Everyone has their favorite bar or pub and they visit said establishment over and over again. Sometimes, that familiarity means no crazy nights, no surprises and a stale sense of repetition. Orange County is one of those busy, booming areas of the country where new bars crop up all the time, be they first-time watering holes or rebuilding upon shadows of former glorious places. Check out this list for a place to go to get a new perspective on a night out on the town.
300 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For a new Orange County spot, Little Sparrow already has quite the reputation. The beer and wine list is built for just about every speed, with everything from an Icelandic porter to a stiff Golden Ale. The white, red, rose and sparkling wine isn’t extensive, but made specifically with excellent taste in mind. Little Sparrow’s motto of “drink better, not more” rings the truest in its craft cocktail selection as each is unlike the standard martinis your local dive bar passes off as interesting. The bartenders are always up to the challenge of being inspired, so show up with a good pulse on your mood and taste to expect something unique being served your way.
500 E. 1st St.
Long Beach, CA 90802
James Republic is one of those places that managed to win a bunch of awards during its first year in business and has no signs of slowing down. The food and service are exquisite, but the drink menu keeps it local and famous all at the same time. All of California is represented on the craft list, with brews hailing from Booneville, Concord, Fort Bragg and nearby Torrance. The cocktails have their own special flair, but the pumpkin-infused Sleepy Hollow or jack and apple Apple Jacks might be at the head of the class.
831 Via Suerta, Suite 106
San Clemente, CA 92673
If you look hard enough, you will find a tiny slice of France in San Clemente and it goes by the name Barnoa. This is not your peanuts-on-the-floor, dart-board-on-the-wall, mechanical-bull-riders-puking-in-the-corner kind of bar. Barnoa is specifically a wine and cheese bar, offering happy hour specials seven days a week that give you dollar glasses of wine after buying your first. If you love the selection enough, you can get half off of a bunch of bottles on Sunday or at least a free plate of cheese during the week. Add in the great social aspect and beautiful layout and you have a bit of class in an otherwise modern environment.
The Blind Pig
31431 Santa Margarita Parkway
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
The Blind Pig has a pretty awesome name, but its style and menu really are worth checking out. The restaurant’s “Swine Dining and Craft Cocktails” motif goes a long way in the gorgeous and professional bar. Instead of filling the bar up with skimpy-clothed women and super loud rock music, expect a bartender with a brain and a great opinion on what meal will match your killer beer. Gabrielle Dion heads up the cocktail creation and the creativity is evident in not just the names, but the ingredients that make up these tasty concoctions. Last but certainly not least, five dollars for draft beers is a steal, especially when you can get some extravagant imports at that price.
Related: Best Biker Bars In Orange County
View Best New Bars Of 2013 In OC in a full screen map