The drinking scene in Huntington Beach is infamous for all the wrong reasons: bros, bros, and more bros, along with tourist bros! Now what if we wanted to get our drink on elsewhere? It's a damn shame, because downtown HB has improved dramatically over the past couple of years, to the point where a good cocktail can be found as easily as a double-fisted Jager. We filled the parking meter and checked out a few spots.
Location One: Ruby's Diner
We heard the pier was serving up a few concoctions. Yeah, we were surprised as well. Their handful of options reminded us of our 21-year-old selves. We had no palate for alcohol back then. Therefore, the sweeter the better. Other than a mule being served in a copper mug, it was hard for us to really distinguish one beverage from the next. The mojito was our fave of the five, but it was also the very first cocktail we ever really sipped. Maybe if the margarita was blended, it would've made more of an impact. Yet all we could taste was sweetness (not including a hit of Ruby's hot sauce in our bloody Mary). We knew better libations were on the horizon, so we stumbled on. 1 Main St, (714) 969-7829; www.rubys.com.
Location two: Lot 579
Our next stop was Pacific City. Ignoring the full-service establishments, we made a beeline to the opposite end. Their food hall is nearly complete, but we weren't there to eat. Instead, we dropped by Petals & Pop to browse their bubbly selection. While the original Seal Beach locale is focused on retro sodas, this newer location is all about the fancy bubbles. A designated champagne bar is where individuals can chill over a rosy glass of happiness. Also, flowers! Now if champs don't float your boat, then a few steps away is the newest place to chill. 21058 Pacific Coast Hwy, Ste M120, (714) 374-0252; www.petalsandpop.com.
We're referring to a new tasting room, brought to you by The Dudes' Brewing Company out of Torrance. Open at noon daily, they've got over 20 brews on tap like Peach Berliner Weisse and Coconut Porter. Do a flight or grab a half-pint if you can't make up your mind. The best part— you can bring in food. Having options are always a good thing, so thanks for all things in addition to IPAs, Dudes'! 21058 Pacific Coast Hwy, Ste M160, (310) 974-1805; www.thedudesbrew.com.
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Location three: Tanner's
Across the way from 579 is Pasea Hotel & Spa. Resort guests may opt for a meal at this on-site restaurant. However, most won't realize there's a secondary bar upstairs. Those who know better head to the Treehouse for live music and a breezy view. Offering some specialty cocktails you won't find below, we were content with our mezcal-based Bonfire Collins. Small bites are offered, but we preferred chowing at Ruby's (which we did) or the food hall beforehand. Call it our progressive afternoon crawl, since we ended our exploration with a scoop of Hans' Homemade Ice Cream. Hey, a food writer's gotta eat. 21080 Pacific Coast Hwy, (714) 698-6130; www.tannershb.com.