The Top 15 Orange County Dive Bars
Built on two double-wide trailers, Tropics Lounge is the second oldest bar in Fullerton, next to the Continental Room. The small but mighty scene for seedy-types to lurk, drink and even take in some tunes on their microscopic stage.
"A lot of bands have played here," said Bartender Deeanna Tafolla. "Sublime did a surprise show here back in the day." If you're looking to absorb the ultimate north OC dive bar experience in one foul swoop, Tropics Lounge is the spot. Dark interiors, a single pool table and bathrooms with toilets you want to use your foot to flush with is a great place to watch local bands rock the trailers, mingle with the locals and wet your whistle. If you get bored at the bar, you'll notice the ceiling is decorated with beer bottle caps in the shape of random pictures. Skateboards, cats, initials and other random shit are ingrained to the red stucco along with loads of skate decks from the local skate shop across the street.
Ladies Beware:Besides an unsteady floor (I don't recommend heels), skater boys and hipsters who smoke too much.
Open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. everyday, The Fling has two simple rules: 1.) Don't be evil 2.) Drink more. Maybe by the time you get through rule two, you realize despite it's seedy disposition, The Fling's bark is worse than it's bite. The walls are lined with plush red velvet wall paper while random "body part" Halloween decorations hang among the antique chandeliers. If you told me the place was haunted, I might believe you. Whispers of gambling winnings, scratch-off tickets and bet losses are barely audible above the Hank Williams tunes and whatever football game is on T.V. A guy with an eye patch and scraggly grey beard sloshes back a whiskey shot and while his one good peeper does some people watching. A gal known as "Bird Lady" kindly asks what I'm "scribblin' on that paper." This is a legit dive bar. There is live music every night starting at 9 p.m. featuring bands like Citizen O'Kane and one-man band show-stopper, Eddy Day. If up-close-and-personal coupled with low lit settings are what you're after, check out this spot. Just know that the immediate feeling of regret upon entering the joint washes away easy with a Jack and Coke.
Ladies Beware: Faces hidden by low-lit settings and free drinks.
1.Knuckleheads (San Clemente)
When a bar's staple saying is "Sorry, we are open!" at first you 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 SixStepand 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.
Ladies Beware: Everyone