The Best Places to Drink in Orange County Right Now

Jennifer Fedrizzi/OC Weekly
Anepalcos Cafe

By Gustavo Arellano, LP Hastings, Charles Lam and Dave Lieberman

With breweries opening up at a rapid rate, distilleries getting ready to debut later this year, bartenders upping their games, and dive bars remaining a place for comfort, we live in a golden age of OC drinking. With that in mind, behold a list of our finest booze barns, from Korean and Mexican bars to cocktail lounges, beer-tasting rooms, Long Beach dives and more. Enjoy, and let the second-guessing come with last call, cabrones!

More »

The Anatomy of a Good Happy Hour Bar

Photo by Charles Lam
Sometimes, all you need is dim lighting

There's an adjustment period when you go from a freelance work schedule to an 8-hour daily plan to a fixed-hour workweek.

As a full-time freelancer, my days were, well, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Then landing a full-time reporting gig two years ago meant I worked eight hours a day. Luckily my editor was cool. I came in at 11 a.m. and, if I wanted, worked a swing shift (Covering entertainment, food and beverage meant sometimes working a late concert or meeting bartenders when they started the last shift of the evening). Now, as a slave to the corporate, conservative work grind, I am fixed to working the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which means no midday naps and certainly not the occasional afternoon cocktail.

More »

OC Weekly's Bottoms Up Presale Starts Today!


We've gotten to a point where the term "Happy Hour" is used like a verb. Hitting one after work is like therapy for a lot of us. So when our Happy Hour Guide comes out in a couple of months, you better be ready to celebrate at our first annual Bottoms Up social!

The festivities are confirmed for Saturday, February 7 over at Newport Dunes. Expect three hours of suds, spirits and sounds from all over Orange County. You want more information? Sure-- we have no problem doing the hard sell.

More »

Sip LBC Continues Through Saturday

Shaken or stirred

The almost-but-not-really-OC city of Long Beach clinked glasses this past Sunday as Sip LBC celebrated all the libations they had to offer. From beer chugging to wine sipping and those farm-to-table cocktails, bar counters throughout the city are doing something special.

Despite being in its first year, the week-long party includes 35 local establishments ready to put patrons in a good mood. We won't bore you with an elaborate list 'o watering holes, but we will let you in on their "Triple Olive" events.

More »

Where Your "Craft" Whiskey Is Distilled Is Essentially Unimportant: A Rebuttal to The Daily Beast's Eric Felten

Colin Smith, CC-BY-SA 2.0
Stills at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland
Eric Felten, writing for the Daily Beast, has stumbled upon the worst-kept secret in the liquor industry: much of the craft whiskey, especially rye, that commands high prices comes from a giant, intensely ugly building ten miles west of the Cincinnati airport. Cue the clutching of pearls, the shattering of dropped tulip glasses, the rending of lapels, the wailing of women. How could we all fall for this?

He is correct on the facts: a former Seagram's distillery called MGP, located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, furnishes much of the American whiskey we see on our shelves. Bourbon and rye flow from the industrial stills. He is correct that when you see a whiskey older than the company selling it, those barrels were bought from elsewhere.

Here is the entire reason MGP exists, in ten words: Our thirst for whiskey has overwhelmed the number of distilleries.

Does it matter? Not really.

More »

Tickets on Sale for Decadence 2014 NOW!!!

Hooray! Decadence, our ultimate foodie party, is here again! Come dance, drink, and eat snacks from the best restaurants in town. You may even spot a Weekly reporter - just find the people hovering around the alchohol samples all night.

More »

Celebrate Negroni Week at ARC, Playground, Anepalco's and More of OC's Finest Bars!

Mesa Lounge
Why yes, I'll drink for charity

I drink for as many reasons as I eat, but conducting double duty and supporting a worthy cause while I clink my glass makes it that much better. A favorite of Little Sparrow's Eric Samaniego, he sums it up as, " . . .a classic cocktail with very few ingredients. The bartender can't hide behind it; they either make a good one, or they don't." Made with care using Campari, gin and sweet vermouth (plus orange peel garnish), this aperitif demonstrates restraint while still making a statement.

Between now and June 8, bars around the world are participating in Negroni Week. For every one you order, $1 will go towards the charity of their choice. In Orange County, that choice is Inspire Artistic Minds (IAM). IAM provides scholarships and education to advance the arts, with a strong focus in the food and beverage industry. They are also responsible for Nepenthia Beer Garden and PigOut events.

More »

Cismontane Brewing's 4th Anniversary Fest ALL WEEKEND

Cismontane Brewing
It feels like yesterday when Cismontane Brewing opened its doors in Rancho Santa Margarita.Time flies when you're old, kiddos (also - when you've been drinking).

Still, we were knocked back somewhat to hear that Evan Weinberg and Ross Stewart are marking four years of bustling beer-making success at their brewery today, tomorrow, and Sunday with the trinity of food trucks, mountain biking, and beer.

What's on tap? It's going to be a long three days, so tonight, they'll crack into every firking firkin they've got to open the festivities. If you want to sample from their archive of anniversary brews and limited library bottles, head down before these disappear.

More »

VIDEO: OC Weekly Staffers Take the 70-Ounce Chimay Challenge

LP Hastings
Very important work
Sometimes we like to do silly things in the hopes of entertaining our readers. Once before, it involved eating the spiciest burger on the planet (we think) and this time it involves alcohol, our favorite.

More »

The Best Dive Bars to Drink at in Your Neighborhood

Taylor Hamby/OC Weekly
See Best Neighborhood Bar, Coastal OC

As you may have noticed, we can't stop yapping about our largest issue of the year, Best Of 2013, and we're not done yet. A chunk of our Food & Drink awards go to awesome neighborhood, hole-in-the-wall and dive bars around the county each year. South County, North County, Coastal--even Long Beach--they're all represented here. We here at the Weekly love us some neighborhood and dive bars (can't you tell by my weekly column Dive Dive My Darling?) so we hope you'll check out all of our recommendations.

More »