Bar Review: Watermark on Main, Ventura, CA

Watermark Ceiling CU               Watermark Restaurant

The Watermark on Main is located in the historic 1907 Groene building on the corner of East Main and North Chestnut in downtown Ventura.  It has been at various stages of its life an Edison office, a Bank, a Jewellery store , a clothes store, an Art Studio, and now a Restaurant and rooftop lounge.

There are two things that strike you when you walk into the Watermark; the ceiling and the bar.  The restaurant  and bar area are open to the second floor and the ceiling looks like it’s made of beautiful hand carved wooden beams with various paintings.  Sort of like a Nordic carved vaulted ceiling  but with an early southwest theme.  However the ceiling is actually formed, carved, and painted plaster!  From a distance its almost impossible to tell that it’s not true wood.  Very pretty and shows a lot of handiwork.

The second thing is the bar top: it is made of pale yellow Onyx.  As with all agates there are striations of various colors, mostly orange and some brown, running along the bar.  It is back-lit and thin enough so the whole bar top looks like its glowing.  It is impressive.   On the second floor walls are various friezes depicting early Camino Real from 1920s California.  There are also numerous Art Deco touches through out, with an almost nautical feel.  Most notably the chandeliers, hanging lamps, and sconces.

I know what you’re thinking … “The Martini, get to the martini!”  Well they are Very Good!  The stem was well chilled in the fridge, shaken with enthusiasm, amply poured, and presented promptly.  It was cold, clean, and nearly perfect.  The barkeep was very helpful and knowledgeable of the various gins and Martinis.

Additionally the dinner was excellent.  The menu would be described as traditional American with an occasional ‘extra’.  There is also live music on a regular basis, not only in the downstairs restaurant but also in the third floor rooftop lounge.

I do recommend Watermark on Main, not only for their Martini but the food, history, ambiance, and overall experience.  As for a Martini Rating, Watermark gets one stem.  The criteria for two stems has always been: ‘Would I search out this restaurant based on the Martini alone?’  While Watermark’s Martinis are indeed very good, they’re just not quite good enough to warrant a trip on Martini alone.

Martini Glass Upright

For Gin Selection Watermark gets a B+.
Selection Includes Plymouth, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Tanqueray 10, Beefeater, Hendrick’s, Nolet’s, Death Door, and Cutler’s.  Cutler’s Gin is a local creation from Santa Barbara, CA.  While Watermark ‘only’ has 9 different Gins, I’m giving it a B+ because of the local addition Cutler’s.

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*****   Rating Definitions   ****