A downtown shopping center is gaining a second identity: as a place for Napa residents to enjoy summer evenings together.
The central courtyard of First Street Napa has become home to Locals Night Out: Mix, Mingle & More, a weekly festival where guests can mingle and socialize over glasses of Napa Valley wines, partake of small bites from Napa restaurants, and peruse the wares of Napa craftspeople.
Against a backdrop of spiffy hotel towers and wine tasting lounges, Locals Night Out, which debuted June 12 and will be held every Wednesday through July, is an occasion for some Napans to relax in their hometown among friends and acquaintances – and sometimes buy from them.
“We like to support local businesses, and we hope they can give us good value,” said Napa resident Sandi Collins early Wednesday evening as she sipped from a flute of chardonnay beneath a cork oak at the outdoor shopping plaza. “And there’s the happenstance that we’d run into friends!” she added with a laugh, pointing her wine glass at Eric and Nancy Sternberg, with whom she had struck up an amiable chat minutes before.
“This is good – it’s drawing people into an area that’s kind of hidden,” said Eric Sternberg. “It’s drawing people in: good food, good wine, a good (way) for the community to try to get people together.”