Saloons and Such

Watering holes, bars, dance halls, houses of ill repute, whiskey, wine, tequila, whiskey, whiskey, beer, whiskey, whiskey & also whiskey

Click here for Mike Conley's 7 Favorite Things.

Best Downtown
With more than 40 bars serving alcohol and a downtown that houses restaurants open until the wee hours of the morning specifically to cater to the drunks who need food in their bellies before slogging home, Fullerton has a romping-stomping after-dark scene that is ripe for the guzzling. But it's not just about the booze: A walk through downtown Fullerton is comparable to turning the dial on your car radio. Home to the jazz club Steamers, rock & roll venues such as Slide Bar, and such loud pop pushers as Rockin' Taco, Fullerton has a little taste of everything you can jam to. Whether you're a straight-laced conservative or a rock-hard emo warrior, make it a point to drink this city in—while you can. Because of such trifles as increased crime and congestion, this drunken paradise will get a lot less fun, starting next year. In June, the city council voted to establish a 45-day urgency moratorium on ABC permits, which allows for a ban of "happy hour" at bars and restricts alcohol-sale times to between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. It is the end of an era, people, so drink up before it dries up—and try not to throw up on your way out.

Reader's Choice: Fullerton

Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster.

Best Bar in Orange County
Kopa Room
201 S. Brookhurst Ave., Anaheim
(714) 774-2253
Getting trashed while bowling is every American's birthright. There's nothing like the thrill that comes from catching a nice buzz before trying to gracefully power-walk down the lane, throw a strike, and not crack your skull after you drunkenly step over the line and hit the slick waxed wood. Open 24 hours—since you never know when the 4 a.m. bowling urge will strike—Linbrook Bowl, the Anaheim Googie institution, features the Kopa Room, which gets the prize this year mainly because it's a dark hole frequented by people who just want to get drunk and bowl. Sure, some may prefer the glitz of a place like Sutra Lounge, but Linbrook offers far more earthy and meaningful pleasures. And unlike at some of OC's fancier bars, you barely even need to be employed to afford the drinks. And they have nightly karaoke. And darts. With the adjoining lanes' all-night hours, you can hit the Kopa, get drunk, bowl all night, get a hangover, and nurse said hangover with some hair of the dog back at the Kopa when it begins serving alcohol again at noon the next day. In theory, there's no reason to ever leave Linbrook Bowl.

Reader's Poll: Chronic Cantina

Best Neighborhood Bar/North OC
Continental Room
115 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton
(714) 526-4529
Three words can sum up the Continental Room in Fullerton: small, dark and cool. Stepping through the doors feels like stepping back in time into a hip 1940s jazz club. This gem consists of a dimly lit room lined with U-shaped booths that feature call buttons to signal to servers you are ready for another round, a stage area hosting great local talent including Elvis impersonators on Wednesdays, and a sweet outdoor station for smokers that doesn't make them feel like lepers or societal rejects. The Continental's outdoor area consists of two walled-in rooms with candelabra adorning the walls and intricately designed wrought-iron work on the ceiling. It also offers a rentable banquet room complete with a circular couch for hipsters in search of a more private party, and yes, smoking in this private station is allowed.

Best Neighborhood Bar/South OC
Mugs Away Saloon
27324 Camino Capistrano, Ste. 102, Laguna Niguel
(949) 582-9716
The first thing you might notice when walking into Mugs Away are pictures of naked women outside the patio that look like they were ripped from the pages of a 1980s Penthouse. Advertised below a teased blonde's globular silicone breasts are the specials that make this place great, such as $8 happy-hour pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon and $2 all-you-can-eat pizza "until it's gone." The locals shooting pool have control of the jukebox and a penchant for '80s metal—deal with it. The rusted-out frame of a bike that looks like it was pulled up by an unlucky fisherman is just one of the plethora of interior oddities, such as street signs containing unnecessary curse words. Oh, and Mugs Away is infamous in Orange County for instigating that annual tradition involving hundreds of drunk people pulling down their pants and showing their asses to a nearby passing Amtrak train. Need we say more?

Best Neighborhood Bar/Central OC
The Olde Ship
1120 W. 17th St., Santa Ana
(714) 550-6700
Conveniently located on 17th Street in Santa Ana—but, unfortunately, just outside walking distance from the Weekly's offices—is the best source of bottled ships, maritime paraphernalia and British food you're likely to find in Orange County. And by British food, we mean the kind with a 2-inch coffee-colored head that froths and settles in your glass and has a name like Boddington's, Fuller's London Pride, Newcastle, Bass or Guinness. Besides beer, the Olde Ship has several wide-screen televisions tuned to Barclay's Premier League socc—er, football, a full bar and actual (solid) food, including a fantastic, peppery meat sandwich called the Captain's Burger, excellent fish and chips, curries, bangers and mash, and black pudding, all of which will be served to your table by a nice blond waitress who's always there and always seems to know your name, no matter who you are: "Luv."

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