Over the holidays, local bars get fuller than usual gracias to OC natives returning home from wherever they may now live. And, given our tribal instincts, most end up at the bars they haunted in their early 20s, or the bars that their friends who never left haunt daily.
Expected, right? But what's particularly interesting is how certain bars become the hangout for alumni from a particular high school—and sometimes even for a particular generation of graduates. Nights become a veritable reunion for the class of '09, or '97, or even '68. Following, then, is a partial list of where Orange County high school graduates tend to drink at, whether during the holidays or not. Do add your high school's watering hole in the comments, because this is a VERY incomplete list reflecting the alma maters of us Weeklings—it ain't our fault our parents couldn't afford Irvine, you know?
Anaheim High — Revolucion 1910 Cantina, 2J's Lounge
This one's mine: If you're a Colonist and you have't yet hit your 10-year anniversary, you still want to DTF your nights and thus hang out at Revolucion 1910 Cantina—not just for the cheap margaritas but because they'll bump Maná at the perfect moment for you to sidle up to that girl who was in Mrs. Elder's dance class you never had the guts to ask out on a date. After your 10-year reunion, you eventually realize that older Colonists haunt 2J's Lounge, because it's perfectly divey and also off the 91, the easier to get back home to Corona (where you can actually afford a house) after a couple of chelas. Revolución Cantina, 205 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 871-6861, revolucioncantina.com. 2J's Lounge, 120 W. Houston Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-9665.
Santa Ana High — Anywhere in Downtown SanTana, Jasper's
Per our calendar editor, proud Saint Aimee Murillo: “Proof bar for sure! Also Original Mikes, Lola Gaspar and Chapter One. Alumni from Santa Ana High School will basically go anywhere in DTSA, as I'm sure you would have guessed.”
She's talking about millennial graduates; I know folks from Class of 1990 and older congregate at Jasper's Bar—that is, until the hip-hop kids take over around 11 p.m. Must be seen to be believed! Jasper's Bar & Grill, 3672 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 751-4604
Buena Park High — Tomkat Lounge
True to their mascot, Coyotes are known to drink far and wide, from Azteca's in Garden Grove to—shockingly—Rio Vista in in Anacrime, about as nameless a dive as I know in OC. But everyone ends up at Tomkat Lounge, per our source—not a bad choice. 8761 Knott Ave., Buena Park, (714) 826-1780.
Mater Dei — The Fling
About the only classy thing Mater Dei grads do is drink at this legendary bar. And before Monarchs start whining like they always do (seriously: does anyone know a group of alumni more petulant than them? I stand corrected: Foothill High), go ask Servite High alum, OC Weekly music editor Nate Jackson, how class is done—CREDO!!! 2370 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 547-8972..
Fullerton High/Troy High — Mulberry Street, Back Alley, Roscoe's, Bourbon Street, Slidebar
From a bartender in the area: “The older ones congregate at Mulberry Street and some at the Back Alley during the day. But Roscoe's, Bourbon Street and Shitbar—er, Slidebar—definitely pull in the younger ones.”
Valencia High — TJ's Locker Room
“Buy a married woman a pitcher of beer here,” says one source (Class of '95), “and you'll get her reminiscing about having sex in the bleachers at Valencia High while a junior—and then she'll invite you to relive her younger days.” 1164 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Placentia, (714) 996-0929.
Costa Mesa High — The Huddle, Patrick's Pub
Offered without comment by a Mustang we know, save for the comment that “A lot of people go to Patrick's, especially on Thanksgiving Wednesday.” The Huddle, 741 Baker St., Costa Mesa, (714) 540-0966; Patrick's Pub, 2645 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 966-2721
Orange High — Paul's Cocktails
Makes sense—the classic is within stumbling distance of Orange High, and alumni can hit on the Chapman undergrads that have taken over Paul's over the past decade. 207 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 639-2480.
El Dorado High — Kelly's Korner Tavern
You really need no excuse to hang at Kelly's, and you get a bunch of Golden Hawks haunting Kelly's trivia nights, with many teams connecting with their middle-school peers who went to Rosary/Connelly High and Servite to use them as ringers. 907 E. Yorba Linda Blvd., Placentia, (714) 961-9396.
Esperanza High — Canyon Inn, Lake Havasu
Another bar that's down the street from the ol' high school, you find a lot of MILF hunting and boy-toy shopping across different decades—more so than at any alma mater, I do say. Go Aztecs! And then there's this quote from someone in the know: “I never understood what it was about Havasu, but everyone from Yorba Linda goes to the river to drink.” BRUH… 6821 Fairlynn Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 779-0880.
Corona del Mar High/Newport Harbor High — Malarky's, Blackie's
Those vomiting Sea Kings and Sailors during their annual football game earlier this year? Can't hate on them too much—they were just aping their older brothers, uncles, and grandpas that do the same at Mularkey's and Blackie's every night, you know? Malarky's, 3011 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 675-2340; Blackie's, 2118 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, (949) 675-1074.
El Modena — Signal Lounge
Correct me if I'm wrong, Vanguards, but y'all have the record for the closest bar to a high school in OC—RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. 3804 E. Chapman Ave. # F, Orange, (714) 532-9035.
Huntington Beach High — Perq's, Tumbleweeds
True to their working-class, party-hearty reputation, Oilers hang out in decidedly prole establishments. And just like previous generations, they never seem to go anywhere else—because why would you when you can get drunk with your former high school history teacher? Perqs, 117 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-9996; www.perqsbar.com. Tumbleweed's, 21094 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-2776; tumbleweedshb.com.
Garden Grove High — Louie's on Main
Downtown Garden Grove has been trying to attract outsiders for decades, but why try when old Argonauts keep flocking to Louie's? 12942 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 537-9946
Dana Hills High — Hennessey's
I know no one who's a graduate from there, but some guy on Facebook told me Dana Hills grads come here, so it must be true…right? 34111 La Plaza, Dana Point, (949) 488-0121.
San Clemente — “The Triangle”
Leave it to Tritons to have not one but THREE bars they all go to, so much so that they call Ole's Tavern, The Red Fox Lounge, and Goody's Lounge “The Triangle.” All great choices, although we prefer the Red Fox.
Ole's Lounge, 127 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 498-9400; olestavern.com. Red Fox Lounge, 220 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 492-3403. Goody's Tavern, 206 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 492-3400; www.goodystavern.com