Tiki bars are few and far between across this country, but Orange County has a plethora, as the sandy beaches and perfect weather lend themselves to a tiki locale. Tiki bars often have a variety of mixed drinks, usually of the exotic kind. Food ranges from surf-and-turf to barbecue, often resulting in succulent meats and sweet liqueurs. From original and traditional eateries to hip newcomers, the breadth and depth of tiki-themed restaurants and bars is unmatched in Orange County. Give your taste buds a tour and try out some of the Polynesian flavor while the sun is shining and the night is clear.
1700 Placentia Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
The Tiki Bar is great for a few reasons, the biggest of which being live music. Some big names in the world of rock ‘n’ roll have graced the stage at Tiki Bar, a Costa Mesa hotspot built for getting up and dancing to the music. The food is average priced, as is the alcohol, but the tiki-themed food can deliver some excellent vibes, especially when topped with the locale’s homemade barbecue sauce. While you won’t find as many leis and ukuleles as some other tiki joins, Tiki Bar has the most muscle of the bunch.
Don The Beachcomber
16278 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Don the Beachcomber is the top of the class when it comes to Orange County tiki-themed establishments. Commonly attributed as the very first tiki bar in the United States, this joint is known for its insanely exotic drinks, using a wide variety of rums and creating a bunch of fun names for the various concoctions. The Orange County classic also features live music of all varieties and has a large stage area. Only the bold and the brave will order the zombie drinks, one of which contains a shot of absinthe.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar
1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802
Don’t be fooled by Trader Sam’s location, as the innards of the Disneyland Hotel may not seem like the perfect blend of tiki tradition and modern originality. But that’s exactly what Sam supplies, with a great range of drinks and a tempting menu of food awaiting you and your party. With outdoor seating, nothing geared toward children and a lack of a happy hour, you can guarantee that those in attendance take their tiki dining seriously and won’t be there for cheap beers. Expect some tiki delicacies like kalua pork and a volcano-themed mixed drink.
Billy’s At The Beach
2751 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Sometimes pricier is actually better, and at Billy’s at the Beach, you will definitely get your money’s worth. With live entertainment seven days a week and some of the sharpest Hawaiian-inspired seafood around, there is no need to undercut yourself by heading to some dive bar with a hula girl in the corner. Get yourself a mai tai while watching the big game or kick off your weekend with a fabulous brunch selection. Billy’s aged steak and succulent shrimp and fish will make for one can’t-miss platter of surf and turf.
1749 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Aloha Grill offers the most robust cocktail selection around, including the “world famous” rainbow or lapu cocktails. The wine list is even larger, and the featured beers and wines change on a constant basis. The outdoor patio has plenty of shade and tiki torches to satisfy your tiki craving, and the huge bar and friendly staff encourage anyone to swing by for the fantastic happy hour. The calamari taco is a standout, as is the mahi mahi served every Taco Tuesday.
Related: Best Bars For Girls’ Night In OC
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.