Despite south Orange County's polished reputation for being pristine,upscale and, well, boring, there lies a couple of dark secret spots in the cracks and crevices of this conservative paradise. It's within those blind spots you find south county's most remarkable, crazy and just plain creepy characters marinating themselves in all kinds of fermentation. Where, you so eagerly ask? Ladies and gents, I give you the top five dive bars of south Orange County.
5. Ole's Tavern
Also known by many as “the Dirty Bird,” this Laguna Beach bar's small but mighty stage hosts a number of local reggae and cover bands like local faves Rebel Rockers and World Anthem. Infamous for their reggae Wednesdays and Thursdays, a small, five dollar cover gets you through the doors and surrounded by dreds, cheap rum and cokes and tons of colorful boardshorts.
Walking around Dana Point Harbor, you might blink and miss the tiny crevice that is Turk's. During the day, this small bar serves up pub-style food and showcases a plethora of cheap drinks and beer and is surrounded by the obvious nautical themed decor. Marines, fisherman, and dirty sailors tend to gravitate to this hole-in-the-wall after a long day out at sea while a steady crop of South County hipsters practice standing around in dark glasses and skinny jeans looking salted and weathered like the rest of them.
might reconsider, but if there ever was a “Cheers” for south Orange
County, Knuckle Heads would be the call. If you're not a north San
Clemente local or just a plain old alchy, everybody knows it the minute
you walk through the doors. Two stages are hosts to local band favorite
like rockers SixStep and rockabilly band Mad Dog and The Smokin' J's.
There's almost no need to buy drinks because the alcohol smell and
friendly demeanor seem to intoxicate you where ever you decide to park
it. But just for good humor, you might as well purchase one of their
cheap drinks and, hell, why not a burger to go with it? Famous for their
sliders for only $5.50, their burgers are fresh ground chuck on sweet
Hawaiian buns with a special ketchup that's as spicy as the crowd.
Eventually you learn there are no strangers at this most awesome dive.
Yes, by time you leave everybody will know your name.