It’s the only summer cocktail party like it in Orange County. Yappy Hour at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is a beautiful, bark-worthy good time during the summer months at the Dana Point oceanfront resort. In just its second year, the free event draws thousands in attendance.
Picture it: you, your canine, a glass of Unleashed Chardonnay or maybe a Merlot Over and Play Dead, some Bacon Water for your pup and possibly 1200 other canine-cocktailgoers.
The event, held on the Dawn Lawn of the breathtaking Ritz-Carlton, got started by the resort’s General Manager and his love of animals, along with the realization that there really isn’t somewhere to go in Orange County to just hang out and have a glass of wine with your pup.
There’s cuisine for purchase (for the owners) all evening from hot dogs and Veggie burgers to ice cream and more—as well as dog-related retail items for sale. Most all of the proceeds go to a local animal rescue organization, such as the most recent Yappy Hour benefiting the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter that got hit hard during the last Laguna Beach flood. Donations nearing $10,000 have been raised at single events.
So bring your dog to sniff and schmooze with other dogs and lap up libations in the favorite flavors—bacon, chicken, cheese, beef or liver—while you enjoy the wines from Mutt Lynch Winery and cocktails at the lawn bar.
And for a dog party, you really won’t see as many frou-frou outfits as you might expect. Most people just bring their dog out for the fun and fresh air, but some do go a bit over-the-top; dogs dressed head to toe from lids to kicks. It’s good entertainment though, and there has to be a diva at every party right?
You’ll find Lab lovefests to giant Great Danes to all the yappy little dogs, who actually don’t yap all that much. All the canines seem to be on their best behavior too (so if your dog isn’t socialized, don’t bring him). It is the Ritz after all, so manners go without saying. The valet post-party is quite the place to be too as pups await their Ritz-rides.
The Yappy Hour party is held on the first Thursday of the summer months and everyone is invited. The next Yappy Hours are August 2 and Sept. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m., as well as a special Howl-O-Ween Yappy Hour October 25 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California writer. She also writes features, cover stories and columns at bask Magazine, Laguna Beach Magazine and more. Keep up with her at @deblavdas on Twitter.