Orange County has a ton of historical landmarks, from cathedrals to sports arenas. But why spend all day in a stuffy museum or climbing natural vistas when you can sit on the same stool Walt Disney might have decades prior? Relive Orange County’s glory days at these classic watering holes by taking a seat at the bar of history.
117 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Perqs Bar is not just one of the oldest bars in downtown Huntington Beach, it’s also one of the oldest buildings in Huntington Beach. Home to live music and great drinks, Perqs is the type of casual encounter any beach-faring barfly would feel right at home in. The blues and rock club is so old, it does not have to serve food along with alcohol, living by the letter of the law from a simpler time. When blues-man Walter Trout isn’t out touring around the world, he’s usually plugged in at Perqs, so head down for quality all around.
19152 Santiago Canyon Road
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679
Since 1884, no bar in Orange County has catered to the working man as much as Cook’s Corner. The restaurant was actually established in 1926 and waited out the Prohibition era to start selling alcohol to miners, bikers and ranchers. Any good biker bar is going to have a stacked alcohol selection and live music, mostly from Friday into the the beginning of next week. It might be a cover band and not the Rolling Stones, but don’t worry: a breakout similar to Altamont won’t occur at this laid-back historic bar.
Related: Best Bars For Girls’ Night In OC
307 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
The Yost Theater in Santa Ana has every drink you need to dance the night away in front of the world’s best DJs and producers. But the history of the theater makes for a far more interesting story than the flash-in-the-pan nature of the Yost’s current repertoire. The building is more than 100 years old and has helped serve alcohol to crowds of everyone from Fatty Arbuckle to Ernie Ball; the former ended up in an infamous Hollywood murder case and the latter died backstage before his gig. Even the basement has tons of history, as it used to double as a temporary jail for criminals in the county.
The Continental Room
115 W. Santa Fe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832
The oldest bar in Fullerton is The Continental Room, an old-school down-to-earth bar with more history than the combined experiences of its patrons. The bar is stacked with various liquors and the nightly music gives you plenty of reason to head downtown. The martinis are one of this room’s best qualities, but you do not have to pick a crowded weekend to have the best time possible. The mid-week specials are as throwback as the vibe and you’ll get caught in a time warp checking out the entire decor.
3334 W. Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663
The A Restaurant (the A stands for Arches, the building’s original name) might be the most clean-cut establishment on this list. Its full bar has all the tools needed to make you feel good, but this once road-side diner has become a family-friendly restaurant over the nearly 100 years it has been open. Located in Newport Beach, and impossible to miss due to the red tiling on the roof, A keeps it simple with delectable finger food but has enough class to produce some tasty memories. Don’t sleep on the wine list as more than 100 bottles await your palate.
Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at Examiner.com.