Pancha’s in Yountville is a very well-known dive bar in Napa Valley and was on Playboy Magazine’s list of “America’s Best Bars” in 2012. The dilapidated building with no signage stands out among the newer hotels and Michelin-rated restaurants that make up the quaint town of Yountville. It attracts a wide range of clientele, from your “typical” dive bar patrons to winemakers and suits. One frequent customer told me “a bar isn’t a dive bar unless you can smoke inside”, and Pancha’s qualifies. However, I approached with great trepidation on my first late-night pickup at Pancha’s. As I waited, I wondered if I’d be getting a stumbling, potential vom rider or someone I could rely on to make the trip without any “damage” to my car. You can imagine my surprise when out came a bride, groom, best man, and maid of honor all dressed in their wedding attire! That’s right, full on wedding gown with veil, maid of honor dress, tuxes, etc.. As the bride rode shotgun, her dress with associated mass amounts of tulle prevented her from seeing anything out the windshield in front of her. They asked where they could buy “booze & chips” at this hour (around 11:30pm), and I told them Safeway in St. Helena was open till midnight.  We proceeded to Safeway, and fortunately, the best man and maid of honor did the shopping. After 10-15 minutes of chatting about the nuptials, out came the shoppers with several handles and two shopping bags filled with chips. What a night! We proceeded to a private home in the eastern hills above St. Helena where they met up with friends and family. I always have mad respect for my clients and never judge, but a couple of questions immediately came to mind.

  1. A dive bar on your wedding night? Really? I’ve relayed this story on several occasions and have actually received more positive reactions than negative ones. Please weigh in on the poll to the right. I’m very interested to see where people stand on this one.
  2. Transportation not planned on your wedding night? Uber can be unreliable in many areas of the Napa Valley at night. Is this really the night for leaving your ride to fate?

BTW, the wedding and reception were at a very high-end restaurant/events venue in the Valley. They just wanted to end on a high note! My sincere “Congratulations and Best Wishes” to the new couple.

P.S. I have kept a diary and have many stories from my driving experiences of well over 3,000 trips. The vast majority are positive, but there are a few negative ones. Please subscribe to the right to be notified of new posts so you never miss a great story from “Confessions of an Uber Driver!”.