A magic force tugs at our souls to find water. Even though we rarely give a thought to its value because of its abundance, the comfort we feel in the presence of large bodies of water is ancient and tied to our literal dependence. Whether dipping our toes in a pool, splashing through the surf, or nursing a margarita as the sun dips behind the ocean, we are at ease around water. So, if you have been confined to a cubicle, loosen your tie and make your way to that large body of water that is our backyard. Hop into one of our favorite joints, pull up a west-facing stool, order something served in a frosty glass and enjoy the 180 degree ocean view and 360 degrees of freedom.

1. Sunday Funday at Mutt Lynch’s

2300 West Oceanfront | Newport Beach | 949.675.1556

“What’s a Schooner?” a girl asks the waitress. “It’s what everyone’s drinking,” she says, pointing at every table in the bar. The rowdy, fun-loving crowd enjoys their goblets of beer around family-style tables, with old friends and new ones who happen to take a seat nearby. A few people walk in from the beach to grab lunch and a drink while others come to watch the game. Stick around late enough and you might see a parade of costumes from a theme party down the street. The crowd is a mix of college kids and people who have known each other for years, but they all share a love for this laid-back pub with a killer ocean view. People flow in and out of Mutt’s like it’s their second home, and this pseudo-family wouldn’t have it any other way.

Native Knowledge: For the best views, head up the steps and grab a seat at the ocean-facing bar.


2. Biz-e-ness at 3Thirty3

333 Bayside Drive | Newport Beach | 949.673.8464

3Thirty3 offers a private view of Newport Marina, where diners sit directly above the rippling water. A woman sits at a bistro table sipping a cocktail and watching the people in the restaurant around her. Colleagues discuss business over a meal in the dining room and men in dress shirts settle in at the bar, having a beer or two before heading home. As the sun fades, the crowd transitions into a nightlife scene. Friends move from the bar to the wrap-around couches overlooking the water and order a round of drinks. The posh lounge area is open late, perfect for a pre-club drink or after-party munchies any night of the week.

Native Knowledge: Great spot for a quiet lunch or early drink.


3. Thursday Night Pre-dinner Drink at The Rooftop Lounge & Bar

1287 S. Coast Hwy | Laguna Beach | 949.376.9718

The breathtaking 360-degree view at The Rooftop Lounge is one of the best coastal scenes in Orange County. It takes only half an hour for every seat on the patio to be filled, and those who follow stand against the wall in hopes of a table clearing soon. The bartender tells two girls they can eat on the ledge if they want, but the view is so spectacular that waiting isn’t so hard. This is where one can appreciate the beauty of Laguna Beach away from the fast-paced energy of Main Beach, and the rooftop offers a picturesque view in every direction. The warm weather, cold drinks and awesome atmosphere keep people coming back for more.

Native Knowledge: It gets cool even in the summer. Ask for a blue blanket and camp out near a heater.


4. Romantic Dinner Date 21 at Oceanfront

2100 West Oceanfront | Newport Beach | 949.673.2100

Every aspect of 21 Oceanfront is elegant, romantic and sophisticated in a way that instantly sweeps a woman off her feet. Each dining room provides an intimate setting for couples and small parties to enjoy a glass of wine while admiring the view. Every waiter assists in upholding the fine dining ambience, prepared to fill your glass and meet every request at a moment’s notice. Each diner is treated like family, served and cared for with the utmost respect. This is where new couples fall in love and others celebrate special occasions, or simply enjoy a well-prepared meal in a wonderful place.

Native Knowledge: Show up early and take advantage of the people watching and views from the long oak bar.


5. Upscale Taco Tuesday at Javier’s Cantina and Grill

7832 E. PCH | Newport Beach | 949.494.1239

This is destination dining at its absolute definition. Every element of the restaurant is sexy and chic, from the gorgeous Mediterranean décor to couches where diners lounge surrounded by candles, sipping cocktails and watching the sunset over the Pacific. Javier’s provides all the lavishness and leisure of a South American hotspot where one can indulge any day of the week. Grab an Organic Margarita at the door and enjoy a romantic dinner date or a fun night out with friends. The panoramic view of the coast surrounding the patio is the finishing touch to an unforgettable dining affair.

Native Knowledge: This is not your typical flip-flop joint. Dress to impress.


6. Saturday Morning Breakfast at The Beachcomber

15 Crystal Cove | Newport Coast | 949.376.6900

Even with the miles of shore lining Orange County, there are precious few restaurants that reside on the sand. Park across the street and walk under PCH or grab the five minute shuttle for a buck. Upon arrival, do not be dismayed by the wait time. The waiting area is the Pacific Ocean guarded by cliffs dotted with colorful historic cottages. The view is so nice you might just give up your table the first time your name is called. For breakfast, order a coffee and a basket of Beach Beignets. The Bootlegger bar is fully stocked and a great place for a cocktail.

Native Knowledge: Show up at 5 and help them raise the Martini flag.


7. Drinks After Work at Duke’s

317 PCH | Huntington Beach | 714.374.6446

Walking into Duke’s feels like stepping into a tropical party on the beach. A charming Hawaiian girl offers leis to guests as they are led to their table, each with its own spectacular view of waves crashing on the pier. The dining room is filled with families young and old, some grabbing a bite to eat after playing in the ocean and others who are spending the day on Main Street. The Barefoot Bar is where the real fun happens. Surfers order drinks from the tiki hut, eyeing all of the beautiful women in the room. They laugh, flirt and sip their drinks while waiting for their food to arrive. The light-hearted atmosphere encourages everyone to let loose, have fun and enjoy each other’s company.

Native Knowledge: Monday is “Aloha Hour” (happy hour) all night. Try something mixed with passion fruit juice.


8. Family Day Getaway at the Coliseum Pool & Grill – The Resort at Pelican Hill

22701 Pelican Hill Rd. South | Newport Coast | 949.467.4676

A Tiger Martini is placed on the table at the Coliseum, its red-orange color matching the sunset beyond it. This Roman-inspired oasis in the hills of Newport Coast has a subdued extravagance that is both enchanting and inviting. On one side of the terrace is a party of ten sipping glasses of wine and tasting decadent desserts, their laughter filling the air. Kids in bathing suits run in and out checking in with parents, yet nothing distracts from the tranquil mood the Coliseum exudes. This is the ideal same-day getaway that helps time stand still for a moment while you unwind. When it’s time to leave, your only thought will be planning your return.

Native Knowledge: Free Valet. Wonderful selection of toys for the kids.

8 of Orange County’s best 180 degree+ ocean view restaurants

About The Author

Locale Editors
Locale Magazine Editors

This article is brought to you by one of the many talented writers associated with Locale Magazine! We are a group of locals (whether born and raised or transplanted) who love this county we now call home!

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