Drunk After Work: Kitsch Bar
The Place: Kitsch Bar, 891 Baker St., Costa Mesa.
(Notice that there is no phone number in the contact information above. They do have one, but there is no point calling them; they don't answer. Ever. Want to get your alcohol sold there? Interested in being a guest DJ or guest bartender? You'll have to go in and take your chances with the barkeeps on duty.)
The Hours: 8-10 p.m. every day they're open.
The Deal: Half off well drinks, beer and wine.
The Scene: There's no exterior signage, no line and the doormen tend to stay just inside the door. You can't see it from either Baker or Bear, so you have to know it's there, and parking is a real bitch, but once you cross the threshold you're in a dark, quiet lounge, absolutely chock-a-block with comfortable low armchairs, with what light there is provided by bulbs in sawed-off vodka bottles. A DJ spins some nights; other nights you'll chill to old-school house music while dark films play on the screen in the middle of the liquor stash (the most recent visit was "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"... mmm, Nurse Ratched). There's never any cover, never any drama, and never any dancing.
Kitsch Bar has a dress code: no shorts, no flipflops, no ball caps. Yes, that means this is yet another bar where you must wear pants; nobody wants to brush against your hairy legs in the dark anyway.
The Sauce: A decent selection of liquors, particularly heavy on the vodka. Their well brands are a cut above the Bols crap pawned off on most unsuspecting happy hour-goers, too, so the well drink deal is even better than it sounds. The beer selection is not awesome, however, and it's bottles only; the only saving grace is that there are no oh-so-ironic cans of PBR. Drink the hard stuff here and revel in the fact that the bar staff manage to keep up even when it's busy.
The Eats: There's no kitsch-en. (HA! I kill me.) No kitchen means no food. You want food, go to the ramen-ya or the yakiniku place in the same plaza and get it to go.
The Verdict: If you have some desperate need for active entertainment with your drink, this isn't the place for you. If you're looking to score some companionship with your awesome dance moves, this isn't the place for you. If you just want a place to sit down, have a drink and catch up with friends without having your ears blasted off, Kitsch Bar is where you go.
The Grade: A-, mostly for the awesome schedule and the price.