Martinis say a lot about you. The average beer or mixed drink just doesn’t have the right amount of care or craft to deserve your purchase. You desire the bartender’s utmost attention to detail, as the perfect martini is a perfect blend of ingredients and mixology. Some of these places have crazy flavors, while others just price them lower than average, but all deserve your time if martinis are near and dear to your heart.
Tin Lizzie Saloon
752 St. Clair St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
This gay and lesbian bar within Costa Mesa serves a mean drink, wrapped in a Victorian-era theme. Its specialty martinis mix classic liquor with new-age flavors, creating a non-traditional take on the classic drink. Tin Lizzie’s is run by The Memphis Group, owners of the Memphis Café and Detroit Bar, so you know that the quality is top tier and the drinks are top shelf. Head on down if you’re not uptight about who you drink with and want to enjoy a good drink in a cool environment.
891 Baker St., Suite A10
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Kitsch Bar is an unassuming bar located in Costa Mesa right next to a dentist’s office. Inside, the cozy bar features a DJ and a variety of martinis, from the dirtiest of dirty to a lemon drop-themed treat. The stiff drinks, trivia nights and close-knit atmosphere make Kitsch an OC favorite, especially for those in need a serious happy hour. The lounge atmosphere adds some swank to your martini, even if you didn’t plan on visiting a speakeasy to grab a nice drink.
215 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
It is customary to buy a martini when there is one named after the venue. The Proof Martini is the house special, mixing a variety of alcohol into one knock-down concoction of goodness guaranteed to keep you happy for the rest of the night. During certain happy hours, martinis fall down to about $5 along with half-off appetizers from the kitchen. The combo of great prices, smart mixing and killer Santa Ana atmosphere makes this a serious martini destination.
13122 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602
While Opah normally specializes in the seafood side of fine dining, its martinis are can’t miss and are worth the drive out to Irvine. The nine signature martinis are sure to bring you good luck, as the name sake implies. Most stick to the fruitiest of fruity drinks, sampling different melons and fruits while keeping the drink simple. The Fire and Ice gets a little more adventurous, with a splash of agave and lime mixed with cucumber and jalapeño. This place has won numerous awards for its drinks before and one order from the bar will prove why.
Jeanie’s Dirty Martini
4360 Lincoln Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630
One of the few places that puts the word “martini” right on the sign, Jeanie’s Dirty Martini is up front about its focus. The bartenders are awesome and bring back the regulars, as the chill vibes and warm welcome keep people in the bar long after they have been cut off. The martinis are straight to the point and the amount of bar fun (darts, pool) mixes well with the drinks, straying away from the hoity-toity putting on of airs other martini establishments relish. Come here for a down-home experience with moderate prices, killer drinks and the best service around.
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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.