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Fifty Years of La Cave

Costa Mesa's steakhouse shrine to young hipsters and elderly cool cats alike knows the best is yet to come

Starting each show with "Fly Me to the Moon," the 70-ish UCLA theater-school and South Coast Repertory alum snaps his fingers to the beat. Crooning with a red rose in his lapel, Kinwald works the room backed only by red-velvet drapes and his VocoPro karaoke machine. Each table is full, and there is no discernible congruity. As with Sinatra, the restaurant appeals to the masses. One table is filled with white-haired lovers in an embrace, mouthing the words to the saloon song "One for My Baby (And One for the Road)." One table over is a bohemian-looking young twosome too caught up in each other to notice anyone else in the room as they whisper back and forth. A silver fox and his knockout daughter banter with Kinwald, adding to the mirth.

Kinwald breaks into songs such as "You Make Me Feel So Young" and "September of My Years" before ending with "New York, New York." With a smile and a wink, Kinwald closes out the show with a wry farewell: "Thanks for coming, baby."

The cavernous lounge is perfect for Kinwald's schtick. "It's romantic," he explains after the show. "It's the perfect kind of room for what I do."

Star Foreman
La Cave bartender Josh Wenzel, all set to serve 'em up
Star Foreman
La Cave bartender Josh Wenzel, all set to serve 'em up

Location Info

Map

La Cave

1695 Irvine Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Costa Mesa

Point proven. "I want him to sing to me every night," says Carol Theiss, a pretty fortysomething Aliso Viejo resident visiting La Cave for the first time. Sipping a glass of Syrah, she takes in the scene. "It's easy to forget where you are while you're here. It's like the restaurant is frozen in time."

This article appeared in print as "The Best Is Yet to Come: Five decades of La Cave, Costa Mesa's steakhouse shrine to young hipsters and elderly cool cats alike."

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