18 Great OC Dive Bars, According to People in the Service Industry

Sometimes this is just what you need
Sometimes this is just what you need
Photo by weeklydig

Fancy cocktails are great. So is craft beer, Japanese whiskeys, and fancy wine. But sometimes, when you get off a long day at work, what you really need is to crawl into some dark room and order a drink whose first ingredient is well whiskey and whose second ingredient is flat cola (granted, all of the places on this list will do you better than that).

No one knows the joy of the dive bar better than the wonderful people in the service industry, who work so hard so that us over here at SAFII have something to write about. Where do they go when it's time for a dive? Here's 18 great ones from 11 people who work in OC's service industry.

Ashley Guzman, Pastry Chef at The North Left (Santa Ana)

The wonderful Ashley Guzman
The wonderful Ashley Guzman
Photo by LP Hastings

She says:

My favorite dive bar is the Tustin Inn in Tustin because they have $5 shots of Jameson, an awesome shuffleboard table, a good jukebox and bartenders that will sing Erykah Badu with me!

My second favorite spot is Shipmates Sports Bar in Cerritos. Mostly because it's the only bar I know that sells Lumpia Shanghai as bar food.

Leonard Chan, Owner of The Iron Press (Costa Mesa)

18 Great OC Dive Bars, According to People in the Service Industry
LP Hastings

He says:

The Huddle in Costa Mesa: You meet the most amazing variety of people here. Don't expect craft cocktails, but do enjoy the stiff pours at a great value. Darts? Check. Pool tables? Check. Some dude talking to himself in the corner trying to sneak a smoke break in while swigging on Southern Comfort? Check. What's not to love?

Kitsch in Costa Mesa: My home away from home, except I don't really drink at home. This is the Cheers of Orange County. You can't leave without saying bye to all of the staff and maybe a dozen of your friends. Super fair prices, plenty of Fernet, small but good selection of craft beer, a photo booth to get silly in, and rotating artwork. Hungry? A couple of spots are open late and the liquor store in the same plaza will keep the night going late if you do want to bring the party home.

Paul's Cocktails in Orange: This place never fails. Mini pitchers to gulp out of, giant mugs of beer, heavy handed pours, pool, darts, salty dogs, and down to earth locals. 100% of the fun at 50% of the cheddar. Bonus, if you want to get cuckoo you can run loops around the Orange Circle.

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