Best Neighborhood Bar/Coastal OC - 2009
Family came into OC from Iowa, and after seeing the sights, everyone ended up at the Village Inn. The annual walk with friends around Balboa Island to check out the Christmas lights ended with a nip or seven at the Village Inn. And after walking off that romantic dinner at Amelia's, you end up snuggling up to your sweetie in a dark corner booth at . . . the Village Inn. Now, technically, it's a restaurant, serving American grill classics that aren't half-bad. But many know it more for the daily happy hour, the casual atmosphere and the storied reign of longtime Orange County keyboardist/singer/general mirth-maker Greg Topper. Spring, summer, winter or fall, Topper and his bandmates get locals and visitors up on their feet and grooving to music that ranges from golden oldies to rock classics and pop standards. Topper will point out visiting "celebrities," gently tease hoochie mamas out on the cougar prowl and even invite guest vocalists, including the chick who just poured your drink. The party never stops, and you'll never want to leave.