Part of the fun of exploring our Southern California beach towns is finding new places to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a cold cocktail. From classic tiki bars to speakeasies, you’ll find plenty of excellent themed restaurants and bars worth checking out. These are just a few of our favorites.
Located in Irvine, a short drive from Newport Beach, Gulliver’s evokes 18th century England and is loosely based on “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift. Aside from the gracious hospitality of an old English roadside inn, you’ll find amazing prime rib, seafood, savory appetizers and an excellent wine list here.
Barkowski, Santa Monica
For anyone who is a fan of the eccentric LA-based German writer from the 1960s, this Santa Monica bar is a must. This retro spot pays homage to Bukowski himself, a man who loved a good drink.
The Federal Bar, Long Beach
The Federal Bar in Long Beach is a former bank, and it still has a very formal look (right down to the handpainted ceilings and the vault). They serve Americans classics for lunch, dinner and brunch.
Green Dragon Tavern & Museum, Carlsbad
Inspired by 18th century taverns, the Green Dragon Tavern & Museum in Carlsbad embraces historic traditions while allowing for modern amenities like large screen TVs and complimentary WiFi. Their menu includes seafood and New England clam chowder, and it’s modeled after Boston’s original Green Dragon Tavern. The museum is focused on the contributions of our founders during colonial American history.
Wonderland Ocean Pub, San Diego
From 1913-1915, San Diego’s first amusement park, Wonderland Park, attracted visitors to the up-and-coming city of San Diego. Wonderland Ocean Pub was created in its honor, and this family-friendly venue is now a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach
What would a trip to the beach be without a stop at a genuine tiki bar? Don the Beachcomber dates back to the 1930s, when 24-year-old Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt came to California and fell in love with rum. It’s now a Huntington Beach icon with tasty food, tropical drinks, live music and merchandise.
Noble Experiment, San Diego
Noble Experiment is a swanky speakeasy tucked behind a secret door in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. Aside from the fact that the craft cocktails here are amazing, the venue itself is unbelievably beautiful and the atmosphere is sophisticated without being pretentious.
Mozambique, Laguna Beach
You’ll get a little bit of everything here—the Mozambique property has an African theme and includes an African inspired Garden Patio, The Boma Room dining room, The Shebeen Bar and a speakeasy called The Durban Room. If you’re in Laguna Beach, this place is a must-see.