10 OC Happy Hours
Small bites and a stiff cocktail do the trick at these happy hangouts
Not every meal needs to be an occasion. Sometimes small bites and a stiff cocktail will do the trick, perhaps between work and an evening performance, or after a day of power shopping. Consider any of these happy hours fit for a mini feast:
For “social hour” from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, guests at the bar can order $2-off beers, $3-off wines and spirits. Snacks include yellowfin tuna tossed with sweet soy sauce and a spicy Sriracha aioli for $12 and the eatery’s signature “A” Burger ($12) served with blue cheese, bacon, arugula and Thousand Island dressing.
3334 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949.650.6505 :: arestaurantnb.com
From 4:30 p.m. to closing, customers can order drink specials such as house vodka martinis ($6) flavored with peach, apple and watermelon. A selection of California wines is priced under $7. An extensive bar menu is available, including spicy Shanghai calamari glazed with a chili-honey sauce and crushed peanuts ($14.95) and lobster salad bruschetta with ripe avocado ($9.75).
900 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach, 949.721.1222 :: baysiderestaurant.com
“Home run happy hour” runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m. daily. While the cocktails, draft beers and wines by the glass are discounted by $2, the bargain hunters will celebrate the select menu items served at half price. Fresh fish includes sushi such as hamachi yellowtail and maguro for $3.50, Albacore roll includes seared albacore with avocado, spicy tuna and papaya relish. Heartier fare includes kung pao calamari ($7) and ground short-rib beef sliders ($6).
3010 Lafayette Road, Newport Beach, 949.566.0060 :: cannerynewport.com
AnQi captivates the South Coast Plaza dining scene with its luxe Vegas-style décor. The hidden runway, unveiled for fashion soirees, sets the stage for an exclusive experience. Each weekday, the Red Hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m., with a special menu that includes popular dishes such as An’s famous garlic noodles with char-grilled prawns ($19). A sushi assortment boasts unexpected fillings such as the Takuwan roasted beet roll with pickled daikon plated on a swash of golden curry ($11). Handcrafted cocktails such as the Sin-U-Rita ($7) mixed with blanco tequila combined with hand-pressed watermelon juice and fresh mint, are available at half price.
AnQi at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, 714.557.5679 :: houseofan.com
Fig & Olive
From 4 to 7 p.m. daily, patrons saddle up to Fig & Olive’s bar to sip $9 wines and signature cocktails that include a refreshing cucumber cosmo and the piscine, a drink originating in the South of France served with sparkling wine and muddled strawberries. The regionally inspired $7 tasting plates feature flavors of France such as beef tartare with olive oil crackers, a Spanish plate with Manchego cheddar and salty Marcona almonds, and an Italian tasting plate with Tuscan artichokes, and burrata served with balsamic crostini.
151 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.877.3005 :: figandolive.com
Muldoon’s Irish Pub
After 40 years, Muldoon’s remains one of Newport’s favorite under-the-radar watering holes. The “Wilde hours,” named after the Irish writer Oscar Wilde, run weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. A limited menu features hearty banger bites, grilled handcrafted Irish-style sausage wrapped pigs-in-a-blanket style and served with a Dijon dipping sauce, and ahi poke with chopped avocado and pineapple relish. While Guinness on draft isn’t available at a discounted price, the Muldoon’s blonde American ale and the Figueroa Hoppy IPA are $5. Cocktails such as the Shaken Emerald Drop (think: lemon drop martini with a splash of lime) and the Absolut Mule mixed with Cock’n Bull ginger beer are available for less than $10.
202 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.640.4110 :: muldoonspub.com
At Rick Bayless’ Red O restaurant at Fashion Island, customers pack the bar to take advantage of happy hour specials daily from 3 to 6 p.m. that include $7 wines and house margaritas mixed with Espolón Blanco tequila and tangy house-made limonada. Another refreshing sipper is La Rosita with organic Blue Ice wheat vodka, fresh-squeezed lemon and vibrant red hibiscus syrup. Snacks range from the more traditional Mexican American fare such as the carnitas soft tacos ($6), classic guacamole ($5) and organic baby kale salad with ruby red grapefruit segments and grilled jicima ($5) to the more authentic regional Mexican flavors that Bayless is known for such as the Yucatecan shrimp and calamari ceviche ($8) and fresh ground corn masa and goat cheese tamales ($6).
143 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.718.0300 :: redorestaurant.com
“Sunset hour” in Laguna Beach lasts for three hours, 2:30-5:30 p.m. daily and celebrates Ketel One specialty beverages with citrus twists. The Orange Sonic blends Ketel One Oranje with muddled oranges and blood orange puree mixed with a bold swig of fizzy tonic. Reflecting chef Azmin Ghahreman’s emphasis on global cuisine, the beers and wines available during sunset hour come from Argentina, Spain, Tahiti and San Diego. “Spice plates” appetizers include Mediterranean octopus salad and Swiss chard quesadillas. Entrées include coastal flavors such as Mama’s blackened fish tacos and a “must have” Caesar salad.
1200 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949.715.9888 :: sapphirellc.com
All burgers are half off and grazing plates such as the ahi watermelon skewers, pictured, and homemade ricotta cheese served with honeycomb and salty Marcona almonds are $2 off from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. every day. All specialty cocktails including the Watermarc with pear vodka, Hawaiian ginger syrup and a splash of champagne, wines by the glass and bottled beers are $2 off.
448 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949.376.6272 :: watermarcrestaurant.com
At the Winery’s Newport Beach location, “crush hour” is 4 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday. Specials include wines by the glass and Grey Goose martinis all priced under $8; $4 beers; and small bites that include a half-dozen freshly shucked oysters and wild mushroom and blue cheese flatbread garnished with crème fraiche and caramelized onions drizzled with truffle oil.
3131 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach 949.999.6622 :: thewinerynewport.com