Lola Gaspar Starts Expanded Happy Hour THIS WEEK

Photo by Charles Lam
This is some awesome sous-vide octopus.. that's not on the happy hour menu

Downtown Santa Ana's Lola Gaspar is one of my favorite places to go, but I'm not afraid to share its short comings: It gets crowded super quickly, it's hard for people to find, it's tacos are on the smaller side and there's basically no happy hour.

Well, starting this week, that last complaint is more or less moot, as Lola's debuting its new, expanded, and, in my opinion, very, very good happy hour. What's on deck? More hours, tacos, dates, booze, and (American) football (Complete with a Sunday tailgate).

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Mystery And Mixology This Friday At Discovery Cube

How to make science fun!

The game is afoot in Santa Ana this Friday, as your inner child is welcome to a 21-and-over rendezvous inside Discovery Cube. The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes is passing through Orange County, and all attending are invited to solve a mystery.

Of course, if you only want to drink and run amok inside the museum (Cumberbitches unite!), we won't tell. Put on your best British accent and jump ahead for details.

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Where To Drink In OC For Negroni Week

Photo by LP Hastings
The Negroni Week kick-off party hostess

The first week of June is always special. Not only does it signify summer being just around the corner, but it's also time to celebrate Negroni Week. Throughout the country, restaurants and bars are donating a dollar of every Negroni sold to a preferred charity. In Orange County, those dollars are going towards Inspire Artistic Minds, a non-profit providing scholarships to individuals seeking to expand their knowledge in artistic endeavors.

If drinking for a cause and attending parties are your thing, then keep reading for details on where to do both. The festivities begin this evening and continue through the 7th.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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