How to Spend Your Summer Sundays in Orange County
Oh, summer weekend: three days of unrestrained freedom to drink and eat and fuck and sunbathe and swim whenever, wherever or however you want. The parties, the beaches, the shows, the festivals, the carne asada Sundays, the booing of Dana Rohrabacher as he waves to the crowd during Huntington Beach's Fourth of July parade--so much to do, and so little time.
In fact, there's so much to do that, sometimes, you get overloaded and just sit at the bar at Cassidy's, or spend a full day at Bolsa Chica State Beach, or drive aimlessly around until you do . . . nothing. Or just go back to your living room and aimlessly swipe left on Tindr, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Well, we've got the perfect gift for you: a summer weekend timeline, from Friday midnight to 12:01 a.m. Monday, telling you what's the best thing to do at any particular hour. From sunrises to sunsets, evening concerts to 2 a.m. pho runs, epic PCH noon cruises to wonderful midmorning hikes to so many breakfast burritos that our No. 3 editor nearly puked just copy editing this issue, behold a smorgasbord of things to do in Orange County this summer. And if this doesn't inspire you to try something new? You might as well pack up and move to Colton--we hear it's happening nowadays. Enjoy!
12:13 A.M.: Have your nightcap at a bar that really knows how to mix a cocktail: The Corner. Highly recommended is the Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned. A single ice cube appears to leave barely any room for the drink's ingredients: grenadine, club soda, ginger ale, bitters, sugar cubes, an orange wheel, a maraschino cherry and, of course, a quarter cup of Buffalo Trace bourbon. Say goodnight, Gracie. 8961 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 968-6800; thecornerhb.com.
12:45 A.M.: A table finally opens up at Honda-Ya in Tustin. It's okay; scarf down your Japanese pub food, soak in your Sapporo, and remind yourself to come at 7 p.m. the following weekend so you can get a table by 11. Or, better yet, go to the one in Fullerton. 556 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 832-0081; also at 2980 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 577-0401; izakayahondaya.com.
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1:02 A.M.: Set aside the towering history of The Doll Hut, and you'll still find a rowdy atmosphere, a frosty glass of domestic brew and probably another rowdy local show on any given Saturday on which to spend your last ounce of energy. 107 S. Adams St., Anaheim, (714) 533-1286; www.facebook.com/worldfamousdh.
2 A.M.: All of downtown SanTana's bars have shut down for the night, and everyone empties out to find the same lonchera: Dos Chinos, which parked earlier in the night outside Proof Bar. Order tacos. And Stoner Papas. And a burrito. And more Stoner Papas. Enjoy! Follow Dos Chinos on Twitter: @doschinos.
3:37 A.M.: Go find an after-party roaming the beach in Newport or Huntington. Sure, the cops will come cause problems if you're posted up in one spot for too long and/or being rowdy, but they've got bigger issues to deal with between the hours of 1:30 and 3 a.m.--such as waiting for people in your group to jump into a car and DUI their way to a beating.
4:14 A.M.: This one's for the insomniacs! Pull over the side of the road on Westminster Boulevard halfway between Bolsa Chica Road and Seal Beach Boulevard. You're right next to the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, and the sky will be as free of light pollution as any developed spot in this gorgeous county of ours. Let your mind roam: Don't we live in a beautiful place? Aren't we lucky to enjoy all of this? But don't get too sentimental--some Chinooks are already on their way to scare you away from whatever the hell Barack Obama hides there.
5:45 A.M.: Mountainous greenery surrounds the scenic point known as Top of the World in Laguna Beach, site of one of the most majestic sunrises in Southern California. Off to one side, the Pacific Ocean appears below, stretching into blue vastness. Turning toward the east, an orange orb arises to announce the new day by shining into the iridescent sky. The glow will arrest the moment, a gift of the divine. West Ridge, Laguna Beach.
6:04 A.M.: While Huntington Beach's pier gets all the wackos, the Seal Beach Pier is not without its charms, and it's far less loco. At sunrise, you have one of the prettiest sites in OC. Lululemon-clad beach bunnies are at a minimum here; instead, enjoy older fishermen, surfers of all ages and college students stunned that a New England-style town can exist on the West Coast. At Main Street and Ocean Avenue, Seal Beach.
6:16 A.M.: Sometimes the best sunrises are the ones that can't be seen if you are staying in a plush, ultra-expensive room facing the opposite direction on the beach. Just like the one at the Montage Hotel. 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (866) 271-6953; www.montagehotels.com/lagunabeach.
6:48 A.M.: Take one Sunday to travel to Ventura, the best-kept secret staycation remaining in Southern California. Stay at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach and order the room-service huevos rancheros, the best version of the Cal-Mex favorite in the state. Then step onto your balcony to enjoy the majestic ocean views. 450 E. Harbor Blvd., Ventura, (805) 648-2100; www.crowneplaza.com/ventura.
7:01 A.M.: Down-home dining is hard to come by in an era when businesses for OC's white working class are nonexistent. That's where Kimmie's Coffee Cup excels. Engage in some small talk with the waitress before she brings out a plate of cinnamon French toast. The swirls are dusted with powdered sugar and every bite is a flavorful, syrupy delight. And then, of course, there's the coffee. Watch the steam arise from a freshly poured cup before getting a caffeine fix to kickstart your final weekend push. www.kimmiescoffeecup.com.
7:17 A.M.: Find our award-winning cover story from last year on the Santa Ana River, drive to the shopping center off Imperial Highway and Yorba Ranch Road, then jaywalk over to where the river trail runs parallel to the 91 freeway. Fuck walking on the bike path; get down into the brush by the rushing water and get your Joel Beers on!
7:50 A.M.: There's no WiFi at Caffe Bene, which is a blessing for old souls who long for distraction-free conversations and alone time with Harry Potter or Christian Grey (to each his or her own). As a result, the Korean coffeeshop beams with audible conversations and is a more social environment than Starbucks, where people are often on their laptops working on something while wearing earbuds. 14450 Culver Dr., Irvine; (949) 430-8030; also at 5401 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 562-9170; www.caffebeneusa.com.
8:00 A.M.: Drive to The Filling Station in Orange with the windows rolled down and let your hands feel the breeze. Grab a perfect seat on the patio, under the shade of a big tree. Order an iced latte, and an iced tea, and a fresh squeezed orange juice. Then dig into buttermilk pancakes and eggs Florentine. You eat slowly and enjoy every bite and sip. Now is a good time to remember that though everyone loves this place for brunch, it's also open for dinner. Pancakes for dinner! 201 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 289-9714; www.fillingstationcafe.com.
8:06 A.M.: There are no mimosas, pretty pancakes or flower centerpieces at Rooster Café. There is, however, a visible, small kitchen overwhelmed by piles of bacon, carb-heavy options to soak up the previous night's alcohol, nearly an entire avocado spread over every omelet and breakfast taco, plus strong coffee and Mexican hot chocolate. 750 Saint Clair St., Costa Mesa, (714) 754-1944; eatatrooster.com.
8:18 A.M.: A Cuban plate of revoltillo de salchicha--two scrambled eggs, sausage, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and Swiss cheese--awaits with a view of Orange Circle activities at Felix Continental Café. 36 Plaza Square, Orange, (714) 633-5842; www.felixcontinentalcafe.com.
8:47 A.M.: Get ready for your carne asada Sunday by loading up on meats at El Fenix. Are the carne asada cuts and chorizo delicious enough to warrant an early morning drive to Rancho Santa Margarita? Sí, señor! P.S. ain't it cool the Reconquista has reached this most quintessential of South County cities? 29941 Aventura, Ste. K, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 459-3809; www.elfenixmarket.com.
9:09 A.M.: A decampment to Irvine Regional Park during the summer has been an Orange County tradition for more than a century because of its ever-old-school charms. It offers train and pony rides, a large pond on which you can pedal paddleboats, bike rentals (go for a tandem model and put the kids to work!), playgrounds, and randomly roaming peacocks. You can also visit with California's native animals at the Orange County Zoo. 1 Irvine Park Rd., Orange, (714) 973-6835; ocparks.com/parks/irvine.
9:30 A.M.: Survey the beauty of a Sunday morning in Orange County from your table at the Orange County Mining Co. The buffet offers plenty of small bites that are attractive to the kids, as well as an omelet bar. Plus, there's the practically required chocolate fountain. (A similar experience is available up the way at Orange Hill, but our research assistants, Daphne and Phoebe, preferred the less-expensive Mining Co.) Parents might enjoy the constantly refilled champagne, especially if you neglected to make reservations. 10000 S. Crawford Canyon Rd., North Tustin, (714) 997-7411; www.orangecountyminingco.com.
9:45 A.M.: San Onofre State Beach is technically in San Diego County, but so many of us go down there that we should trade Mission Viejo for it. Exit Basilone, pull up to the ranger station, and pay your California State Parks fee ($15). Down you go around the bluff, past the crazy mix of beat-up old VW microbuses and brand-new jacked-up pickup trucks. Find a spot (trust us: back into the spot), then set up a picnic. There are any number of beaches around to choose from, but Old Man's Beach has the advantage of having palapas, tables and fire pits that might actually be available during the day, particularly once the wind changes and the morning surf crowd thins out. Off Basilone Road, San Onofre.
10 A.M.: Born-Free's annual convergence of vintage motorcycles, engines and creative, custom choppers is a gearhead's dream, growing to worldwide prominence in less than a decade. We know you've been practicing your best Dennis Hopper à la Easy Rider impression for this, so come by Oak Canyon Ranch on June 28 for some Sunday funday chromeday . . . or something. 5305 Santiago Canyon Rd., Silverado; bornfreeshow.com.
10:08 A.M.: Schooner At Sunset was formerly Harpoon Harry's, but thankfully the nautical theme was kept while upping the whiskey and craft-beer selection and adding a menu of neo-American fare that hasn't failed us yet. The lobster benny, local motion and chilaquiles are all recommended, but the real prize is the Bloody Mary bar. Since we're being beachy, go with the seafood Bloody with Clamato, jumbo shrimp and an Old Bay rim. 16821 Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-2121; www.schooneratsunset.com.
10:55 A.M.: Orange County's only drag brunch is at Velvet Lounge. The restaurant is kept deliberately dark, which does wonders for your hangover headache. When it's time for the hair o' the dog, skip the mimosas and go straight for the Bloody Marys--which is what everyone from the lesbians in the back to the bears laughing uproariously near the center is drinking. The drag show, featuring the Brunchettes (well, what else would you call them?) starts after the food is served, with the stage lit up in purple and female impersonators in dresses even Cher couldn't rock. They sing, dance and tell filthy, bawdy jokes. Definitely not a place to take the kids, unless you're the "cool aunt." 416 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 232-8727; www.velvetoc.com.
11 A.M.: Looking for a taste of the Big Easy? The two-day Bayou Blues Festival at Rainbow Lagoon Park celebrating all things bayou and blues is one of the highlights of the summer festival season in Long Beach. There are also Zydeco and step-dance lessons and tons of Cajun and Creole cuisine to try. The crawfish-eating competition is definitely the place to be, at least as a spectator. Go Saturday, June 20 to gorge out, then again Sunday to watch someone else destroy their body with food for a change. East Shoreline Drive, Long Beach; www.longbeachbayou.com.
11:08 A.M.: Yes, The Hungry Bear is a room full of cubs and senior citizens. But don't let looks fool you. The juicy, expertly cooked cuts of beef (gotta have the specialty steak) remind us that grannies may not have all their teeth, but their taste buds are always to be trusted. 2219 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 526-2711; www.thehungrybear.com.
11:19 A.M.: What's a Sunday morning without bottomless mimosas? Get out of bed at 10 and get ready to meet people at Berlin Bistro by Portfolio, Long Beach's cute little coffeeshop/café. There, you pay $20 total for as much as you can drink in sparkling wine and orange juice, as well as one of the fine entrées. If you're going to be there a while, expect to order some nibbly bits after hour two, such as the bruschetta, with its goat-cheese-blanketed crostini, or the chips and guacamole. 420 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 435-0600; www.berlincoffeehouse.com.
11:30 A.M.: Be the first person at North Shore Poke Company as it opens because poke. 214 Fifth St., Huntington Beach, (714) 465-9011; www.northshorepokeco.com.
NOON: Arrive at TAPS Fish House and Brewery and claim your patio reservation. Sure, there's no ocean view, but TAPS' brunch is fantastic. Forget the omelets--eat the sushi, lobster, crab, oysters and bananas Foster! Mimosas! And coffee! 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 257-0101; www.tapsfishhouse.com.
12:18 P.M.: Some of Laguna Beach's galleries are run-of-the-mill, rife with redundant seascapes and so much turquoise even Santa Fe is blushing. Others, however, draw you in with their novelty. Try the JoAnne Artman Gallery, where color-popping contemporary pieces abound. This summer, the gallery will show pop-culture mixed-media pieces from artists James Verbicky and Robert Mars in an exhibit cheekily titled "The Boys Are Back in Town." Maybe you should be, too. 326 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 510-5481; www.joanneartmangallery.com.
12:45 P.M.: You've already read about Cream Pan's croissants; return today for the beef curry, which deserves its own Lord's Day because it's crispy and succulent. 602 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 665-8239; www.creampanbakery.com.
1:21 P.M.: Full from lunch, have someone roll you into a car and drive you to the Huntington Beach Disc Golf course at Central Park. It's a hard game if you've never played before, especially when tipsy. For your less sporty friends, watching is just as fun. Either way, it's a beautiful spot to stroll around. 18000 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach, (714) 536-5486.
1:44 P.M.: Haute Cakes Caffe is open until 3 p.m. and serves as good of a mildly healthy hangover brunch as you'll find anywhere near Newport Beach. Try the Hello and Good Morning sandwich, if you're looking for sweet, spicy and savory all in the same bite. 1807 Westcliff Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 642-4114; hautecakescaffe.co.
1:52 P.M.: Bubbling-hot soondubu--soft tofu soup--can't be better than at the always popular Kaju Tofu in Garden Grove's Little Seoul District. 8895 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 636-2849; www.kajutofugardengrove.com.
2 P.M.: Everyone goes to Main Beach in Laguna or the secluded beaches in South Laguna. Screw everyone. Remember that the California Coastal Act guarantees public access to all of the Golden State's beaches, and park at Heisler Park. Giggle at the fools who decided to marry at the gazebo. Stroll through the greenspace's stunning cliffside views. Then keep walking alongside Cliff Drive to the residential areas that have their own staircases to the sea, and remember your laws. Find a house that has a gate open and let yourself in--only the staircase, though! Go onto one of the private beaches in Shaws Cove or Crescent Bay. Lay down your towels on the sand and erect the umbrella you remembered to bring. Run and jump into the ocean warmed slightly above its normally uncomfortable temperature. Do your best From Here to Eternity re-enactment. Now, nap time. Day drinking, followed by exercising your California constitutional rights, is exhausting, after all. 375 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-3311.
2:16 P.M.: Slapfish is now a global empire, but we'll never forget its OC roots. And while the original is in Huntington Beach (actually, the original was a luxe lonchera), the Laguna Beach spot is just dandy. Try to not drool into chowder fries and lobster grilled cheese. Yes, you can have lobster more than once a day. Now's probably a good time for another beer, right? 211 Broadway St., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-0464; www.slapfish.com.
2:48 P.M.: You gotta look your best for summer, so swing by Barbería El Catrín to freshen your fade. This is the estimated time you'll finally get a seat after arriving at 10 in the morning, but don't think you're going to have to fry your eyes with your smartphone: El Catrín plays comedies on a flat-screen--the cheapest free day movie since sneaking into the AMC Fullerton 10 back in the mid-1990s. 400 W. Fourth St., Ste. B, Santa Ana, (714) 558-3948; barberiaelcatrin.com.
3 P.M.: You roll up to Alegria Cocina Latina in Long Beach--or wherever the website sends you. Order a glass of sangria or a beer at the bar, sit down in front of an easel, and attend a Brushstrokes and Beverages class. When it's done, you take your painting home with you. Maybe it's abstract, or maybe it looks as if you tried to color by number--who cares? Bob Ross and his damn trees would have been so much easier to deal with had there been alcohol involved. www.brushstrokesandbevs.com.
3:32 P.M.: Whether or not you're still hungover by the afternoon, stop by The Melt in Irvine for a bite to eat. Why? Because they specialize in grilled cheese, including a sandwich that has macaroni and cheese on it. Any questions? 73 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, (949) 954-6621; themelt.com.
4:08 P.M.: Old Towne Orange early-dinner crawl! One of your best bets for everyone is Smoqued BBQ. Its outstanding mac and cheese will keep the kids happy, and when that dish is paired with the chili, the parents will feel a bliss they haven't felt since their engagement days. Or let the kids build their own meals at the Pizza Press. (You should get the Chronicle; don't even try to create something better.) Watch the sunset while the kids play in the Plaza fountain, then take everyone for a liquid-nitrogen-frozen delight at à la minute. And then, if you're not TOO stuffed, swing by Elsewhere Vintage. Here, clothes are organized by era and everything is handpicked. Nice! Smoqued BBQ, 128 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 633-7427; www.smoquedbbq.com. The Pizza Press, 155 N. Glassell St., Orange; www.thepizzapress.com. à la minute, 117 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 363-3470; www.alaminuteicecream.com. Elsewhere Vintage, 105 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 771-2116; elsewherevintage.com.
4:23 P.M.: Why can't life be as peaceful as the pulse of the Pacific? This thought often comes to mind in the seclusion of Table Rock Beach. The breathtaking cove is another hidden gem in Laguna Beach, accessible only through a descending wooden staircase that leads to its riches. The waves splash against the various rock formations sculpted by eons. Those views alone are affirming enough, but there's one sight left to behold: When the afternoon blends into evening, the sun begins its retreat into relaxing ripples of the outstretched ocean. At the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Eagle Rock Way, Laguna Beach.
4:46 P.M: Summer without good bowls of poke just doesn't seem right. Luckily, there's Pokinometry, where each one contains pretty cubes of pink fish, crabmeat, avocados and other adds you won't be charged extra for (unlike some other places). It's done Chipotle-style here: You wait in line and choose the items you want. The result is a fresh bowl of fish atop a bed of rice and your choice of sauce. Deconstructed multiculti sushi never tasted so good. 184 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (657) 208-3488; www.pokinometry.com.
5:28 P.M.: If you can't afford a trip to Hawaii, do the next best thing at Don the Beachcomber. Enjoy the happy hour in the Dagger Bar while amateurs sing their hearts out at karaoke, as led by KJ Tyce. After a couple of Don's signature Mai Tais, you'll be singing "Down on Mainstreet" with the best of 'em. 16278 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (562) 592-1321; www.donthebeachcomber.com.
5:38 P.M.: All-day Sunday happy hour? That's 320 Main for ya. Its cocktails are the best in Orange County (especially the ones made with applejack), and everyone loves the Bleu Tenders chicken, but the blistered shishitos, small peppers with their delicate skin split by fire, are what you want to start. They have a mild spice with a nice, soft chew, and they're ridiculously easy to mindlessly eat--the perfect drinking snack. And don't forget to have a full dinner, either. There's a set "family" menu available every Sunday, if you're not ready to commit to a giant slice of beef or a huge pork chop. Finish up with a small glass of amaro--the bartenders can tell you which one goes with your meal--so you can stave off the cruda and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at work on Monday morning. 320 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 799-6246; www.320mainsealbeach.com.
John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
5:42 P.M.: Once the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing packs up for the year, the Huntington Beach Pier returns to its true beauty. Oh, the freaks never leave. (Ever seen a tourist on a Segway get distracted by a hot girl and run into a pissed-off street preacher? Just find a spot to sit and wait a few minutes.) But past the tanned shirtless dudes playing volleyball in the sand, the speedy rollerbladers swaying toward the other side of the beach, and the families inside tents larger than the average millennial's apartment are the musicians strumming their guitars on the famed walkway. Some of us never catch their names or know all of the songs they play, but it's fun to find a spot in between a fisherman or two that overlooks the water and listen. When the sky turns pink and purple to the west, it's a pleasure to shut off to the energy of these musicians. On the corner of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach.
6:05 P.M.: When within at least 10 minutes from one of the Joe's Italian Ice locations, it's recommended to get a Joe Latti no matter how full or busy you are. It's a dessert that goes full circle: You start with the custard, get to the Italian ice, and then finish with a thick layer of custard on the bottom. The ice, really, is some sort of delicious limbo in which your goal is to get through it just so you can get to the custardy gates. It's the pre-chorus deserving of chorus that will follow--and how salvation happens. 12302 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 750-1076; also at 2201 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 703-2100; joesice.com.
6:28 P.M.: Take a friend who's new to Orange County and drive the length of Newport Coast Drive southbound. Tell them its story--how not even 15 years ago, it was as untrammeled a piece of OC asphalt as there was. At the road's apex, put your car in neutral and slowly coast through Don Bren's faux-Mediterranean dream. And as you finally get to Pacific Coast Highway and pass by the ostentatious Newport Coast arches, recite "Ozymandias" again and again through the tears.
6:51 P.M.: Enjoy a vape at The Quill, one of the last places left in Southern California where you can still smoke without the National Security Agency disappearing you to a black site. 1630 Mabury St., Santa Ana, (714) 558-2744.
7:30 P.M.: There's no shortage of reggae-ish bands in OC, but the local boys of Seedless are still the finest example of that type of sound in recent memory. And they always bring a good-looking crowd. Catch their blend of rock and Jamaican riddims, plus Common Sense, June 19 at the Hangar stage at the OC Fair. 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-1500; www.ocfair.com.
7:30 P.M.: A Sunday night with Willie Nelson at the Pacific Ampitheatre? The only other thing you better be doing at this time on July 19 that would keep you away is dying. And sharing the stage with Alison Krauss & Union Station? Heaven doesn't even have to wait 'cause it's HERE. 100 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-1500; www.pacamp.com.
7:40 P.M.: Weekend's almost over, so time to get a nightcap. Come out to C4 Deli in SanTana--craft beer, glass of wine, deli food, TVs tuned to sports, and that flier with the chick and an abacus that reminds you to return on Tuesday and play the fiendishly difficult quizzes of Pop Quiz Trivia. 200 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 263-1555; c4deli.com.
7:48 P.M.: Start waving goodbye to your summer at Crystal Cove State Park, the most gorgeous slice of Orange County. Pray the Irvine Co. never gets its hands on this side of paradise, the way it raped Newport Coast. 8471 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3539.
8:02 P.M.: Oreos, Twinkies, Kool-Aid, your wedding ring . . . just about anything you can dip in batter, fry and cover with whipped cream is fair game at Chicken Charlie's inside the OC Fair. After that cholesterol-filled pilgrimage, consider your summertime cherry officially, finally popped--and fry that, too. 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-1500; www.ocfair.com.
8:38 P.M.: Order a pizza to pick up at Tony's Little Italy, where your deep-dish pizza dreams come true. 1808 N. Placentia Ave., Ste. B, Placentia, (714) 528-2159; www.tonyslittleitaly.com. 9 P.M.: Your OC shenanigans largely done, make the long drive up to Santa Monica to the M.I. Westside Comedy Theater and catch the Neal Brennan and Friends weekly comedy show. Tickets are less than $10, and Brennan, who co-created Chappelle's Show, showcases some of the funniest comedians in Southern California--catch them here before they pop up at the Irvine and Brea Improvs, then catch them there, too. 1323-A Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica, (310) 451-0850; westsidecomedy.com.
9:15 P.M.: Nighttime driving at its best in OC is north on Laguna Canyon Road with the windows rolled down, smelling the coastal sage scrub. Smile, knowing you had the perfect Californian summer weekend, then grit your teeth after you spot the next Irvine Co. development because damn it, the dream is almost over.
9:39 P.M.: Stop whatever you're doing, and tell your friend to stop as well. Whip out your smartphones and make sure to follow OC Weekly on social media: Facebook.com/ocweekly, twitter.com/ocweekly, instagram.com/ocweekly. As for Snapchat? Details to come. . . .
10:18 P.M.: Here's exactly how your weekend should end: a cigar in one hand, a glass of bourbon in the other. For that, Hopscotch is the only choice in an area filled with college bars. This is a chill spot for grown-ups--or people who can at least act like it. And after your ideal OC weekend, you might not be any older, but you're definitely wiser. 136 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-2222; www.hopscotchtavern.com.
11:30 P.M.: Sit and just take in the spectacle that is Linbrook Bowl: The waxed lanes and eternal splits of the bowling alleys. The Googie architecture. Its 24-hour business plan. The dark lounge where you can karaoke to everything from No Doubt to Antonio Aguilar. And then remember that Huell Howser highlighted this landmark in his show on Anaheim, and say loudly, "THAT'S A-MAAAAZING!" 201 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 774-2253; www.linbrookbowl.com.
11:38 P.M.: Busy weekends call for slow endings, whether that means reading a good book, drinking fair-trade coffee or listening to (or participating in!) the open-mic night at The Night Owl. It's a deliberate callback to Fullerton's bohemian coffeehouses of yore--such as the Hub and the places Jackson Browne used to strum at while attending Sunny Hills High School. Channel your inner Ginsberg (sans the boy-loving, of course). And while the official open-mic nights are on Tuesday, if you start beboping, no one will look askance . . . much. 200 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 525-0305; www.thenightowlfullerton.com.
MIDNIGHT: Cozy Corner Drive-In's food is quick and savory, but far better is its giant neon sign, a beacon for all starved freaks of the night: cholos, paisas, starved Observatory concertgoers from down the street. Get a bite and gird yourself for Monday. . . . Aw, crap: it's Monday already! 426 N. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 554-3240.
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