big rock pub

Gastropub Greatness

Draughtsman and Big Rock Pub elevate food and drink menus against different backdrops.

Erin Peters Restaurants

big rock pub
Draughtsman, part of the Arrive Palm Springs complex, is a gastropub that blends architecture and hospitality.
PHOTO BY JEFF MINDELL

In Palm Springs, you will find blueprints under the bar tops, a trophy case of architectural tools, and custom Hook and Ring game posts on the patio. In Indio, you will notice the beer bottle chandeliers and guitars from famous rock ‘n’ roll musicians hanging on the walls.

But both have an elevated bar menu and beautiful surroundings that scream entertainment. Wintertime in the Coachella Valley just got a whole lot cooler with the arrival of two new bars with very different themes.

Draughtsman, part of the Arrive Palm Springs complex, is a gastropub that blends architecture and hospitality. “The design, like many of my designs, has a rigid attention to geometry with moments of playfulness,” says Chris Pardo, who is responsible for projects like Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club in Palm Springs and the aforementioned 32-room boutique hotel.

As you walk up to the restaurant on North Palm Canyon Drive, you come upon a rustic, yet bright patio with glass vertical lift windows, an open-concept design with vaulted ceilings and an effortless flow to the outdoors. “Draughtsman is an integral part of the hotel for us,” Pardo says. “It offers the neighborhood and our guests another unique experience … the outdoor games area makes it more of a hangout destination than strictly a dining destination.

But don’t miss the fare — Draughtsman’s menu is a beer-infused, innovative twist on fresh and hearty comfort food. The Blackened Bleu is one of six custom burgers you’ll find on the menu. Chargrilled with Cajun spices and blue cheese; pair it with one of their American IPAs to accentuate the spice and cut the richness. For more beer-infused deliciousness, the Draughtsman Apple Jack Maple BBQ Ribs is a full rack smothered in applejack-maple barbecue sauce, served with roasted cauliflower slaw and Irish-beer cornbread.

Draughtsman offers an eclectic collection of seasonal and local craft beers on draft and an array of homemade craft cocktails. The restaurant’s resident “drink architect,” Chad Austin, created the beer list with careful attention to include local Coachella Valley beers from Babe’s Brewhouse and Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

One of Pardo’s favorite pairings on their menu is The Deloreon and Pan-Seared Butter Fish. The Deloreon blends Powers Irish whiskey, lemon, house Irish Cream, Guinness syrup, and sarsaparilla bitters. The housemade syrups and foams that Austin created from his favorite beers give the cocktails a hint of beer flavor, without being overpowering.

When it’s time for adult fun, they have you covered on the back patio: Life-size Connect Four, Hook & Ring, Giant Jenga, Foosball, and Cornhole.

PHOTOS BY JEFF MINDELL
There is additional seating on the patio, plus life-size Connect Four, Hook & Ring, Giant Jenga, Foosball, and Cornhole (see below).

Moving east, Big Rock Pub opened in early November. Located at Indian Springs Golf Club, the course was voted one of the Best Places to Play with a four-star rating by Golf Digest.

Designed like a luxurious man-cave on steroids, men and women will be playing not only on the golf course, but inside with their state-of-the art sound system, video wall, and pool tables. It’s no surprise that owner Ken Hanna has a home basement that’s a smaller version of his rock ‘n’ roll–themed pub.

PHOTO BY ERIN PETERS
Big Rock Pub offers a visually driven bar area with screens and guitars on the walls.

Big Rock Pub offers a sprawling, Indonesian Suar Wood indoor bar with a massive wraparound patio and an indoor and outdoor bar that overlooks the golf course. Hanna not only saw an opportunity with the rock & roll, but with the golf crowd – which is why he simply bought the golf course.

Hanna pays tribute to his favorite bands by blending classic rock with classic cuisine. Inside the menu that resembles an album, find upgraded pub food like The Sympathy for the Devil-ed Eggs, which combine prosciutto, olive relish, basil, and Boursin cheese. The food will skew more healthy and fresh than fried for bar fare. 

“It’s been a unique and fun challenge for me to create a menu that fits this vibe,” says Executive Chef Jeremy Sacard, who brings experience most recently from Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

PHOTO BY ERIN PETERS
Both the indoor and outdoor bars overlooks the Indian Springs Golf Club, and the patio area (below) is spacious and comfort-driven.

After noshing on The Grateful Flat Bread or Fleetwood Mac & Cheese, you can stay and shop for a good cause. Some of the signed guitars hung on the walls are for sale and proceeds go to the Desert Cancer Foundation. And who says you can only rock out at night? Big Rock Pub serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BIG ROCK PUB

Hanna donated six guitars signed by rock ‘n’ roll legends who performed at the historic Desert Trip event in October, which raised more than $22,000 for Desert Cancer Foundation. You’ll find the signatures of Bob Dylan; Paul McCartney; Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd; Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Woods, and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones; Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, and Neil Young.

“We always encourage people to get the whole experience here in Indian Springs and the Big Rock Pub,” says General Manager Joe Simonds. “Get everything. Get in here, get your tee time, get your golf in, come in for happy hour, and then enjoy the band afterwards.”

Draughtsman
1501 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-507-1644
draughtsmanpalmsprings.com

Big Rock Pub
79940 Westward Ho Drive
Indio
760-200-9844
www.thebigrockpub.com

Gastropub Greatness was last modified: January 4th, 2017 by Erin Peters