Best Bar In Orange County - 2011
The Bootlegger Bar
15 Crystal Cove
Newport Beach, CA 92657
If you've ever tried to get an outside table at Crystal Cove's Beachcomber Café, with its unparalleled view of one of Southern California's last unspoiled stretches of coastline, you know there's a 45-minute (at least!) wait. Fortunately, there's a seat for you at the Bootlegger Bar, a tiki-style tavern tucked into the shady side of the café and connected to the restaurant by an elevated walkway. With a full bar, there's a wide variety of tropical drinks to choose from, but if the swing-era oldies, pirate mural and vintage Hollywood posters don't have you craving a mai tai, both the mojitos and margaritas are well-fashioned and provide a fine pairing with the available appetizers, particularly the wonton-shell ahi taco sliders and the lobster croquettes. Besides the small fleet of barstools, the outdoor seating area is cozy and convivial and provides a nice respite from the summer heat and screaming kids down on the beach. If you're not already staying at one of the rental cottages just across the creek, you'll have to park across Pacific Coast Highway and either take the shuttle, which drops you right at the restaurant, or hike downhill and through the tunnel to get there.