18 Orange County Happy Hour Spots That’ll Cure Your Work-Week Woes

18 Orange County Happy Hour Spots That’ll Cure Your Work-Week Woes

Dining in Orange County can get a little pricey, especially when stunning oceanfront views are included, but there’s a little thing called happy hour that everybody loves. We’ve made it easy for you by rounding up some of our favorite discounted bites and sips. So once it’s time to clock out, head over to one of these eateries and break up that mid-week monotony. And if you’re not local to OC, you’re in luck—some of these restaurants even do happy hour on weekends!

Tavern at the Mission

Frosty margaritas, coconut crusted shrimp, and prime cheeseburgers? We’d say that’s a solid definition of happy hour! When the post-work blues hit, head to the new Tumbleweed Bar or the tree-covered, pet-friendly patio at San Juan Capistrano’s Tavern at the Mission and take your pick from their Booze & Bites happy hour menu.

This downtown hotspot draws culinary inspiration from David Wilhelm’s love of American and European ‘comfort foods’; his elevated spin on them will satisfy your every craving. Settle in for a stunning view overlooking the jewel of the California missions and a cocktail or two amidst a newly remodeled bar and dining room. Happy hour is in full swing Monday through Friday—the Steak and Mashed Potato Martini alone is worth a visit! Of course, we can never pass up the Duck Liver and Cognac Mousse either, with blackberry gelee and grilled sourdough fingers. And for those who want a brew and a burger, the Tavern Cheeseburger & Draft Beer Combo for $20 is a steal!

Local Insight: Tavern at the Mission also hosts Sunday Suppers (an entree and your choice of soup or salad for $25) and Wine Wednesdays (50% off select bottles all night). Eclub VIP Members also can enjoy 50% off all food all night on Tuesdays, so if you’re not a member go to their website and join!

Location: Downtown San Juan Capistrano across from the Mission.

SideDoor at Five Crowns

Mimicking your typical British 20th-century gastropub, SideDoor is every bit a quintessential replica of England’s favorite casual yet boisterous way to dine. Inspired by Britain’s evergreen gastropub revolution, this robust tavern is Corona Del Mar’s first and only English-style pub. Adjacent to Five Crowns—a landmark steakhouse famous for its roasted prime rib—Side Door puts a spin on the iconic “X marks the spot” quest. Slip through the “side door” of this building and keep your eyes peeled for the oversized red key marking the entrance to a cheese and charcuterie haven.

It’s Happy Hour indeed within the walls of this ale house, brought to life by rustic, reclaimed textiles, French chandeliers and a warm, roaring fireplace. Pop in Monday-Thursday from 4:30-6 p.m. for an indulgent selection of cozy pub grub. From the Stilton Chips to the French Onion Press, these seasonal small plates come with a stash of all the goods, including bacon bits, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. Pair either delicacy with an Espresso Tini, and you’re as good as golden!

Location Corona del Mar

Cafe Sevilla

This Spanish-style tapas bar brings a bit of its hometown heritage to Costa Mesa with an enticing menu of all the paella and brochetas you can eat. Cafe Sevilla is no copycat, delivering unique, authentic dishes reminiscent of its native culture. Ever heard of a Barcelona-style flatbread? Sample the manchego cheese masterpiece for yourself alongside a Mezcal Old Fashioned. Alternatively, order the grilled Pulpo Romesco with octopus and hazelnut sauce for a dinner that couldn’t be more perfect!

Their “Tapas Bar Live” transports guests into the streets of Spain with soulful Latin and Salsa serenades. Saturdays get spicy at Cafe Sevilla with their Flamenco dinner shows, held over a three-course feast featuring the flavors of Spain. It’s the happiest of happy hours at this Spanish tapas bar with discounted drinks (hello, $6 sangrias!), tasty fare and Latin music from Wednesday through Sunday. Did we mention tapas are 50% off and tacos start at just $8?! Swing by on Tuesdays for their all-night happy hour—a great way to take advantage of the discounted menu!

Location: Costa Mesa


Tucked within renowned retail destination South Coast PlazaOUTPOST Kitchen in Costa Mesa is an Aussie-inspired restaurant set in a bright and stunning space. With a dream of bringing the charm of 1970s Australian beach cafes to Southern California, visionary, entrepreneur and tastemaker Jay Lewis created OUTPOST, which has become a staple in the Orange County community for health-conscious fare. Fresh, organic and responsibly sourced ingredients make up each dish on the menu, and the restaurant even partners with local purveyors, such as Santa Monica Seafood, Crema Artisan Bakers and Tanaka Farms.

On the happy hour menu, diners will find a curated selection of craft cocktails, wine and small plates. Start with a peach mojito or a crisp glass of Wither Hills sauvignon blanc for a refreshing sip, then order the flat top Popcorn, bruschetta or grilled teriyaki skewers to share with the table. If you’re feeling decadent, the honey truffle halloumi with sumac spice, szechuan pepper and honey truffle is a must-try in our book. But no matter what you choose to snack on, you’ll be pleased to know that everything is under $12—this is a happy hour in Orange County that won’t break the bank!

Location: Costa Mesa

Solstice Seasonal Kitchen & Bar

Small bites and special sips are the weekday social happy hour theme at Solstice Seasonal Kitchen & Bar. Solstice invites you to “experience the peak”—a reference to the ingredients they select at the height of each season. The cocktails also rotate based on seasonality, and they even have a Zero Proof Un-Cocktail selection for those who want the juice without the gin. For those who sidle up to the bar after work, you can select from an extensive list of discounted wine, beer and spirits. Or consider the Plum Sangria, which would pair well with the Deviled Egg Mason Jar and salmon crudo. 

Location: Irvine


Do you hear what we hear? That’s right, Opium Hour is calling from one of Orange County’s hottest seafood-forward hotspots. With locations in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, Starfish takes happy hour to a whole new level with a curated selection of Insta-worthy cocktails and creative small bites, available from 3-6 p.m. daily. “Swim” up to the bar for half-off starfish libations, $8 House Hot Sake and $6 wine and well cocktails. Celebrating the flavors of Asian coastal cuisine, their Opium Hour menu is bursting with exotic seafood delicacies, like their Sunset Roll, Singapore Bamboo Roll and Crab Wontons.

Locations: Laguna Beach and Newport Beach

Avila’s El Ranchito

Avila’s El Ranchito recently launched a happy hour menu, and now you know where to find us any weekday afternoon on the Balboa Peninsula! Let’s start with the discounted margs—the Fresca Skinny is $10, and the Fresca Skinny Cadillac is $12. Pair it with crispy tacos (shredded chicken or beef) for $5 or some Chingolingas for $10. Is your mouth watering yet?! Other happy hour specials include $2 off all craft margaritas and $5 Dos Equis Amber or Lager. A local favorite that offers authentic Mexican fare, this family-owned and operated restaurant never disappoints. 

Locations: Newport Beach (check their website to find other locations’ happy hour specials)

Craft House

This Dana Point favorite offers elevated American fare and a selection of extremely rare whiskeys. If you’re a whiskey connoisseur, this should definitely be on your list! Food portions are generous and great for sharing; you’ll want to bring the whole gang for happy hour—or as Craft House calls it, social hour. Their happy hour might just be the best in town, and it happens every day of the week during select times. The Craft House Lite is $5, an Aperol Spritz is $7 and the Shoot + Brew, made with Four Roses bourbon, is just $8. Flavorful birria tacos are $8, and the spicy tuna crispy rice is $9. For only $6, you must try the chile verde fries, which are loaded with pork, crema, cotija, cilantro and lime. Pop in for the next big game, a family celebration or an after-work rendezvous with the crew.  

Location: Dana Point

The Cannery

Pull up a seat at The Cannery’s upstairs Jellyfish Lounge to experience their extensive happy hour menu. Their sushi offerings change with each catch and also depend on what’s in season. Indulge a little and order their toro with truffle butter and uni or a tuna flight. When it comes to drinks, try their discounted classics, like the barrel-aged Negroni or the Moscow Mule. We also love the Poolside, a cocktail made with fresh cucumber, lemon, agave and your choice of the following: Wheatley vodka, Roku gin, Los Vecinos mezcal or Siete Leguas Blanco tequila.

Location: Newport Beach

SOL Mexican Cocina


Get a taste of Baja California right here in Newport Beach. SOL adopts traditional Baja-style cooking, where everything is made from scratch (including all 24 types of salsa). The agave bar features a rotating roster with over 80 of Mexico’s finest tequilas and mezcals, so you already know their margaritas will blow you away. Food and drink specials starting at $5 include the tableside Grilled Sweet Corn, House Margarita, Guacamole, Watermelon Margarita and more.

Locations: Newport Beach, Irvine

Happy Hour in Orange County

Tavern House Kitchen + Bar

With the glistening Newport Harbor as your backdrop, you’ll enjoy happy hour with a view at Tavern House. This elevated neighborhood restaurant has been recognized as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant by the Surfrider Foundation, so you can indulge in their expansive seafood selection without guilt. Get some bang for your buck and order the charred Brussels sprouts—only $10 during happy hour! They come with smoked bacon, pine nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Other discounted dishes include the burger and beer for $15, while the fish and chips and coconut-crusted shrimp go for $13. Pair your bites with any well drink for $8. Happy hour every day of the week? Count us in!

Local Insight: To see Tavern House’s full happy hour menu, click here.

Location: Newport Beach

The Blind Pig

We adore an eatery that understands the importance of wellness, especially when it’s combined with beer. Welcome to The Blind Pig, where it’s not unheard of to pair pints with pilates. This comes as no surprise when you consider the creator’s inspiration behind the restaurant—”built on a couple beers and a dream.” You’ll find slightly different happy hour options at each location, but the vibe promises to be the same. And who can resist the all-time happy hour standby? Their hand cut fries are available on all menus. In addition to happy hour, both locations celebrate the middle of each week with Tiki Taco Tuesdays, Whiskey Wine Wednesdays and Kill the Keg Thursdays.

Locations: Rancho Santa Margarita and Yorba Linda

Hendrix Restaurant and Bar

Hendrix wants you to be happy. And what better way to find happiness than to celebrate with their happy hour. Hendrix Restaurant and Bar is a comfortable neighborhood restaurant that specializes in rotisserie meats, such as the rosemary and lemon roasted chicken and porchetta. But every day around dusk, they bring out some classics—think dishes like an iceberg wedge and fried calamari–at a discount. Mondays are for martinis, Tuesdays are for tacos, Wednesdays are for wine—and every day from 4-6 p.m., you’ll find discounts on beer and wine. Or if you’re hanging with the crew, consider a batch cocktail. One order of the Hendrix mai tai or Scratch Margarita is enough for five to six people. Just add ice!

Location: Laguna Niguel 

The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar

Situated at the base of the pier in sunny San Clemente, The Fisherman’s is a staple of this small beach town. With its weathered wooden beams and nautical decor, this seaside restaurant exudes a rustic charm that mirrors the sea-to-table dishes it serves. Weekdays from 4-7 p.m., guests can enjoy rotating happy hour specials, including excellent discounts of drinks like margaritas, mai tais and select draft beers. Whether you’re lounging at the bar enjoying some oysters or perched at a window table, observing the waves as you savor a pair of fish tacos, The Fisherman’s is the perfect place for a golden hour bite.

Location: San Clemente

Happy Hour in Orange County


This upscale, three-level restaurant draws inspiration from South Africa’s vibrant coast. It brings bold, flavorful food all the way to Laguna Beach. Choose to dine in the Durban Room, a speakeasy lounge on the first floor, in the dining rooms on the second floor or on their panoramic roof deck. Get a South African pie or some peri-peri prawns, each for $19 during happy hour. Well drinks are just $10 and house wines are $8. They even have a Halal menu with dishes like samoosas and peri-peri chicken.

Location: Laguna Beach

2145 Eats 

With an emphasis on Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza, 2145 Eats is a longtime OC favorite, having made the Orange County 75 Best Restaurants list every year since 2018. This eatery is also the perfect place for a date—not only for the food but also because most of the seating is under the stars. As you might suspect, happy hour includes a selection of pies, as well as a few small plates. These dishes include garlic Parmesan fries and falafel. Discounted drinks include draft beers and wine by the glass, or go for the bottle—an easy thing to do at 25% off all happy hour wine!

Location: Costa Mesa

Louie’s by the Bay

Louie’s by the Bay is a cozy, elegant Italian restaurant located on Mariner’s Mile with dreamy views of the bay. Their happy hour goes beyond just small bites and tapas. The Fritto Misto ($11) comes with a generous portion of shrimp, calamari, zucchini and lemon. It’s also served with spicy marinara sauce. You can also get other full-sized meals like cacio e pepe and Wagyu beef sliders. Plus, the house Negroni, a local favorite, is just $10 during happy hour.

Location: Newport Beach

Prego Restaurant

There’s a reason this Italian kitchen’s moniker translates to “You’re welcome!” You’ll be saying it all evening at Prego’s Social Hour after feasting on their Calamari Calabrese, Pizza Piccola and Sausage Ravioli. Paired with an Aperol Spritz or Pinot Grigio, and you’re in for a foodie experience that’s molto bene! Italy’s culinary scene is just as much about the people as it is about the food. Located at The District at Tustin LegacyPrego’s “Social” bar is open daily from 3-6 p.m., where guests can mingle over $10 seasonal small bites and house-crafted beverages starting at just $7.

Location: Tustin


Originally published in Locale Magazine
Text by Joy Sun


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