Drunk After Work: The Copper Door

The Place: The Copper Door, 225 1/2 N. Broadway, Santa Ana. No phone number.

The Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.

The Deal: None on the pricing bit, no food: just a tasty jumble of craft beers.

The Scene: It's still a work-in-progress but already the place to be for SanTana's hipsters. The downstairs setting–dark, barely lit, literally subterranean–gives the American Apparel set visions of Williamsburg, the ever-spinning DJs create a cacophony that overwhelms at times (the acoustics here are terrible, which means the Dorothy Ashby DJs try to sneak in to show their cred gets lost in the shouted conversations), and the cavernous setting begs for the concerts this place use to hold–sans the knife-wielding rockabiliies, of course.

A massive bar to the left is where you order, and people either hang out there, on the standing tables ringing the walls, or the Copper Door's piece de resistance: a huge, wooden communal table nearly bisecting the place, already the prettiest table in Orange County. Oh, and two pool tables near the entrance, and a bouncer up top: add more of the former, and eliminate the latter. And the hanging cords of rope used as curtain? Unless we're setting sail for Pitcairn, unnecessary.

The Sauce: Only beer right now, with some on tap but most in bottles and almost all of the craft variety. I don't like beer, but a friend gave me a drink of a strawberry-flavored one; I wanted to dunk toast into it, and spread peanut butter on it, so great it was. These guys know beer…but the one issue my pals had with the place is they said the prices were rather unreasonable.

The Food: None yet. Rumor has it they're waiting for Chapter One: the modern local to open up for that.

The Verdict: The Copper Door is still very much a work in progress, but this has the feel of becoming SanTana's next Lola Gaspar sans the arrogance: a place that will be slammed very soon. They only opened for Saturdays in October, but now are doing it three times a week. Go now and appreciate it before the masses truly come.

The Grade: B+

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