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Bars & Clubs

  • Best Downtown

    Fullerton

    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… More >>
  • Best Bar in Orange County

    Kopa Room

    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… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/North OC

    Continental Room

    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… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/South OC

    Mugs Away Saloon

    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… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Central OC

    The Olde Ship

    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… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Coastal OC

    The Sandpiper Lounge

    This dive on the beach side of Pacific Coast Highway has been a hippie watering hole since the 1960s. Locals call it the “Dirty Bird.” Live music, plenty of beer, an occasional green (but not pine) scent floating through the air and fabulously unpretentious décor make it one of the most welcoming pubs in the county.… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Long Beach

    Alex’s Bar

    Small, dark and covered with pictures of naked ladies sporting Afros, Alex’s Bar is totally trashy. Trashy chic, that is. You enter the bar through a door off a parking lot next to an Auto Zone, and once you pass through those portals, the distinct odor of class (you know: new shoes, champagne, cigarettes) is sure to entice even the… More >>
  • Best New Bar

    Proof

    As the website says, Santa Ana’s Proof “marks an evolution in the Artists Village into an increasingly urbane nighttime destination.” Basically, they’re trying to say this ain’t no dive bar, which means you might actually want to put some pants on before you head in. But it’s by no means Costa Mesa-fancy: The drinks are reasonably priced, the décor is… More >>
  • Best Bar Game

    Shuffleboard Table at Iguana Kelley’s

    When you’re drunk to the point that you can barely stand, don’t you just love to sidle up to a long table and chuck a steel disk down a stretch of sandy wood? No? Oh. Well, you should, and Iguana Kelley’s in Long Beach is the place to go for some old-fashioned shuffleboard. The bar is home to a 22-foot… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pool

    Diamonds Billiards

    With plushy booths, beige-ish desert color scheme and leopard-spotted carpet, not to mention 13 pool tables that don’t show a day of wear or tear, this 14-year-old hidden treasure near the Brea Mall has a clean classiness reminiscent of Las Vegas. In fact, the Egyptian hieroglyphs and stone statues outside the shopping center that houses the club wouldn’t look out… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Regina’s Restaurant

    Why settle for buffalo wings and cheap domestic beer when you’re watching the most refined recreational endeavor known to humankind: Fútbol! (That’s Spanish for soccer, amigo.) At Regina’s, you can dine on fine Argentinean, Spanish, Italian and Greek cuisine and guzzle a first-class rioja or Quilmes while watching your favorite World Cup soccer, Premier League or Copa Libertadores matches. Don’t… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Drunk

    Fling Cocktail Lounge

    There’s no better place to get drunk than a skeezy dive bar. Except, perhaps, a skeezy dive bar with a one-man cover band. Eddie Day is a very large, mulleted man who perches himself in the center of the dimly lit bar, plays guitar and sings cover songs every Friday and Saturday night. Day has a loyal following of forty-… More >>
  • Best Signature Cocktail

    The Flirtini at the Clubhouse

    All right, fellas, the ladies and metros already know about this one. Let’s see if you’re man enough to handle a pink martini. Yeah? What about a pink martini with a gummy fish? We’re talking about the Flirtini, a secret concoction found at the Clubhouse that’s quite possibly the tastiest little drink on the planet. Just try to re-create it… More >>
  • Best Wine Bar

    Bacchus’ Secret Cellar

    Named after the greatest wine expert of all time, Bacchus’ Secret Cellar brings the vino-sampling experience to remarkable heights. Most notable is the wine-tasting bar that, thanks to their wine-preservation system, offers more than 60 vintages at any given time. Tastings are available in four sizes: taste, half-glass, full glass and “flight.” Single “tastes” range from $1 to $19, welcoming… More >>
  • Best Place to Smoke Indoors

    Christy’s Ristorante

    Normally relegated to the windy tundra known as the patio—or, in some cases, the sidewalk—smokers in California are not the highest on the totem pole. Farters, nose-pickers and clubbers of baby seals are treated better than smokers. Face it: If you smoke cigarettes, you are kind of a scumbag. But wait, you say you smoke cigars? Well, then, come on… More >>
  • Best Bartender

    Rick from O’Malley’s

    Finally. A bartender you don’t have to flag down when your glass is empty. In fact, you probably won’t even see the bottom of your glass by the time you’ve got another cocktail waiting. Thank you, Rick; with you, the thirsty find solace. Charming and attentive, Rick has been working the bar scene since long before he was of legal… More >>
  • Best Happy Hour

    Mai Tai Bar

    Most happy hours are enjoyed only by those who have the option to sit in a bar on a Tuesday at 4 p.m. By the time we working folks schlep into our favorite saloons after a long day, happy hour is long over and done with. Why should this time of mirth not be available to the rest of us?… More >>
  • Best Dive Bar

    Paul’s Cocktails

    Paul’s can be many things, depending on when you go. It stays chill during the day, with just the locals and regulars watching sports and shooting pool, shooting the shit with some of the best bartenders around, drinking cocktails and Pabsts in cans. Nights are laid-back, too, but only during winter break. If you like your bars sleepy and casual,… More >>
  • Best Venue for Live Music

    The Prospector

    Long Beach doesn’t have as many live-band hotspots as one would expect from a city its size. Alex’s Bar has some good shows, primarily of the punk variety, and Que Sera has hosted some interesting acts. But in the past couple of years, the Prospector has become one of the most unexpectedly successful venues in town. Why unexpected? Well, frankly,… More >>
  • Best Dance Club

    Club Vegas

    With its sweeping layout and immense dance floors, Club Vegas is the place to go to break it down on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Just don’t take it too seriously: This place isn’t exactly known for its tactful patrons. Think of all the over-the-top elements of the real Vegas, and you’ve got Club Vegas. The guys have gelled, spiky hair,… More >>
  • Best Club DJ

    Dennis Owens of Good Foot at Que Sera

    One of the key figures in Long Beach’s thriving music scene, 35-year-old Dennis Owens plays bass for the outstanding bands Free Moral Agents and BlowUpBlow. But it’s his role as DJ for the long-running Good Foot night at Que Sera for which he is probably best-known and -loved. Most club nights have trouble lasting nine months; Good Foot has been… More >>
  • Best Night Out for Anglophiles

    Definitely Maybe at Memphis

    Where were you when we were getting high—on awesome British music? Seriously, where the hell have you been? You’ve been missing some incredible mixes from DJs TSC-1 (Sean Harris) and AM 180 (Darren Crandell), who’ve been dropping bloke-rockin’ choons every Wednesday for four years at the cozy Costa Mesa Memphis Café. Attendance is way below what it ought to be.… More >>
  • Best Rock Club

    Detroit Bar

    This Costa Mesa fixture is really three clubs in one. There’s the semi-intimate main room, where rock bands rock; there’s the sleek, stylish lounge area, where one can hear rock bands rocking, or listen and/or dance to DJs deejaying, and/or get one’s drink on, and/or buy band merch; and, finally, there’s the homey back room, where one can play tunes… More >>
  • Best All-Ages Venue You Don’t Know About

    The Clinic - CLOSED

    Ah, the all-ages venue. You love it when you’re younger, ecstatically grateful to have a place where you are able to witness your favorites perform live-and-in-person . . . or just to have a place where you don’t feel too young. But as you grow older, you start hating the very thought of it—kids milling about, the idea of even… More >>
  • Best 24-Hour Lockout

    Gemini Studios

    Let’s just say—and why not?—that as younger person, you were in a seven-piece rock band: two guitars, bass, drums, vocals and a horn line, all amplified, all played at high volume. After being kicked out of every member’s garage by either an angry mother, or a cop at the behest of an angry neighbor, you ended up finding a home… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    Executive Suite

    This place really and truly offers something for everyone, no matter the preferred lifestyle. Originally overrun by lesbians, the boys eventually took over Friday nights, now named Boy’s Room. Thursdays are Latin Night, which attracts both guys and girls, but Saturdays still belong to the ladies. Downstairs is relaxed, with darts and pool tables, but upstairs is where the party’s… More >>
  • Best Biker Bar

    Cook’s Corner

    If you arrive just as the sun is setting, the backcountry feel of Cook’s Corner provides much-needed respite from the suburban OC sprawl that creeps dangerously close to Cleveland National Forest blossoming just beyond Cook’s. As the sun drops, Harleys roar up to the low-slung yellow building at the fork in the road, and regulars pile into its sawdust-strewn interior.… More >>
  • Best Strip Joint

    California Girls

    Strip joints (or gentlemen’s clubs, for you euphemism-lovers) fall into two general categories. One is the ritzy emporium of fantasy in which 99 percent of the “exotic” dancers look like airbrushed, silicone- and collagen-enhanced Victoria’s Secret models; where the cover charge is steep, the drinks are overpriced and security guards stand poised to pounce should you touch the merchandise. The… More >>
  • Best Place to Stay Until Last Call

    Hennessey's Grill

    For more than 23 years, Hennessey’s has been the watering hole of choice for Seal Beach locals, with its roomy bar, dark wood and forest-green décor. The salty ocean breeze is a nice touch, too, as it wafts in from the beach, a stone’s throw from the front patio. In fine Irish tradition (along with the attraction to all things… More >>
  • Best Beer Selection

    The Goat Hill Tavern

    If you haven’t heard of the Goat, then you don’t know shit about beer. But don’t worry. Just close your eyes and point, then order confidently. This place has more than 140 of the most obscure beers you could imagine on tap, and it’s doubtful that most of its patrons could tell a Rogue Brutal Bitter from a Deschutes Black… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    Sharkeez

    This one is for all you people who like to think you’re cocktail connoisseurs, spirits savants and masters of the mixed drink. No matter which Bloody Mary is listed here, you won’t agree because you could make a better one. So, all right, hotshots, here’s your chance to shine. Your blank canvas is a mini-pitcher filled with ice and a… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    The El Patron at Yucatan Grill

    This libation is nothing fancy, just a few classic, high-quality ingredients, but that’s why it gets the nod. Yucatan Grill, a tiny Caribbean restaurant tucked out of sight in Seal Beach, knows not to mess with a drink that is messed with far too often. There’s no premade margarita mix, no mysterious plastic bottle filled with high-fructose corn syrup and… More >>
  • Best Hookah Bar

    ChaiKhooneh - CLOSED

    So you really like some tea and lamb tongue with your flavored smoke, eh? Then ChaiKhooneh is the place for you. It isn’t your typical hookah lounge. That’s mostly because of owner AliReza Mirzai’s passion for Persian culture. Stepping inside ChaiKhooneh means immersing yourself in traditional Persian foods and teas, a family-owned spirit, and a haze of fine hookah smoke… More >>
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