Credit: Momoku No Usagi
Credit: Momoku No Usagi

Dry January Who? Here Are 10 Cocktail Bars in Orange County for the Anti-Mocktailer

From Speakeasies to Rooftop Lounges, These Hotspots Are Pouring Up Boozy Libations All Month Long

Who needs Dry January when you can have Damp January? Seriously, we understand some people take “the new year, new you” mentality to sobering heights, but if you need to sneak a cocktail every once in a while, we won’t tell. Plus, we have some amazing watering holes to make the sip worth your while. These spots are shaking up boozy beverages and ultra-curated liquid creations that’ll be worth breaking your sober streak for. From San Clemente to Huntington Beach, we’re cruising the coast for the ultimate cocktails! Get in, loser—we’re going drinking…


Bar Jane

A super cool speakeasy-style bar? In San Clemente? Yes, you read that right. What was once a sleepy surfer town has now turned into a trendy drinking and dining destination and we’re here for it. Bar Jane is all about elevating your favorite drinks in an intimate setting with plenty of dark corners to get a little giggly and gossip. They are using all the gadgets here. Smoker? Check. Personalized artisanal ice? Check. Syrups and garnishes painstakingly made in-house? Check, check and check. We recommend trying their famous old-fashioned and pairing it with the steak frites. This place is worth field tripping to—oh, and the name is pretty great too!

Location: San Clemente


Momoku No Usagi

Best Cocktail Bars Orange County
Credit: Momoku No Usagi

Another San Clemente stunner is Momoku No Usagi. Come again? Say it with us: momoku…no…usagi, which translates to “no name dropping.” This is another speakeasy-style spot where you enter through a trapped door disguised as a bookcase and ascend the hidden staircase to a world far, far away. This spot is not afraid of putting a little elbow grease and a lot of meticulous prep into making an unforgettable cocktail. They serve sushi (their hand rolls are the way to go), but the drinks are really the star of the show. The Clarified is a sophisticated take on a mai tai, and the Brooklyn is a booze-forward bevvy that’ll make you feel (or forget) something. Check out their house rules before you go to avoid getting cut off!

Location: San Clemente


Under CdM

Let’s take our talents north to Corona del Mar. There’s a reason this place is known as the crown of the sea, with beautiful beaches adjacent to fine drinking and dining establishments. One of the trendiest venues in town is CdM Restaurant, and one of the best-kept secrets is its basement bar called Under CdM. Directly across from the hostess stand lies a staircase that whisks adventurous boozers away to a land of cocktail creations. Get a little freaky with anything tiki down there, and be sure to take a trip to the photo booth to commemorate it all!

Location: Corona del Mar



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Best Cocktail Bars Orange County
Credit: P10NEER

Ever drive past salty old spot Dick Church’s and think, “Huh, look at that place!”? Well, you know where our next hidden gem is! P10NEER is the adult beverage brainchild of Hopper & Burr, the Santa Ana coffee shop-turned-happy hour haunt where creative individuals make masterpieces you can sip and savor. Having opened in early October, they have kept a low profile, but word is getting out about these big, bold cocktails. Guys, they have flavor sprays. That is, sprays that mist the surface of your drink to get all of your senses on deck. Jeremy seems to be the guy to ask for, and people are applauding the paloma.

Location: Costa Mesa



Hive & Honey

Hive & Honey Party
Photo Provided By: Marriott Irvine Spectrum

Did somebody say rooftop bar? We did! One of the few rooftop bars in town, Hive & Honey is a sweet ole’ time with views for days. This is an excellent place to gather with pals and get “one of everything” because everything is good. They have themed nights, DJs on Thursdays, bottle service for the reformed frat star who can’t give it up—you name it! The food menu is fabulous, but that’s not what we’re here for; we’re cat-calling the cocktails, y’all. We dare you to get the Afternoon Tea With The Queen! Want a buzz on your buzz? Hello Espressotini. Beer guy but don’t want to be boring? One Winnie The Brew, por favor.

Location: Irvine




A restaurant within a restaurant? How Russian nesting doll of them. Hidden inside Pacific City’s Bluegold, this popular pit stop is pairing Vietnamese cuisine with killer cocktails. The Butterfly Effect is as photogenic as they come, and The Last Samurai will leave you with a happy heart and numbed mouth. Enjoy the floor-to-ceiling windows showing off the best of the California coast, and try to time your happy hour with the sunset—you won’t regret it. Oh, and eat anything here because the food is phenomenal. This would be an ideal spot for a date night or dinner with a gal pal. Reservations are highly recommended and book up in advance.

Location: Huntington Beach


Treehouse Lounge

So you’ve had your flirty dinner at LSXO; now it’s time to take your talents to the ultra trendy Treehouse Lounge, which is perched atop the old Tanner’s location (which is currently under construction) and right next to Pacific City. This place is giving Rafiki’s tree vibes from “The Lion King,” and we are ready to monkey around. The views are flawless; the vibes are perfection. Belly up to the bar, saunter over to the swinging chairs, seat your fanny by the fire pits or spar with other sunset lovers to score a spot with a coveted coastal view. They have a rotating menu of seasonal sips like the Cucumber Delight and plenty of Christmas-inspired cocktails to go with the festive decor and (spoiler alert) SNOW!

Location: Huntington Beach



Just the name Graceland makes us want to visit. Located right off of the famed Huntington Beach pier, this is another speakeasy-style bar and lounge nestled within HQ Gastropub. There’s a bunch of different themed seating areas, ‘70s music and insane sunset views that look even better through an empty glass. Try their Butterfly cocktail, which is almost too pretty to drink, or other fan favorites like the Tea Party and Faux Pas. Be sure to snap a photo in their rainbow keg room, a quirky addition to an already eccentric establishment. This place is funky and fun, and we love every inch of it.

Location: Huntington Beach


The Guild Club

We love a dark bar. It really sets the tone for a boozy evening filled with living, laughing and loving. The Guild Club in Costa Mesa checks all the boxes. A speakeasy-style spot hidden in plain sight in SoCo, these guys take their liquids seriously. If you are a whiskey connoisseur, you must try the TWAIN and lap up every last drop of that Pappy Van Winkle. Get some bites for the table (and by bites, we mean the Scottie’s Nuggs) and just sip the night away. And you didn’t hear it from us, but rumor has it the famed Arc Butcher & Baker crew is behind this place, so you know it’s good.

Location: Costa Mesa



From the divas who brought you Strut comes a new performer: Birdcage. This libation lounge will be open for happy hour every Friday and Saturday night from 8-10 p.m. and might become your new standing date-night spot. This place will be cozy but with the same loud personality as its sister spot. It’s not open just yet, so follow @strutorangecounty for more information on the grand opening and sneak peeks into this adult aviary.

Location: Costa Mesa

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Jane Adler is a marketing and branding consultant by trade, but a writer by preference. She shares a name with Meryl Streep's iconic character from It's Complicated and is presently trying to manifest that life (particularly that Santa Barbara house) for herself. Jane is an avid consumer of content and carbs and often used the latter to write on the former.




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