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80 Degrees in Perpetually Hip Palm Springs

As ideal as high season is in Palm Springs, its low season can be extra long for local restaurateurs. They often close during July and August's scorching 120-degree temperatures and empty streets. Every season a fresh batch of restaurants pop up, though. This year there's Torme's Jazz Bar and Restaurant in the center of downtown. Named after late crooner Mel Torme, the restaurant came to life because of his daughter, Melissa, and her real estate developer husband. Together they host an American grill of classic chicken pot pie, fresh lobster and signature meatloaf in a dapper dining room with open bar offering almost nightly live entertainment.

Another addition this year is only technically a newcomer. Cheeky's, one of Palm Spring's most popular breakfast and lunch spots for years, has inveiled a pizzeria called Birba.

Located next to the original eatery, this kitchen with wood-fired oven serves cheesy perfection -- and cocktails -- starting at 5 p.m. daily in a cheery outdoor dining space and architectural glass-enclosed eatery.

Cheeky's still offers modernist, indoor-outdoor dining on Palm Canyon. Perhaps the best dining experience in the city, a self-effacing casualness hides a powerhouse menu of signature BLT with jalapeno bacon, lobster pot pie and grass-fed burger on a brioche bun.

In terms of nightlife, it'd be risky to leave that hotel bar or house party in search of something else. There's not much: a strip of gay bars, a nightclub, downtown watering holes and an Indian gaming casino. The city's best-known nightclub, Zelda's, recently reopened in a strip center location just south of town and is now home to radio-sponsored hip-hop nights and Chippendale's-style male review geared toward bachelorettes. Lower-decibel revelers are best advised to stake out a booth inside Ace Hotel's Amigo Room, with its weekly indie nights, or Sissy Bingo with Linda Fabulous, who calls out numbers between the occasional Judy Garland anthem -- perfectly Palm Springs.

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Michael Martin is the managing editor of, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.
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