We’ve all seen the Facebook pictures –- the coming of age, “I just turned 21” Vegas shots, profile pictures with beer mugs, and legal cocktails adorning the hands of girls and guys in more profound ways than a designer accessory. But before the routine Vegas trip, it helps to develop some familiarity with the local drinking scene.
For 21-year-olds at UC Irvine, there are a myriad of drinking options. From Orange County to Downtown LA and Fullerton to San Diego, bars, lounges and restaurants offer a range of happy hours and vibes. Here are a few to try out whether you are an old hat at the bar scene or are just turning the golden age for barhopping.
Anthill Pub & Grill at UCI
Some people on the UCI campus claim that they never even heard of the place until they turned 21. Others have been getting kicked out and banned from the Pub since they first became of-age ’Eaters.
In between classes, after a long work shift, or to mass celebrate your 21st with a big group of friends, the pub offers a fun, crowded vibe, hipster brews and even tasty treats like cotton candy beer and pear cider. Even though students have chided the Pub for getting rid of the Quarter club, a quarterly challenge where a student must consume a pint a day to eventually earn a cup — it is still the most convenient place for those of age to share a drink.
At our Pub, the food may be more celebrated than the drinks, offering delicious meals like stoner fries (steak, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and tater tots) and FireAnts (spicy boneless chicken with ranch). While the kitchen closes at a reasonable hour of the night, the Pub stays open from 11 a.m. till 12 a.m. and holds happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sara Qahoush, a fourth-year drama and political science double major, likes going to the pub during happy hour, when the price is right.
“I like going to the Pub after a draining rehearsal, just to unwind,” she said. Qahoush, like many other students and faculty at UCI, enjoys the $1 off pints and $3 pitchers deals, because it doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket. With tater tots, great prices and a convenient location, the Pub holds an allure not many can refuse.
The Edison in Downtown LA
Smack dab in the middle of Downtown, the Edison offers a fancier, more suave vibe. If you’re looking for a night out, but don’t want to drive out to Vegas and make a trip out of it, try reserving a table at the Edison. Really, a table is the only way to enjoy this bar. With a Gatsby vibe, and a pricey $25-$50 charge for tables, the Edison has delicious food options, a happy hour, and a full bar! Fourth-year biology major Ishpal Sidhu loves going to the Edison.
“When I’m feeling fancy and just want to pretend to be a flapper from the 20s, I hit up the Edison. It drains my wallet a bit, but it’s a nice night always,” Sidhu said. The artsy ambience comes to life with entertaining dancers and 40 percent-off drinks with names like “The Mistress” and “Black Magic” during happy hour. If you plan on going to the Edison, plan ahead! It gets booked fast and crowded on weekends.
We Olive in Costa Mesa
It’s unconventional and more for the wine and olive oil lovers, but worth a visit. With an olive oil gelato to die for, a fashionable surrounding mall, and a happy hour where wines are $2 off and beers are $1 off, We Olive is certainly a mellow and worthwhile experience.
Speakeasy in Huntington
With more of an emphasis on the ambience than on the food or drinks, the Speakeasy is great for a change of scenery. In comparison to loud sports bars or wild clubs, this place is small and cozy.
Muldoon’s in Newport
If you’re looking to go to an Irish-style pub in Newport, Muldoon’s the place for you. Boasting a $5 menu on Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Muldoon’s Wilde Hours are the perfect stop for a student in Newport.
It’s convenient, affordable, and great for a casual night out. Happy hour takes place on Mondays through Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays through Wednesdays from 10 p.m. till close.
Don’t forget to load up on appetizers such as the unconventional California Roll and the hearty nachos and sliders. And make sure to get a yard of something. After all, it’s not called Yard House for nothing!