Proving that the OC is about more than just a troubled youth from a broken home who somehow manages to win fights versus well-coiffed surfers and date the hottest, most boring girl in Newport until his ex comes to town and announces she's pregnant, we've put together this guide on where to do the one thing worth doing in the OC (other than the bisexual chick at The Bait Shop): drinking. And because we're awesome, we divided the thing by neighborhood (in North OC, because really once you go further South, aren't you in, like, San Diego already?).
The 16 best bars in the North OC
1. HopScotch136 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton
2. Bootlegger's Brewery130 S Highland Ave, Fullerton
3. The Cellar Restaurant305 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton
4. Playground DTSA220 E Fourth St, Santa Ana
5. Little Sparrow300 N Main St, Santa Ana
6. The Bruery Tasting Room717 Dunn Way, Placentia
7. Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar1150 W Magic Way, Anaheim
8. Noble Ale Works1621 S Sinclair St, Anaheim
9. Rio Vista Lounge200 S Rio Vista St, Anaheim
10. Hollingshead's Delicatessen368 S Main St, Orange
11. Valiant Brewing Company2294 N Batavia St, Orange
12. ARC Restaurant3321 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa
13. Haven Gastropub and Brewery42 De Lacey Ave, Pasadena
14. Beachwood BBQ & Brewing210 E 3rd St, Long Beach
15. Citrus City Grille122 N Glassell St, Orange
This Fullerton American pub has one simple rule: draw a chalk outline of a whiskey bottle and jump one-legged to the bar. Bottoms up!
Bootlegger's Brewery is a Fullerton Prohibition-era suds spot, with a great outdoor beer garden.
This modern European gastropub is a classy option for sipping great brews and eating fancy (and delicious) caviar.
The Playground has a dedication to a tuned draft/bottle list of varying pour sizes at a small fixed price -- and their ever-changing menu is truly as impressive.
This mixologist-laden, chef driven, matchbox-sized cafe's got a speakeasy in the back and delicious grub.
The Bruery has more beer styles than you can image -- sour beers, malty beers, hoppy beers, roasty beers, etc. Grab a flight and a bite -- most weekends some of OC’s best food trucks are parked outside serving up food pairings.
Thunder and mist fall from the ceiling. A nearby volcano spews magma into the bay outside the window. Though it's a Disneyland resort bar, Trader Sams is fully enchanted and full of island creations. Don’t freak out when the animatronic seats move!
Noble Ale is walking distance from Anaheim Stadium, and's serving up seriously unique brews.
This Anaheim bar gets as rowdy as possible, with some old-school karaoke, dirty dancing, and great brews.
50 years after being open, they can easily boast being the first to serve craft beer in Orange. Pickled eggs and Pliny the Elder on tap? Perfect food pairing. It’s one part deli, one part bottleshop, and one part draft list from heaven.
Sampling their big, boozy beers will quickly make you forget you’re in a construction business park next to the Santa Ana River. Regardless, their beer line-up is broad and gets dialed in by the day.
There’s nothing quite like sipping a cocktail like their "Cigarettes and Coffee" by the glow of their wood oven. Chatting with the chefs as they prepare uncommonly sexy food is a great time on its own.
HG&B's the second outpost of a semi-local gastropub mini-chain (the first one's all the way in Orange), with the new wrought-iron-chandelier and leather booth-enhanced Pasadena location doing what its sister restaurant does not: beer brewing, with a plan to roll out five varieties including an IPA, a Bavarian Hefeweizen, and and Imperial Stout, which is already clearly on the Dark Side.
Beachwood's Long Beach location's perfect after catching some surf -- get a few brews, an indulgent entree (mac and cheese, without a doubt), and kick back.