NWA is a cool place. If you don't believe me, just check out the hotel 21c or Crystal Bridges. Also, word on the street is Drew Barrymore just bought a house there. When in town, you can't just stay hidden in your hotel. You have to get out and enjoy the cultural scene.
The Hive is by far one of the coolest places in Bentonville. Located inside 21c just off the downtown square, it's like having happy hour in an art installation. It's modern, sleek, and hip. The cocktails are some of the best I've ever had. It reminded me of The Rail in terms of quality mixology, and I let my awesome bartenders know!
The refreshing drink I had was called the Windsor, and I will be forcing Duke to recreate it for me soon. It was the perfect drink for a hot summer night: Absolut Ruby Red, St. Germaine, fresh lemon juice, and grapefruit juice. Divine. My coworkers had some incredible bourbon concoctions that were delightfully strong but brilliant as well.
The Hive is also prime people-watching territory, especially those wandering through the 24-hour museum galleries. More museums should have top-notch bars in them.
For dinner, our group walked a couple of blocks down to Tavola for Italian fare. I'd been there before on a solo dining trip, and both times I loved the food. I indulged in the house sangria as we waited for our table. They don't take reservations, but you can call ahead and receive priority seating upon arrival with your group. The restaurant was totally packed when we were there, but NWA restaurants are usually crowded on weeknights with all of the business travelers in town. Weekends are actually easier!
I had to stick to my guns and order Papparedelle Bolognese. The pasta is fresh and the sauce is the bomb. In fact, my coworker ate the extra sauce off my plate. That. Good. The menu itself is extensive, so there's truly something for everyone. You can even get some French fare!
I definitely recommend it. I am such a sucker for fresh pasta. I wouldn't hesitate to come back. Thank you, Northwest Arkansas, for your awesome hospitality!