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Roar into the New ‘20s at Bar Cecil

Bar Cecil

A New Take In Style

While many of us spent the past year endlessly video chatting or learning how to bake lackluster bread, the visionaries behind Bar Cecil were cooking up inspiration. After all, it takes hard work to create the Palm Springs dining and drinking experience of tomorrow.

“We had so much free time on our hands that we really were able to obsess over every little detail from the cocktail napkins to, I mean, every little thing,” narrates Nate VanDeventer, partner and General Manager of Bar Cecil. “As bad as 2020 was, we took advantage of that time, and just the five of us here kind of brainstorming.”

As the hospitality dream team eyed the future, their minds drifted effortlessly to the past. “Two of the main owners here, they kind of came up with the idea of doing a bar that was just themed around the photographer, Cecil Beaton, and his whole take and style.” Cecil Beaton was a British photographer and designer best known for his elegant photographs of high society. His costume and stage designs won him three Academy Awards, including one for My Fair Lady (1964).

Cecil Beaton

Nate’s partner in cuisine chimes in. Chef Gabriel Woo serves up more info about the restaurant’s namesake. “His style was kind of the driving force behind the whole development of the atmosphere that was created here. Lots of his work and similar artists in the time period.”

Chef Gabriel Woo of Bar Cecil Palm Springs
Gabriel Woo and Nate VanDeventer

Guests are immersed in the aesthetic of a bold, gregarious era. “The general vibe, there’s no mistaking it. Right when you walk in, it is in your face, colors, and textures, and just really vibrant,” beams Nate. “It’s right on the edge of overstimulation. There are so many textures. And the artwork, it’s almost like a small art gallery. So much to look at. The back bar, instead of just being filled with bottles, is filled with art and books, and the bottles are mixed in, so it’s nonstop conversation pieces if you’re sitting at the bar.”

Bar Cecil Palm Springs

And the first item on that conversational agenda is naturally: what are you having?

The $50 Martini

“We do have a drink on the list, it’s called the $50 Martini. And it is a $50 martini.” Nate paints a shimmering picture with words and premium spirits. “It falls right in line with kind of the ambiance and the design of the place, where it is just as much as we could do, we did it, we just went for it. So it has the Sweden’s Absolut Elyx Voka, has a house-pickled cocktail onion, comes on a really fancy silver tray, and then it has a deviled egg with caviar on the side. So it’s right on the verge of being over the top, which is what we wanted.”

Bar Cecil caters to the cravings we have all been experiencing these past 12 months. “We do some in-house aging on the Tomahawk steak, for instance,” explains Nate. “There’s a section on the menu that’s called Why Not? and it’s where the $50 martini is and the Tomahawk steak. And it’s kind of a splurge, it’s right in the center of the menu. And it just falls right under that name of Why Not? Like, let’s just go for it.”

The camaraderie between the two partners flows as freely as their cocktail menu. Nate continues, “The Steak Frites. Absolutely amazing. He uses a different cut. It’s typically not done with a filet, but he does it, and it is just melt-in-your-mouth, amazing texture.”

Picking up the baton, Chef Woo elaborates, “I come from Sparrows Lodge and Holiday House, two boutique hotels here in Palm Springs, and our theme was kind of doing these communal, family-style dinners. And we did it for five years. And I was recently asked if I feel sad about not doing those anymore, and it’s extremely sad.”

The earnestness is palpable in Chef Woo’s tone. “I love seeing people get to know each other and become friends over delicious food. And that’s kind of what we need to bring back here at Bar Cecil, and we’re really excited about the opportunity to host locals that we know and new faces and bringing them together in a great place with great foods and great drink.”

Bar Cecil Palm Springs

“We’re just excited,” declares Nate. “We all believe that it’s kind of the Roaring ’20s, are back again, after what we went through, and people will be ready to be close to one another again and just have a great time.”

As we embark on a decade of passion and possibilities, optimism lights the way. It will be an exhilarating journey, one that leads to the ideal destination: Bar Cecil.


Bar Cecil –  1555 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs | 760-537-1122

By Kevin Perry

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