The Social Club in Petaluma welcomes you with excellent food and lots of beers to choose from

The Social Club in Petaluma is a welcoming place. The d?or is simple and rustic, with lots of natural wood. There's comfy seating inside and out. And the food is pretty good, too. It's a natural place for folks to get together and schmooze.

The room, which used to be an Italian restaurant called Pazzo, has been updated and the d?or simplified. A free-standing bar in the center of the room has 26 stools around its sides and hexagonal black and white tiles on the two feet of floor closest to the bar. Two flat-screen TVs tuned to sports can be viewed from the bar stools. Tall windows on the south and west walls give a light, bright, airy feeling to the place. Dining is casual at bare wood tables set with captain's chairs.

If you're hungry when you arrive, make sure you've read the bottom of the menu: "Bread available upon request." There you'll also find that Bob Simontacchi is the chef, and Joseph Zobel his sous chef.

Socializing at the Social Club is encouraged by an extensive beer list, meaning the targeted clientele skews young. Eleven beers on tap and 18 in the bottle offer some interesting brews that can be hard to find on the west coast: Allagash from Portland, Maine, on tap, for instance, plus Victory "Summer Love Ale" from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and Einstok Pale Ale from Iceland in the bottle.

Wine takes a back seat, with two sparklers, five whites and five reds, all by the glass. A glass of Ameztoi txakolina (txakolina is a grape variety) from the Basque region of Spain for $11 was a crisp, refreshing, easy sipper through the whole dinner. In addition, a full bar has the ingredients for cocktails like the Sunny Side Up, made from bourbon, Petaluma egg whites, caramelized nectarines, fresh citrus juice and bitters for $10.

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