Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s all about family. That and eating so much turkey, stuffing, and pie that you have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe just to get through the holidays.
The day before Thanksgiving though is one of the most popular days for bar-goers to let loose. If you’re getting old friends together for the season in Orange County, you’ve got to put one or two of these top 10 bars on your list.
Orange County bars to visit on Thanksgiving Eve
Stag Bar + Kitchen is a friendly watering hole in the Newport Beach area. Renowned by locals for the high-quality pizza and meatballs, Stag + Kitchen also boasts an exceptional whiskey list.
Single malt, top shelf, or mixed with Coca-Cola, they’ve got you covered at Stag + Kitchen—however you take your whiskey.
Where: 121 McFadden Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663
One of the most heavily decorated bars in Orange County (and maybe the world), Goat Hill Tavern is a kitschy, eclectic place to get a drink and a bite to eat. Known for their long list of microbrews, Goat Hill Tavern is also a hangout for beer enthusiasts of almost every stripe.
If you’re hungry, they’ll even let you order food from outside restaurants right to your table.
Where: 1830 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
The Wild Goose Tavern is self-described as rustic-chic, and with the blue lighting scheme, dark wood, and metal accents, this bar is part laid-back party pad and part high-class drinking establishment. Luckily for you, they’ve got a huge drink list featuring small-batch whiskey options, microbrews, and hand-crafted cocktails.
Wild Goose Tavern also features gourmet sausages and burgers made in the house kitchen.
Where: 436 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Natural wood tones and classic bar tables fill Malarky’s, giving it a no-nonsense vibe. If you’re looking for a classic Irish pub without pretension, you’ll be in heaven at Malarky’s.
Stop in for a beer and a burger, or give yourself a treat with one of the Irish coffee options on their menu.
Where: 3011 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
If your ideal evening is sipping a martini while listening to some jazz or laid-back rock, The Blue Beet is your kind of place. A multi-level club that makes a mean cocktail and handles some killer small bookings in town, The Blue Beet also serves up some of the best bar food in Orange County.
Where: 107 21st Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663
6. The Shamrock Bar & Grill
The Shamrock Bar & Grill is the epitome of a classic Irish-style bar right down to the food. For a relaxed evening with friends, especially if you’re interested in soccer or a live sporting event, you won’t do much better than this place.
Grab a Guinness, order a shot of Bushmills and dine on classic Irish cuisine that will change your mind about the food of the emerald isle for good.
Where: 2633 West Coast Hwy C, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Baja Sharkeez is a low-key kind of place where you can enjoy delicious Mexican food, a beer and a margarita with friends in comfortable environment. They also have multiple TVs tuned to a variety of sporting events, so it’s an excellent place to catch a game.
Baja Sharkeez has a variety of happy hour and evening specials too.
Where: 114 McFadden Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663
8. Cassidy’s Bar & Grill
Cassidy’s Bar & Grill is what you might call a dive bar. We’d rather call it an unpretentious place to get a drink with friends without worrying too much about your attire or haircut.
Stop into Cassidy’s Bar & Grill for the beer, burgers and funky décor.
Where: 2603 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
9. Roscoe’s Famous Deli
A combination deli and pub, Roscoe’s Famous Deli is known for its pastrami sandwiches and go-to ale choices. Grab a table with a group or pull up to the bar to ensure quick service before a night out.
Roscoe’s also makes an excellent pit stop or post-bar crawl place to grab a bite so you can sober up before going off to bed.
Where: 116 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832
10.The Sandpiper Lounge
Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) on this list of OC watering holes, The Sandpiper Lounge is a notorious dive bar on South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. Affectionately known as “the dirty bird,” this place gets hot, busy, and rowdy in a hurry.
If you’re looking for a drink with live music, this is your place. It may not be the most relaxed bar-going experience on this list, but it could be the most fun if you’re in the mood to get wild.
Where: 1183 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Orange County has dozens of bars you can check out, and the night before Thanksgiving is an ideal time to get together with your group and have a few drinks. If you get an early start and you’re adventurous, you might even be able to get 3 or 4 of these hot spots knocked off your bucket list before you dig into that Thanksgiving turkey the next day.