Drinkeasies Orange County
Credit: Voda Films

16 Speakeasies in Orange County That We Are Tired of Gatekeeping

You’ll Want to Scope Out These Secret Cocktail Bars ASAP

The secret’s out! Stumble upon buried treasure at fully immersive hideaways—or as we like to call them, drinkeasies. Eclectic atmospheres lure you in from the moment you walk through the door—or pull aside the bookcase. From sleek, sexy bars to moody themed taverns, you never know where you might be able to raise a glass. Ditch mainstream spots and opt for hidden gems like these Orange County speakeasies. We’re sharing everything we know about these 14 elusive drinkeasies, including where you can find them. Cheers!

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reveal at VEA Newport Beach

Drinkeasies Orange County
Credit: Voda Films

Nestled on the ground floor of the stunning VEA Newport Beach, one of the city’s newest luxury hotels, lies the latest buzz in food and beverage experiences. reveal is a vibrant new evening and late-night destination—a social hub serving up expertly crafted cocktails and classic bar bites with a VEA twist. As you push past the entrance’s brushed brass door, you’ll find an intimate, indoor-outdoor lounge space featuring groovy tunes from the 90s and early 2000s—think artists like New Edition, Mariah Carey, Salt-n-Pepa, Aaliyah and Usher. The space itself features sleek decor and a curated collection of cherished relics from around the globe. The ambiance embraces VEA’s contemporary, cosmopolitan vibe while also tipping its hat to some of the most extraordinary waterfront destinations worldwide.

Open Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight, reveal is the place to see and be seen. Gather with friends for an elevated night out, and sip on classic cocktails like a Sidecar, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Vesper, Negroni or Manhattan. Pair your sip with a selection of tasty snacks like American caviar, chicken tenders, grilled cheese and fries.

Local Insight: Looking for a place to host your next event? reveal is available for buyouts from Sunday to Wednesday and can accommodate up to 50 guests!

Location: Newport Beach

 

Herb’s Place

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Drinkeasies Orange County
Credit: Herb’s Place

In the heart of Downtown Laguna Beach lies a new 70s-style speakeasy that made its debut in December of last year. This hidden retro joint sits within the buzzy two-story restaurant and live music venue, Skyloft, which is perched just steps from the shores of Main Beach. Herb’s Place transports guests back in time with a retro-cool ambiance that features psychedelic art, neon lights, vintage wood paneling, leather couches, and all the vibrant colors that define one of the hippest decades in history. Guests in search of a groovy time can sip on boozy milkshakes, such as the Cherry Bomb with vanilla vodka and Bordeaux cherry, and snack on drool-worthy BBQ bites like brisket nachos topped with a cajun aioli sauce, smokey pulled pork sandos, loaded burgers and more. As you dig in, grab a board game off the shelf, like Pictionary or Battleship, and challenge your entourage to some friendly competition. If Elvis had a Laguna Beach hangout back in the day, this would have been it.

Local Insight: Feelin’ groovy after a few milkshakes? Take that toe-tappin’ attitude out on the dance floor. Skyloft features live music Wednesday-Sunday!

Location: Laguna Beach

 

Speakeasy YNK

You never know what you’ll find on the menu, but at least you’ll now know where to find Speakeasy YNK. This “Mad Men”-inspired bar is tucked inside the Irvine Marriott, through sheer sliding doors behind the lobby bar. An envelope is handed to guests upon entry, revealing drinks which constantly change, a nod to their “you never know” motto. Smoked rosemary libations were previously featured cocktails, alongside Instagrammable vapor elixirs. Roll the camera, pop the suspended bubble, and take a sip! YNK is a romantic spot for a cozy evening. Finished with upholstered black leather sofas and bookshelves brimming with global reads, the hidden bar resembles an old in-house English library. If you’re seeking an intimate spot with top-notch mixology, add YNK to the list!

Location: Irvine

 

Lost Inferno

Jeromy Chan
Credit: Jeromy Chan

Set in the charming seaside town of San Clemente, Lost Inferno, a “Goonies”-inspired speakeasy, encapsulates the coastal grunge of this enclave. To find this buried treasure, look for the sushi restaurant with the red door off the I-5 and PCH. The sunken shipwreck is in the back! Fully decked out with candle-lit chandeliers, vintage maps and skeletons hanging overhead, grabbing a drink at Lost Inferno feels like an adventure through Mama Fratelli’s underground cavern. Drink like a pirate and order the Blue Astoria with Wray and Nephew Rum, or for a drink that is literally fire, opt for the Chester Copperpot! Lost Inferno is argh-uably San Clemente’s best cocktail bar—the only rule is to never say die.

Local Insight: Book a table on the first Sunday of each month for cocktails and cosmic magic at Lost Inferno’s enchanted magic show.

Location: San Clemente

 

Momoku No Usagi

Drinkeasies Orange County
Credit: Momoku No Usagi

Following your journey to the Goon Docks, grab a second drink upstairs at Lost Inferno’s sibling drinkeasy, Momoku No Usagi. This watering hole may be unassuming from the exterior, but pull aside the bookshelf and find yourself on the streets of Tokyo. Iconic colored umbrellas hang overhead and vintage Japanese posters coat the walls. The most eye-catching part is the lantern-lined bar that hosts a collection of global whiskys. All four of Momoku’s Old Fashioned variations are fan-favorites, but for something light and refreshing, order the rotating highball made with Japanese whisky, champagne and housemade matcha cordial. Hand rolls are crafted just as precisely as the cocktails themselves, making this Japanese hideaway a perfect and impressive dinner date. Momoku is open Wednesday through Sunday with happy hour starting at 5 p.m.

Location: San Clemente

 

Graceland

No photos or videos are allowed at Graceland, so we’ll paint the picture for you. Your phone will be locked in a box upon entry, but after a cocktail or two, you won’t even care. This eclectic urban hideaway can be found inside HQ Gastropub, across from the Huntington Beach Pier. Follow the sounds of Elvis Presley and ‘70s tunes to the neon keg-lined entry. Inside, brick walls are painted with vibrant street art which contrasts luxe velvet lounges, making Graceland look more like it belongs in New York City than Huntington Beach (with the exception of the ocean views, of course). Both booze and bites are available, and we recommend you order the Tea Party, a life-changing combo of gin, Earl Grey tea, creamy coconut and sweet matcha. Pinkies up!

Location: Huntington Beach

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The Guild Club

Welcome to the club! Dimly lit, sleek and sexy, The Guild Club in Costa Mesa perfectly matches the sophisticated feel of South Coast Plaza, where the bar is located. Known for elevated enhancements to America’s favorite bites and cocktails, The Guild’s most popular menu items include the totally tempting duck fat fries and cheese-stuffed fried olives. The beverage menu boasts premium liquors and a 21-year-old rum, but the most notable cocktail is The Girlfriend, a cheeky nod to the fact that “the girlfriend” changes each day. Sip underneath the stars of the hand-painted celestial ceiling and feel the beat of the DJ’s tracks! The Guild Club is best fit for date-night drinks, followed by reservations at their sister restaurant, Arc.

Location: Costa Mesa

 

1814 

Credit: HenrySurf culture meets the desert-dweller lifestyle at Landers North Beach. Named after their address on El Camino, 1814 is Landers Liquor Bar’s exclusive underground bar that opened this past January. The sophisticated lounge is hidden behind black curtains and centered around a semi-circle bar with classic books lining the front. Taste premium liquors at 1814 events with monthly memberships starting at $100. Memberships include two drinks per month and allow members to bring three guests to raise a glass with. Single-entrance passes are based on availability. This is a drinkeasy you need to know about. 

Location: San Clemente

 

LSXO

Credit: Simon Nicholls

Head upstairs at Huntington Beach’s Pacific City, and between Bluegold’s kitchen and wine room you’ll find an intimate lounge reflective of Chef Tin Vuong’s back house where his father played cards late into the night. On one side of the Vietnamese parlor are palms and PCH; on the other is a stencil graffiti cocktail bar with plaster walls. The Michelin menu features elevated cuisine with a homestyle feel—just like what Vuong’s grandparents would whip up. Make a reservation for one of LXSO’s six tables and order the Shaky Shaky Beef and Butterfly Effect cocktail to sip in style.

Local Insight: To find the hidden entrance to the LSXO speakeasy, look up and follow the butterflies. 

Location: Huntington Beach

 

Strong Water

Credit: Ying Chang

Hop aboard sunken wreckage at Strong Water to find an undiscovered tropical treasure. Wood-paneled walls are brimming with vintage artifacts, and lush greenery grows through the ceiling of the shipwreck, which is designed by owners Ying Chang and Robert Adamson—the founders of Strong Water’s sister speakeasy, the Blind Rabbit. Sip on rum-based cocktails under dimmed lights and sway away to the tropical tunes. Order the long and strong Beware the Tradewinds cocktail, but beware of Lady Clementine’s ghost that haunts the ship. You may want to keep this drinkeasy a secret after all!

Location: Anaheim

 

The Oak Room Behind Oak and Coal

Oak and Coal is a Costa Mesa 17th St-favorite known for traditional yakitori meat skewers. What is lesser known about the Costa Mesa hotspot is its backside bar. Unveiled in 2022, The Oak Room is a sleek and sultry bar with a lively, upbeat atmosphere. Japanese cuisine and specialty cocktails are available to order at the bar, which is dedicated to one of Oak and Coal’s loyal patrons, John Morris, who passed away before the addition opened. Order an old fashioned in his honor. 

Location: Costa Mesa

 

Vacation Bar in Santa Ana

Credit: @dana_gaydon

When a tropical Tulum getaway seems out of reach, Vacation Bar is your next best bet. This oasis of a cocktail lounge offers a slice of paradise in downtown Santa Ana. With retro, checkered tile, lush tropical greens and bespoke furniture that decorates the space, Vacation’s easy-going atmosphere checks out as one of the trendiest spots in town. Unwind in luxury with a Gucci Flip-Flops cocktail. Tequila, passion fruit aperol foam and ghost chili salt is the combo you didn’t know you needed.

Location: Santa Ana

 

Cowboys and Poodles

Cowboys and Poodles puts the giddy in giddy-up with playful Western charm and a hint of disco. A glittering ball lights up the speakeasy-style bar located near The Camp in Costa Mesa. Pull aside the bookcase and walk under the cowboy-hat hallway to saddle up at the bar on horsetail barstools. Order the Whole Mood Cocktail garnished with smoking sage and spill all your secrets in the classic confessional booth. Follow along on social media for new weekly cocktails and the live entertainment schedule. 

Location: Costa Mesa

 

The Blind Rabbit

Down the rabbit hole at Anaheim Packing District is a 1920s speakeasy lounge. Pull on one of the sake barrels against the back wall to find it. Every nook and cranny of the low-light bar dates back to the Prohibition Era in a basement-style setting with brick walls, vintage bookcases and fringed lamp shades. The atmosphere warps back in time, but the cocktails themselves are much more modern. For something sweet and fruity, order I Can Buy Myself Flowers from their newly released spring menu. Reservations are required.

Location: Anaheim

 

The Cauldron

Drinkeasies in Orange County
Credit: Matthew Varner

Drink the potion at The Cauldron in Buena Park. As ominous as a witch’s lair, The Cauldron Spirits and Brews exudes an enchantingly dark atmosphere with eclectic antiques. A single green eye above the mantle is always watching as you sip on elixirs near the bubbling cauldron. As spooky as this hideaway may seem, its French menu is nothing to be afraid of. Try the prosciutto-wrapped shrimp and pair it with the bartender’s secret concoction. Join Yelp’s waitlist for a table! 

Local Insight: A witch’s favorite drink is wine! Come on Wine Sundays for half-off bottles.

Location: Buena Park

 

Whiskey Room at Kai Lounge

Drinkeasies in Orange County
Credit: Ed Visions

The flavors of Tokyo hit Huntington Beach at Kai Lounge. Just steps off the sand, Tokyo’s electric energy is evident in the lively bustle of this Pacific City restaurant. The upscale modern bistro is known for fire-lit stir fry, but its spirit-forward cocktails are just as noteworthy. Concealed inside the restaurant is a private room showcasing Kai’s prized collection of whiskeys. This secluded space doubles as a speakeasy, where Executive Chef Tim Ngyuyen serves multi-sensory 18-course Omakase meals for parties up to 10. 

Location: Huntington Beach

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!

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