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Things to Do in Orange County

The top 5 Bars of Orange County

5) Kitsch Bar, 891 Baker Street, Costa Mesa  92626. Kitsch Bar is more of a lounge, it is dark and comfortable. They always have good djs spinning while providing a laid-back atmosphere. There is a lot of seating with nice tables, drinks are great, the bartenders are friendly, and there is never a cover charge. The only problem with Kitsch is that the drinks are moderately expensive and it tends to get quite crowded, which limits seating options.

4) The Olde Ship, 709 N. Harbor Blvd. Fullerton, CA 92832. The Olde Ship has great style with its classic British themes. They have nice artwork, lots of seating, no cover charge, and a good selection of drinks. The downfall is that the jukebox is not great and it can get really crowded.

3) Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th Street, Costa Mesa 92627. Not only is this a good bar, but it also a great music venue. There are lots of seats, a pool room, a smoking patio, and space for a dance floor. Some nights have a cover charge, but that is only when a dj or a band is playing. The drinks are moderately expensive, but they are strong, so it makes up for it.

2) The Continental Room, 115 W. Santa Fe, Fullerton 92832. The Continental Room has great old school charm, there are huge booths and the red lighting and velvet wallpaper give it a 1920’s feeling. They have a great selection of martinis and all the drinks are fairly inexpensive. They also have great musical acts and a private room for entertaining.

1) The District Lounge, 223 W. Chapman, Orange 92866. The cream of the crop in the Orange County bar scene, the District features cheap drinks, tons of seating, a great jukebox, friendly staff, great live performers, and a comfortable atmosphere. This is the type of bar that encourages a good time.

 

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The Best Places to Drink in Laguna Beach

LAGUNA BEACH, CA–Locals to the beautiful resort town of Laguna Beach, Calif., reserve the right to their favorite bars. They are a funny bunch, often called “Lagunatics.” However, if anyone knows where to go and to get drunk in Laguna, it’s the locals. So I trust them, and so should you…And, from these longtime residents, I have compiled an accurate “how-to” guide for the bars off the beaten path.

(Disclaimer: Having lived and worked in Laguna for almost five years does not make me a local. However, as an active member of the Laguna Beach restaurant community for the past 5 years, I feel qualified to direct you to the best places in Laguna to drink.)

The Saloon, located on South Coast Highway between the Cabana and Javier’s, is a perfect place to encounter an authentic, Laguna Beach experience. Locals have long called the bar “The Stand Up Bar” because few seats exist for patrons. The Saloon offers two signature drinks that are the stuff of legend: the Pine-O and the No Name Shot. Many locals and interesting characters stop by the tiny bar throughout the week from 11:00 am to closing. The Stand Up Bar represents one of the few bars in all of Orange County that offers a quirky taste of local culture, and the bartenders’ no-nonsense style will make you a regular.

Another great local spot in Laguna is Rick’s Partners Bistro, located next door to the Saloon. Partners is an upscale restaurant that advertises its cuisine as “Californian with a French accent.” The bar, however, is where you want to be–it features copper top counters and a dim-lit, romantic atmosphere. Live jazz and blue grass pulses through the restaurant Sunday through Thursday. Adam and Sean, the lead barkeeps for Partners, will lead you in your journey towards selecting the best single malt scotch or glass of fine wine to make your evening perfect.

A few blocks south of Partners is the Sandpiper, considered the “last stop” for locals. Popular bands, including the reggae group Common Sense, frequent the playlist. Sometimes, you will pay a cover, but it won’t cost you more than $5…and, the music will make up for the extra cabbage. Called “The Dirty Bird” by locals, the Sandpiper boasts a dance floor, great live music, and delicious cocktails.

The Saloon, Partners, and the Sandpiper represent my top three picks for Laguna Beach, however, many other worthy bars exist: the Marine Room, Hennessey’s, Laguna Beach Brewing Co., the White House, Cafe 230, French 75, and many more. But, if you need to start somewhere, start at the Saloon, and go from there… I guarantee you will drink, be merry, and experience the small town within the resort town. Good luck and good times.

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Best Auto-Laundromats in the OC

Maybe you are lucky enough to have your own washer and dryer at home, or if you live in an apartment community there is a laundry room somewhere on the grounds.  However, for those of us who lack access to a readily available whirlpool, we lug baskets of our soild socks, shirts and unmentionables across town to get the dirt out and infuse that wonderful April Fresh sent into every fluffy fold.  Mind you I did say “across town”, because more often than not we of the Laundromat breed tend to have a preferred place to wash our clothes that isn’t so close to home.

Usually the Lavandaria (  That’s “Laundromat” in Spanish for those of you who don’t live in Santa Ana) near where we live is overcrowded, un-kept and an overall unpleasant place to spend an hour.  Although folding your underwear in public is not something that many would rate on their list of top things to do on any given evening, but it is something many of us are forced to do and gosh darn it, it would be nice to know where the good places are!

I have never been able to find a review guide for Laundromats in Orange County, or even where I can find a 24 hour location if the sudden urge to do laundry at 4:00 am should occur.  After searching high and low, I present some of the best places to scrub a dub dub:

 

1. Sudz - Chapman Ave in Fullerton at Post Office Village

2. Laundromat and Water Store - West Chapman in Orange

Hours 6:00am to 10:00pm

Cost of Wash ($1.00/$1.50/$2.00)$3.00)   Cost to Dry: ($0.25 per 15 min)

This is a great place to do laundry on any given week-night.  Remember to avoid doing laundry in the mornings on the weekend like everyone else who use the Laundromats.  For one, it is well kept and has an attendant on duty at all time.  I like the fact that it is open until 10pm with last wash at 8:30pm.  There is plenty to do in the small strip mall here.  There is a 7-11 so you can grab munchies, a Lamppost Pizza with lots of video game distractions and big screen TVs , a mexican fast food restaurant and the only Philippino fast food place I know of in the OC called Egg Rolls Inc.

Type of washers at this location:

6 stand-up top load SpeedQueens ($1.00 per load)…

 

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Top 5 30 Second & 30 Minute Date Spots

“Here, check this out,” his voice warm and inviting like honey seeping from the hive, trickled into my fantasy-filled mind.  I gazed dreamily into his emerald green eyes.  Very simply put, this guy was hot.   I was melting in his steamy gaze.

 I imagined the passion; the rip your clothes off, howling like a Banshee, collapsing on the zebra print rug sort of passion.   Daytime soap operas dimmed in comparison to the vision that was brewing in my brain.  Meteors would crash, lives would change, and buttons would fly. 

He tenderly nodded, directing my attention to where he was pulling up his shirt sleeve.  I couldn’t resist a glance at what was sure to be muscle laden triceps, ready to sweep me off my feet and carry me away from all this to…?

The howling Banshee is silenced.  Buttons are replaced and the Zebra print rug is no more.  I was jerked back from my peaceful reverie to reality.  My eyes were stuck and my head was filled with the voice of Bon Scott; “She had the face of an angel, smilin’ with sin, the body of Venus with arms!”  What I saw was a crude line tattoo of a beautiful female gracing the entirety of his arm.  The woman, although quite lovely, was not the focal point.  Show and tell time!  He flexed and un-flexed his upper limb and the outline of her breasts moved like a drawing from Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man. 

             “See, her tits move?” he yelped, clearly pleased with his strategically placed goddess.  Evidently, in my quest for Mr. Right, I had left a stone unturned, and now I found myself sitting at Heidelberg, cafe mocha in hand, with a man performing Rain Dance by means of wriggling arm titties for me. 

 I continued to stir my drink, plunging deep into thought.

 How long did I have to sit here and be entertained by wriggling arm titties?  I had a sudden and strong desire to listen to Highway to Hell one more time!

 

Let’s face it; first dates can be HELL! Think back to your karaoke weekend at The Crab Shack. Or remember the one who arrived at your designated rendezvous with a cardboard box of wine and a can of Cool Whip? How about the guy who exposed his chest to show you a tattoo bigger than your head? OK, you get the idea.

Did you know that according to ICrunchdata a man takes only 15 minutes to decide whether or not he is going to ask a woman out on a second date; and although women ponder a little longer, they have made their decision within about an hour?  I don’t think it takes 15 minutes and I know it doesn’t take an hour; so let’s split the difference to 30 minutes.  And while you’re at it, be completely honest, 30 minutes is still too much time.

 You or your date, probably both, will know within 30 seconds if this meeting warrants a repeat engagement.  I hear the moans of disgruntled discontent and disbelief.  This may sound harsh, but, here’s a fact; when people interview for a job, the interviewer knows within 3 seconds, whether or not they will hire that particular candidate.  THREE seconds.  I’m still giving you an extra 29 plus minutes. That’s over 966 times the amount of time needed in a job interview.  I’m not saying that you’re date will last only 30 seconds, but, odds are one of you is going to know within 30 seconds, probably less. And now I’m going to venture out into really dangerous waters, so dangerous that the editor may in fact cut this line altogether.

 People, the cold, harsh truth is that when you sit across from your date du jour, and gaze longingly into his/her face, if you can’t imagine yourself playing tonsil hockey or doing the mattress mambo then, you shouldn’t have a second date. Not saying you won’t, saying you shouldn’t.  Still, dating doesn’t have to be painful.   What you need are 30 minute date spots, and here they are! 

The Top 5 .

                        30 minute date spots in the OC!

1.  The most obvious place for your first get together is a coffee house.  Hey, you can always get that latte to go, if need be. Every neighborhood is inundated with corporate establishments, so show a little originality and go for the local, hip independent coffee houses, with their own vibe and flair.  These will often feature local artists, or afternoon jazz, a book or poetry reading.  Fortunately in the OC, Indy coffee houses still abound. One of my favorites is The Koffee Klatch on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.  This great cafe is filled with ornate chairs, excellent coffee, and specialty desserts, located straight across from the Laguna coast line.  Spectacular view and funky atmosphere make this a great 30 second date spot. 

If Laguna Beach is not in the correct zip code for your needs; try Mission College instructor Christine Hanson’s website; www.delocator.net.  This fantastic resource is dedicated to helping people find neighborhood coffee houses alternatives to the big-chain java shops.  Just plug in your zip code and voila! Your screen is full of Indy coffee shops.

 

            2.  The traditional Spanish Tapas bars are beginning to make their way into the United States and they are fun, with a capital F!  Typically they are stand up appetizer bars, complete with olives, peppers, artisan cheeses and wines.  Try Zinc Cafe in Corona Del Mar for a brief, free wine and cheese sampling at their stylish Cheese Island! A fabulous meet and greet, which could lead for a very scenic beach walk or a short jaunt to the parking lot, whatever that 30 seconds dictates.

 

            3.  There is no reason why you can’t get a little education on your 30 second date.  Check out the finest museum offerings of the OC.  Tackle one genre, era or theme.  How about the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach?  This museum is home to surfing exhibits, ancient boards, retro music and amazing videos of surfing athletes.  And if you decide that the 30 minutes should be longer, take in a surf movie or watch the surfers from the incomparable southern California coast.

             Although, The Fullerton Arboretum is not a museum, it is still a really cool spot.  It is a 26-acre botanical garden with an ecologically arranged collection of plants from around the world.  It is located on the California State University, Fullerton campus.  If you’re really thinking, you could bring a bouquet of wildflowers to this rendezvous!

            The granddaddy of all museums in the OC is The Orange County Natural History Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation, exhibition and interpretation of Orange County.  If this date scores more than 30 minutes, take in a lecture or a workshop, like egg decorating, in which you can create a stylized, unique memento of your date.  In twenty years, I bet you’ll still have that egg!

            4.  A visit to the zoo is guaranteed fun. You can easily agree to meet in front of the monkey cage and take it from there.  Share a banana split, continue through the zoo or go your separate ways.  No matter what, apes are always entertaining.  The Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park is a public zoological garden occupying a unique urban site in the heart of Orange County and is situated on approximately 20 acres.  Or, the Orange County Zoo, located inside beautiful Irvine Park in the City of Orange.  This bad boy is 477 acres.

            5.  And last, but not least, take an afternoon tea with Elvis or a moonwalk with Michael at The Movie land Wax Museum in Buena Park.  There are over 300 characters here, and believe it or not, you will have a blast at this glossy, paraffin affair.

            So there it is people of Orange County!  Your top 5 .30 Minute Date Spots!   Remember,it’s always better to leave them longing for more than searching for an escape route.

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5 Sports Bars to Go See in the O.C.

You’ve braved 20-degree weather and paid six other people to join you–just to get tickets to the NCAA Final four. You’ve permanently tattooed you forehead with the Raiders logo, and dressed your girlfriend in a homemade suit of pom-poms. Dude, you need some serious professional couch time. Or a visit to a serious sports bar–in the good old O.C.

Dave & Busters’ for the BlackBerry Crowd

If you drive a Boxter, drink micro beers and carry a business card, this is your sports bar. An elaborate 20-screen video dome in the Viewpoint Bar keeps you directly in front of the action. No more straining to catch that winning turnover at the five-yard line, or missing that Hail Mary three-pointer from the sideline. Got the half-time blues? Not to worry, there are lots of high tech games to play. Like Carismo, a NASCAR-type simulator that puts you in a real race car chassis in front of a 60″ screen, where you can actually feel the car respond to your every move. You can also cut loose on a dance simulator, play world-class billiards, or a dozen other challenging video and sports games. The beer is bountiful, the bar babes are beautiful and the food is plentiful. D&B’s in O.C. Where the 5 and 405 Freeways meet in the Irvine Spectrum.

ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney an “E” ticket ride

The spoiler. Makes ordinary sports bars feel like Disney’s It’s a Wonderful World ride. Over 36,000-square feet of non-stop sports. An SUV-sized 16-foot screen and more than a dozen “small” 36-inchers get you close enough to lip read every expletive, every contested foul, even a close-up of Jack Nicholson smiling at the cheerleaders. If you’re team’s down by 20 and you think you’ll be out fifty bucks, you can let it all out in any of the many interactive games; heck, you can don a safety line and climb a rock at the huge rock-climbing wall. And if you’re teeth are floating, but you don’t want to miss the action, no problem, the restrooms have TVs.

Centerfield Sports Bar & Grille pub on steroids

It’s an action-packed sports bar. It’s a cozy neighborhood pub. It’s the one and only Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill in Huntington Beach. Watch your favorite sporting event on any of the six big-screen TVs. Or feast on a hearty meal without missing a touchdown or lay-up on one of the many smaller monitors scattered throughout the bar. The mouth-watering menu hits a home run. And if you strike out at the bar, or get bored at halftime, you can always shoot a little stick or challenge your sports buds to a spirited video game or electronic dartboard. Why, you could even get some work done if you bring your laptop, which you can plug into the wireless Internet hotspot. Centerfield Sports Bar & Grille 17296 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach.

The Off Campus Pub that’s on Playboy’s list

This college bar gets an A for athletics. And a B for best location right across the street from Cal-State Fullerton. Named by Playboy magazine as one of the top 10 college bars in the nation, this sports-watchers paradise is like one continuous kegger, highlighted by themed club nights and weekend concerts that draw capacity crowds. The CSUF sports memorabilia and dizzying array of beer ads make Off Campus feel like a party at “Animal House.” You can celebrate a home team win by grabbing your significant other and booging on the sunken dance floor. Or by hopping on stage and singing a couple of bars of You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’. Come by yourself or bring your party buds. And don’t worry, the student-priced beer and appetizers leave you plenty of money for next semester’s textbooks. The Off Campus Pub 2736 East Nutwood Avenue, Fullerton.

National Sports Grill state-of-the-art for the sports state of mind

Voted Best Sports Grill in Southern California for ten straight years (by Orange County Register’s annual readers’ poll), National Sports Grill is the high- tech bar for high-intensity sports fans. Giant-screen TVs and banks of monitors showing a cornucopia of college and pro athletic competition are virtually everywhere. So whether you choose a table or barstool, you won’t miss a play. If you bored with the pre-game predictions, or half-time nonsense, you can play one of the remote NTN trivia games, or challenge your party buds to a game of 8 ball on one of the pro billiards tables. Suggestion: snack while you rack, order their famous cheese fries. And share a pitcher with fellow players’ buy a club membership and get any beer at a discount price for a whole year. One caveat: If you come for a big sporting event, it’s standing room only, so get there early. National Sports Grill 5970 Orangethorpe Ave., Buena Park.

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