phrase is a nod to my good fallen friend Joe Anderson, who used it all the time – and though I don’t live in Carmel and visit only occasionally, I walk into both and feel like a regular.
That’s because the staff and owners remember their customers, Gabe Georis of Mundaka and Ody of, well Ody’s. The two places have great synergy together and play off each other perfectly. Gabe even brings in food to those hot bartenders to feed them for dinner.
For patrons, it’s the ideal one-two combo, two very different environments steps from one another, and you continually bounce back and forth between them, which makes for a much better nightlife experience.
They are so much fun that during my last visit, I intended to pop in just for a couple of drinks and then go onto other bars that I know well from my past Carmel visits, Jack London’s Bar, the Hog’s Breath Saloon and the downstairs bar of the Village Corner, which is like drinking in a beer cellar.
But I couldn’t leave Mundaka and Ody’s.
At around 10, Mundaka becomes less of a restaurant and more of a lounge. It brings in a DJ who plays not dance tunes but that cool almost hypnotic type of European music, and old-school 60s and 70s movies are playing on the wall. Gabe’s night of running Mundaka is running down, so he’s in the mood to have a few drinks. And Mundaka makes excellent specialty drinks. My favorite is the bourbon one, and I don’t drink much bourbon.
And Ody well, he’s always in the mood to have a few drinks. He’s always wearing a smile and why not, he’s got not one, not two, but three of his smokin’ hot bartenders working on weekends!
His bar is Monterey Bay’s version of a Vegas dance club. Except there is no huge line, massive cover charge and high-priced drinks. At Ody’s, a Stella Artois bottle of beer is 5 bucks. It’s also the size of the bathroom in a Vegas club, but the DJ is cranking the dance music and the small dance floor is jumping with activity.
I would really like to check out those other places next time in Carmel but I know I will instinctively head to Mundaka and Ody’s.
Because that’s where I know I’ll have a great time.