The Best Dive Bars to Drink at in Your Neighborhood
See Best Neighborhood Bar, Coastal OC
Taylor Hamby/OC Weekly
As you may have noticed, we can't stop yapping about our largest issue of the year, Best Of 2013, and we're not done yet. A chunk of our Food & Drink awards go to awesome neighborhood, hole-in-the-wall and dive bars around the county each year. South County, North County, Coastal--even Long Beach--they're all represented here. We here at the Weekly love us some neighborhood and dive bars (can't you tell by my weekly column Dive Dive My Darling?) so we hope you'll check out all of our recommendations.
A tasty hamburger from Turk's in Dana Point
Best Neighborhood Bar, South OC: Turk's Back in 1992, when his dockside bar had been open about eight years, Turk himself told the Los Angeles Times, "It's like a person. It has a pulse. I can feel it when I walk in." This buzz could have been emanating from the former Muscle Beach body-builder; he has an IMDB page and earned the title of Mr. Los Angeles in 1946, and his charisma still fills the place. His daughter Candy capably carries on Turk's legacy--she prepares the family's secret mix for Bloody Marys, which you can order daily from 7 a.m. to last call. Any time you visit during those 19 hours, you'll find regulars holding their positions while welcoming a vibrant mix of patrons, including transient boat owners who harbor-hop the coast, the fish-obsessed, international tourists, harbor workers, desert dwellers fleeing the heat, locals of all stripes, the seasick waiting for loved ones to return to Dana Wharf from whale-watching or fishing excursions, and us.
Best Neighborhood Bar, North OC: Take 5 It looks like the diviest of dives, but inside is a 1970s-decorated wonderland. On slow nights, Take 5's regulars trade jabs with the bartenders and watch television together. On weekends, the place fills up with people taking the edge off their weeks. Most nights, someone's in the kitchen cooking (ask for Staci's tacos). It's a dive, but a clean, friendly one. Orange County's version of Cheers? Sure, why not?
The Quill in SanTana
Best Neighborhood Bar, Central OC: The Quill Lounge This seems to be the bar that time forgot, and isn't that what all the longtime locals want? At the Quill Lounge, the bartenders are more likely to scoff at you if you order one of these newfangled cocktails or anything without Southern Comfort in it. If your grandpa hasn't heard of a beer, it doesn't have it. The Quill owns one of the oldest liquor licenses in Orange County and aims to keep things nice and old-school. Hell, even the Internet jukebox seems too modern. Grab a bowl of popcorn from the machine, sidle up to the bar, and listen to the salty old regulars complain, back-sass the bartender and drink, completely in their element.
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC Weekly® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.