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Best Spots For A Night Out In Santa Ana

October 24, 2013 6:00 AM

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(credit: The Copper Door)

(credit: The Copper Door)

(credit: Memphis)

(credit: Memphis)

Looking to have a night out on the town but don’t want to drive all over the county? Many of Orange County’s cities offer fantastic dining and entertainment options that are either walking distance or just a short drive from one another. Santa Ana is one such location with innovative menus for the foodie folks and live music and art shows for people looking to be entertained. Most of these locations do have full dinner service (and even late night bites) but we’ve put together a plan for you to be able to sample several places in one night.

The Happiest Hour

(credit: Lola Gaspar)

(credit: Lola Gaspar)

Lola Gaspar

211 W. 2nd St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 972-1172
www.lolagaspar.com

Located on a quiet courtyard in downtown Santa Ana, this cozy patio is the perfect place to start off the night with delicious cocktails and tapas. This Spanish-style bar and restaurant offers an array of small dishes to be shared and cocktails that are flavorful and unique. This section of 2nd St. (between Broadway and Sycamore) is closed to traffic and there is no sign on the front of the restaurant. Enter through the patio.

(credit: Chapter One)

(credit: Chapter One)

Chapter One

227 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 352-2225
www.chapteronetml.com

Chapter One is a gastropub focusing on local produce and high quality ingredients. While the full menu is sure to please, their happy hour and nightly specials make this a great starting point for your night out. “After Office” specials (Monday through Friday, 3 to 7 p.m.) offer drink specials as well as half-price tapas. The cocktail menu shows an affinity for using specialty ingredients and making even mixers in-house. You can’t go wrong with some snacks and drinks at Chapter One.

The Main Event

(credit: Memphis)

(credit: Memphis)

Memphis at the Santora

201 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 564-1064
www.memphiscafe.com

A proven favorite, Memphis at the Santora, is where you need to head for a twist on American classics. Featuring hearty burgers and comfort classics, this menu is all about contemporary soul food. Flavors are bold and you will leave feeling happy and satisfied. Dine on the patio (weather permitting) and enjoy the quiet brick courtyard off Broadway. Check the site to see what special events are going on, such as Burger and Film Nights and Bites and Whiskey Flights. Don’t miss the Fried Chicken and the Mac and Cheese never disappoints.

(credit: Little Sparrow)

(credit: Little Sparrow)

Little Sparrow Café

300 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 265-7640
www.littlesparrowcafe.com

This semi-casual California bistro offers a nice dining experience, focused on the food and less on the trends and too-cool ambiance. By day, the café offers sandwiches and well-made coffee drinks. By night, the menu turns to classic, seemingly French-inspired dishes in a bright, simple dining room. Perfect for date nights and small groups of friends, the bar turns out craft cocktails while the kitchen puts out shareable dishes along with entrées that are sure to please each person in your party.

So Sweet

(credit: Tootsie Ice Cream)

(credit: Tootsie Ice Cream)

Tootsie Ice Cream

307 W. 3rd St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 480-0320
www.tootsieicecream.com

Your night isn’t over yet! The recently opened Tootsie Ice Cream is where you need to head for sweet treats after dinner. Grab yourself a scoop of ice cream (or ask for it to be sandwiched between two fresh baked cookies), try the Persian ice cream (hello, Saffron Pistachio!) or get crazy with a waffle sundae. Tootsie has a walk-up window only so prepare to eat your dessert on foot or look for an empty bench on the promenade next to Memphis and Lola Gaspar.

Let Them Entertain You

(credit: The Copper Door)

(credit: The Copper Door)

The Copper Door

225 1/2 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 543-3813
www.thecopperdoorbar.com

Dinner is done and now you want a place to hang out for a while before heading home. Copper Door is the place for you. This craft beer bar and live music venue will keep you entertained. Check out their website for the full calendar of events but know that Sunday night is comedy night, they host a drawing night every second Wednesday of the month where patrons can drink beer and make art together and there are three billiard tables. Featuring music sets by DJs and live music, this is where you want to go when you want to keep the party going.

If You Can Only Choose One Place For The Night

(credit: The Playground)

(credit: The Playground)

The Playground

220 E. 4th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 560-4444
www.playgrounddtsa.com

If you want to have a great night out but stay in one establishment, check out The Playground. The Playground wants you to know, however, that they are not for everyone. Substitutions are not permitted and it is possible for a guest to leave unhappy. This restaurant is for the foodie who recognizes the art a chef is creating and leaves the specifics up to them. Dishes are prepared and composed the way the kitchen staff thinks is best (i.e. you probably won’t get your steak well done). Meals are focused on seasonal ingredients using specialty techniques that set this restaurant apart from most. While most nights you order from a menu that changes based on what is fresh, Sunday Suppers are perfect for those looking for a restaurant experience that is out of the ordinary and are willing to let the chef and staff take care of all the decisions. Served family style (minimum parties of four, maximum party of 10), the dishes change every week and are a surprise to the diners. Owner Jason Quinn says it is “more food than you can imagine” and includes around 12-15 courses including dessert. This option works best for people who love food, are willing to try a new dining style and trust the Chef to do his thing.

Sharon Garofalow writes Cupcakes and Cutlery, a lifestyle blog focusing on modern family living. This Orange County native has a wicked sweet tooth, loves good food and indie music and shares her favorite things with you on her blog.

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