Country music once had a small following in Orange County, but with the popularity of the annual Stagecoach Festival and the pop and hip-hop influences in modern country music, the genre has blossomed into a trendy style that is taking Southern California by storm. With cowboy boots and whiskey bottles replacing traditional décor and line dancing galore, these are some of the best spots to enjoy the country lifestyle in the heart of OC.
1025 East Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92805
If you’re looking for an upscale country bar, The Ranch is the place for you. Their saloon has a massive dance floor that is perfect for live dancing and a raised stage that features live country musicians and DJs. Because the music is such a strong component at The Ranch, they have a strict dress code and detailed dance floor etiquette, ensuring a fun time is had by all. Wednesdays through Sundays, visit The Ranch for free dance lessons before joining in with the group. There are two bars in the saloon where visitors can sip on beer from local breweries, wines by the glass and specialty martinis. They also offer signature cocktails like the Carolina Moonshine Margarita, the Electric Slide and the Front Porch Tea. Whiskey connoisseurs will feel right at home with the rye, corn and small batch whiskeys and specialty bourbons. Before exploring the drinks and dancing in the saloon, enjoy dinner at the neighboring restaurant of the same name, featuring a California-inspired southern menu filled with things like the Cowboy Ribeye and Maplewood Smoked Free-Range Chicken.
1401 South Lemon Street
Fullerton, CA 92832
Line dancers will adore InCahoots, a dancehall and saloon in Fullerton that hosts four nights a week of dancing, live music and drink specials. While Tuesdays and Fridays are 21+, Sundays and Wednesdays feature a younger, 18+ crowd. Whether you’re taking lessons (they offer both line and partner lessons) or dancing the night away with fellow country fans, you’ll enjoy the blend of classic and modern country music. While there are other things to do besides dance—the saloon features live musicians and DJs, a mechanical bull and, on Tuesdays, karaoke on the patio and $1 tacos for Taco Tuesday—the line dancing is the main appeal of going to InCahoots.
1870 Harbor Boulevard
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Located in Costa Mesa’s Triangle Square next to the popular Sutra nightclub, Saddle Ranch has some of the best country décor in OC. We’re talking a stagecoach and horses on the roof. They have a large selection of drinks, but make sure to try their specialty drinks. Served in giant carafes, you can choose from things like Ranch Rum Punch, Spiked Honey Lemonade, Gold Rush and the Bull Fighter. They have a full bar so there is also a wide selection of liquor, wine and beer. Saddle Ranch plays a mixture of country and rock music, but visitors can take a turn on the mechanical bull as well. The fire pits out front are a great way to warm up on cool evenings or to make s’mores. Saddle Ranch doubles as a restaurant with an extensive southern-style menu, including baby back ribs, slow-roasted tri-tip, chili and jalapeno mac & cheese.
23512 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
This family-owned business has a lot to offer. Although Bigshots Billiards is technically a pool hall, its location—inside of a big red barn—definitely gives it a country vibe. The bar has nine tournament-sized pool tables that are rented out at hourly rates. They also have 17 flat screen TVs on which to watch local baseball, basketball, football and hockey games. While there is a jukebox for guests to request there own songs, Friday and Saturday nights always feature live musicians, while Sundays and Wednesdays offer group line dancing. Bigshots Billiards also has its own full-service grill, offering appetizers like spicy chicken wings, nachos and potato skins and entrees including sandwiches, burgers and pizza. Make sure to stop by during happy hour on Monday through Friday afternoons, or late night on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays discounts on drinks.
13093 Springdale Street
Westminster, CA 92683
A dive bar in all its country glory, Posse Bar is decorated with antlers, taxidermied animals and cardboard cutouts of famous actors from various western movies. You won’t find upbeat line dancing here! Instead, you’ll find plenty of culture: Posse Bar is a laid back place to watch sports games while you sip a beer, mingle with locals who have been spending their weekends here for ages and play pool. Their selection includes a variety of bottled beers, a few different beers on draft, various wines and cocktails like Ain’t That The Berries, Alabama Slammer and Georgia Peach. They also offer lemonade blended with moonshine. They also have a food menu with basic items like pizza, taquitos, hot dogs and snacks like popcorn and peanuts. Posse Bar also hosts events like Cinco de Mayo parties, fundraisers, chili cook-offs and showings of popular UFC fights.
31786 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
While there aren’t a lot of country bars in south OC, Swallows Inn is one spot that will definitely please the country crowd. The wooden tables and bar add to the southern vibe, but the décor isn’t particularly country. What stands out the most is their status as a music venue, bringing artists from OC and from all over the country to their stage. While they do have country acts, they also offer different types of music as well—rock, blues, rockabilly. Even though so many different styles blend here and the crowd maintains a certain level of diversity, you’re sure to find patrons donning their cowboy hats and boots before they head out on the dance floor. While every weekday has times that are considered happy hour, it lasts all day on Mondays. The bar also has a kitchen that cooks up a variety of food, including breakfast, Mexican food, sandwiches and hot dogs.
17428 Beach Boulevard
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Johnny’s Saloon has a country rock vibe, more reminiscent of traditional country and rockabilly than today’s pop hits. It’s dark interior just adds to the grungy atmosphere, a rather different experience from the other bars on this list. You’ll find you feel right at home with the laid back ambiance and friendly bartenders that are quick to greet you. Take in the décor when you arrive: a chandelier made out of Jameson bottles, bras hanging from various sets of antlers and a memorial wall honoring the greats, from Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. When you go to order a drink, consider trying one of the more than 200 whiskeys. They also offer a wide selection of craft beers. Many of the patrons that frequent Johnny’s Saloon are veterans and the bar hosts regular meet-ups that are only for vets. Their veteran outreach program also help provide services and host fundraises for veterans as well.
3321 East South Street
Long Beach, CA 90805
This huge bar and dancehall has three different dance floors, a large stage and various bars. The décor is definitely country-themed, filled with everything from autographed guitars and photos of famous country singers to cowboy boots tacked up above the bar. For more than a decade, Cowboy Country has maintained a honkytonk feel, showcasing a variety of live local and national country bands. They often have cover bands play as well, giving guests a chance to listen to both traditional and modern tunes. Head down on a weekend and you’ll find dancers twirling around the floor. If you’re not well versed in line dancing, stop by a bit earlier to take free lessons before joining in on the group dances. Cowboy Country is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and has a cover charge should you arrive after 7 p.m.