Your Essential OC Happy Hour Guide

Where to go for the best deals and drinks


Bluewater Grill
An arena-style bar is the centerpiece of Bluewater Grill, the kind you’ve seen on Cheers. Come during a game night, and you’ll see just as many interesting characters. Though not a sports bar, there’s still a special kind of camaraderie that forms among the after-work revelers when the Lakers, Ducks or Angels are playing. And when they do, all eyes will be glued to the many LCDs in rapt attention, interrupted only by swigs of beer or strong margaritas or bites of the appetizers ($4-$6), especially the peppy, wasabi-laced oyster shooters. (EG) 630 Lido Park Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 675-FISH; Mon.-Fri., 3:30-6:30 p.m. 2409 Park Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-3474; Mon.-Thurs., 3:30- 6:30 p.m. & 9-10 p.m.; Fri. 3:30-6:30 p.m.


Tokyo Table
Jason Levesque/Stuntkid
Tokyo Table
Jason Levesque/Stuntkid

Location Info


Agora Churrascaria

1830 Main St.
Irvine, CA 92614

Category: Restaurant > Brazilian

Region: Irvine

AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean

3333 S. Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: Costa Mesa

Anthill Pub

4200 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Irvine

Asian Tapas

6380 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92620

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Irvine

Auld Dubliner

2497 Park Ave.
Tustin, CA 92782

Category: Restaurant > Bar Food

Region: Tustin

The Balcony Grill and Bar

2710 Alton Parkway, Ste. 215
Irvine, CA 92606

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Irvine

Bar Louie Tavern & Grill

321 W. Katella, #212
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Bluewater Grill

630 Lido Park Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Newport Beach

Bootlegger's Brewery

130 S. Highland Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Breweries and Wineries

Region: Fullerton

The Cannery

3010 Lafayette Road
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Newport Beach

Casa Inka

8610 Warner Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Peruvian

Region: Fountain Valley

The Cellar

305 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Fine Dining

Region: Fullerton

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Bootlegger’s Brewery
Fine, so it isn’t technically a happy hour, but the tasting room at this Thursday-to-Saturday-only brewery in an unlovely part of Fullerton features 12 to 15 house-made beers at rock-bottom prices. The left side of the beer menu remains more or less constant, including an excellent rye IPA and a very good chipotle-coffee stout; the right side of the menu houses the experimental batches, such as wine-barrel-aged lambics and sour beers. Drink the beer from Mason jars ($2.50-$3.50 per half-pint; $4-$6 per pint). This is also one of the best places to get in on the upscale-food-truck fad; a truck parks at the brewery each day it’s open. (DL) 401 S. Richman, Fullerton, (714) 871-2337; Thurs.-Fri., 4-9 p.m.; Sat., 2-9 p.m.

The Cannery
For those lucky enough to live on the Balboa Peninsula, it’s easy to get here. For the rest of us, parking is a bitch. The reward for the inconvenience? Serene views of Duffy boats purring up and down the harbor and the raucous bar scene inside. Plus, free clam chowder! The rest of the bargains come from the sushi bar. The sushi rice can be a bit gummy; the soft shell crab, overbattered. Nothing that $2.50 draft beer and more free clam chowder can’t fix! (EG) 3010 Lafayette Rd., Newport Beach, (949) 566-0060; Mon.-Fri., 4-6:30 p.m.


Casa Inka
This place’s half-off appetizers alone prove that no one loves potatoes more than the Peruvians. There’s causa: a chilled mashed potato molded into a cylinder with in-betwen layers of creamed avocado and even-creamier tuna. There are the papa rellenas: huge croquettes filled with ground beef, olives and a hard-boiled egg. And, of course, the papa à la huancaina, the Incan answer to potatoes au gratin. All are perfect with a swig of $2 Cusqueño, a lager as transportive as the thatched-roof motif, the large mural of Machu Picchu and the stuffed llamas that greet you at the door. (EG) 8610 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, (714) 847-7555; Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m.


The Cellar
The Green Hour at the Cellar is North County’s only late-night happy hour, and it’s only on Friday nights. Slip into the bar of this hidden restaurant, and revel in 25 percent off your entire drink order. The “green” comes from the absinthe, a specialty of the house, presented in the French style, with water dripped over a burnt sugar cube through a slotted spoon into your absinthe. Eat up before you arrive, though: Absinthe on an empty stomach is a dangerous idea, and there is no bar menu. (DL) 305 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 525-5682; Fri., 10 p.m.-2 a.m.


Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s
The lounge, for lack of a better term, is where it’s at, and not just for the fashionable. The crowd consists of everyone from the fat to the short to the plain-T-shirted—this despite the fact that the small-plates menu is not even discounted. The booze, however, is 50 percent off. Try the vino fresco, a delicious mulled concoction of Grey Goose, basil, grapes and lime. (EG) 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 352-2525; Daily, 4-7 p.m. & 10 p.m.-midnight.


Citrus Cafe
This quiet family eatery is an eggs-and-bacon-with-pancakes kind of place, but recently, it started offering a liberally scheduled happy hour with a $5 “lounge menu” to entice the after-work and dinner crowd. Since it only holds a beer-and-wine license, all its cocktails are soju-based and, as a result, as tame as fruit punch. Nevertheless, the calamari, fried then tossed in a garlic-butter sauce, is extraordinarily refined, as are the sliders, which are hand-formed to the thinness of In-N-Out. (EG) 1481 Edinger Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-2404; Tues.-Sat., 3 p.m.-9 p.m.

Cucina Alessa
Welcome to the $4 Antipasti Hour! The butternut-squash-stuffed ravioli swims in a lick-your-plate-clean brown-butter sauce and fried sage leaves. The caprese smacks of garden freshness. And the carpaccio of cured filet mignon would normally cost five times as much at Italian joints of this caliber. Wash it down with a $4 Italian margarita. Never heard of it? Trust us: It’s good, strong and cheap. (EG) 520 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-2148; Mon.-Thurs., 3-6 p.m. & 9-10 p.m.; Fri., 3-6 p.m. & 9-11 p.m.; Sat., 9-11 p.m.; Sun., 9-10 p.m.

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