Drunk After Work: Durty Nelly's

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The daytime scene, 'cause I can't go there at night right now...
The Place: Durty Nelly's, 2915 Red Hill Ave., # G101, Costa Mesa, (714) 957-1951; durtynellysoc.com.

The Hours: Mon.-Wed., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Thur., 11:30 a.m.-12 a.m.; Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.-12 a.m.

The Deal: Drink specials, and a lot of food for cheap come the happy time.

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The Scene: Throughout the day and most of the evening, Durty Nelly's attracts the workforce held captive around it in the many industrial parks ringing the north side of John Wayne Airport--mid-aged men and women too proud to say they work in collections, entrepreneurs of all ages with small businesses, cute receptionists and the working-class stiffs of the many car-restoration shops around it. Those people remain until night, but the karaoke freaks gravitate to the place on the weekends, and with good reason: this is the best karaoke spot in OC. Two big dining areas, a properly dank bar, and enough Irish motifs and Guiness ads to make a mick smile.

The Sauce: If you're at an Irish pub, you get the beers; if you want hooch, you stick to Jameson and none of that Bushmill unionist swill. But Durty Nelly's does have other stouts in stock, the basis for most of their drink creations--we've written about the Snakebite before, and just might again.

The Food: Surprisingly good for an Irish pub, although the dishes veer more toward American pub standards than anything Gaelic. Their hamburger, for instance, is larger than the norm, on a toasted bun, and not that expensive. And their happy hour specials range from $4 quesadillas to a massive $10 combo that finds crunchy chicken fingers, spicy wings, and greasy-great potato skins under one heaping plate.

The Verdict: There's a reason why we deemed Durty Nelly's OC's best happy hour last year, and it's not because it's a five-minute walk from Weekly world headquarters. They eschew trends in favor of consistency, and while that's usually not something to be desired, 'tis when you just want a drink and a snack before heading off to work. A gastropub this ain't, but a pub 'tis--okay, no more of the leprechaun talk...

The Grade: A.

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