November 2, 2012 | 6:47am
Deep in the very red heart of centralOrange County
's clogged arterial domain, dive bar culture is alive and well. Although some are more hidden than others, you might be surprised what lurks within the dark crevices between Newport
and Santa Ana
. Those of you who never learned to associate PBR and jukeboxes with good ole' Newps are in for a grimy surprise. After all, every town in OC has it's share of the 99 percent looking to get wasted on the cheap. Ladies and gents, here are our top five dives for central Orange County
Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa
5. Goat Hill Tavern
Located across the street from the ever-trendy (and under construction) Triangle Square in Costa Mesa, your feet will crunch beneath the carpet of peanut shells the minute you walk into the Goat Hill Tavern. A typical stop on the list for the younger dive bar crowd, this dive seems to be as trendy as the lights are bright. Drinks range in the $3 to $7 range and most people have smiles on their faces as they sway and crunch their way to the bar to order, well most likely, a beer. Noted for having 140 beers on tap, this place blasts The Cure and other Euro classics over their jukebox relentlessly.
Apparently, this is the stop for the Hash runner crowd. Male participants will try to convince you it's a good idea to run from bar to bar in flip flops after downing pitchers of beer. Do it.
4. Blackies by the Sea
Noted for their prime location across the street from Newport Pier, (a surf spot is named after the bar), this dive's local claim to fame is serving the coldest beer on tap in Newport prices ranging between $3 and $7. No really, they have a temperature gauge that hangs above the door and it usually teeters between 27 and 28 degrees. This feature isn't the only thing that makes their decor, uh, unique. A 10-foot, 50 year-old Hammerhead Shark along with old license plates, 15 flat screen televisions and even an old PGA golf bag with clubs intact decorate the walls. This bar's small but mighty character shows that, yes, even in Newport, you can get shit-faced for a decent price.
Ladies Beware: Salty old men and longboarders.
Bartenders Brian Kleber and Caleb Phipps put on their best dive bar faces for Halloween night.
Ah yes, if you have partied anywhere near central Orange County/Newport in the past decade, you have been to Cassidy's. You might not remember, but you've been there. The overwhelming smell of tequila and lime that smacks you in the nostrils, the skateboard decks nailed to the walls and girls who are way too pretty to be sitting at the bar by themselves greet patrons who file away into Newport's most infamous dive.
Ladies Beware: Spoiled Newport brats who have been replacing their blood with alcohol relentlessly.
This lamp is as old as the bar, The Quill, in which it sits. Both have been around since 1959.
A glorified portable located behind a shopping center in Santa Ana, The Quill has been around for decades and so have the locals. They might not have the smooth moves of a Newport bachelor on the prowl, but if you're a decent looking lady, someone is going to toss a few cheese ball lines your way like "If I dated you, I would need an inhaler because you would take my breath away." (So says the crazy guy who claims to be bi-sexual). The only lady in the joint is a classy gal named Peggy who laughs at the cheesy one-liners and tells all the guys to "go f$#@ yourself" to which they happily reply "Thank you."
Ladies Beware: You want names? Ask Peggy.
The Fling bar in Santa Ana showcases up-close-and-personal settings for music and locals. Beware.
Open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. everyday, The Fling has two simple rules: 1.) Don't be evil 2.) Drink more. Maybe by the time you get through rule two, you realize despite it's seedy disposition, The Fling's bark is worse than it's bite. The walls are lined with plush red velvet wall paper while random "body part" Halloween decorations hang among the antique chandeliers. If you told me the place was haunted, I might believe you. Whispers of gambling winnings, scratch-off tickets and bet losses are barely audible above the Hank Williams tunes and whatever football game is on T.V. A guy with an eye patch and scraggly grey beard sloshes back a whiskey shot and while his one good peeper does some people watching. A gal known as "Bird Lady" kindly asks what I'm "scribblin' on that paper." This is a legit dive bar. There is live music every night starting at 9 p.m. featuring bands like Citizen O'Kane and one-man band show-stopper Eddy Day. If up close and personal coupled with low lit settings are what you're after, check out this spot. Just know that the immediate feeling of regret upon entering the joint washes away easy with a Jack and Coke.