Best Watering Holes to Mingle with Friendly Locals
Newport Beach combines the best of both worlds with respect to how the public views California. Newport is high fashion, trendy and famous. Fox TV's "The O.C." put it on the map for many and the city even became the evil lovechild of MTV'S monolithic Laguna Beach in the short lived series "Newport Harbor". But this beach town's other community is a complete juxtaposition to the media's portrayal of Newport Beach. It is also a laid back residence to smiling sunkissed faces remaining, or spawns, from generations of old before property values skyrocketed blocking budgeted newcomers from moving in. Thus the opportunity presents itself to possibly form life long connections with some of these locals (read: a sofa to crash on next time you're in town). Alcohol is usually the best barrier breaker when it comes to this practice so whatever your motivation your may be, head on down to these watering holes for a good time and see if you can make the magic happen. Worst case scenario you'll just have a good time playing "fly on the wall" watching the natives in their natural habitat.
3011 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA
"There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't met yet." is Malarky's motto borrowed from author/poet William Butler Yeats and they stand by the motto as if it was their mission statement.
There seems to be a consistent theme with giving away the top spot on this list to an Irish Pub for the Orange County areas on YAHglobal.Com. Its as if people spy a green sign with a shamrock somewhere in the vicinity and they are magically (yes, like Frosted Lucky Charms) drawn in droves, arms outstretched and hands ready to grip a guinness stout. Regardless if you have a drop of irish blood in your veins you're made to feel like family (drunken uncles included) by staff and patrons alike. Malarky's is no exception to this soon to become rule.
Since 1977, Malarky's has provided a bar stool and elbow room for locals and tourists together, to trade stories and tap pints in toasting unison. Our best tip is this; locals know to get there early in the evening for dinner and set up camp well into the night to avoid the building line up outside. It will get packed so you should follow the lead and do the same.
114 McFadden Place, Newport Beach, CA
Sharkeez, as a brand, has quite the local following. For example, someone will be in Huntington Beach and have their hearts set on heading over to Sharkeez on Main Street only to find the line up exceeding anything close to reasonable. Instead of heading a mere steps back, forth, or across the street to the variety of other bars on Main, they'll abandon their hard fought parking spot and head south up PCH to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach for it's own Baja Sharkeez location. It's worth the 15-20 minute drive because well, its Sharkeez. This location packs in the same cool crowd as the HB establishment but is more comfortable and spacious, which just means you can fit in more of that same cool crowd. The seating set up on the beach side wall is great for cross table introductions and conversation while the compact dance floor ensures plenty of face to face bumping and grinding, intentional or otherwise. The weekly food and drink specials bring the locals in on a consistent basis so no worries about ending up in a passports only zone.
The Beach Ball
2116 West Ocean Front, Newport Beach, CA
Who doesn't want to go into a place called "The Beach Ball"? The name alone manifests visions of walking into the establishment for the first time as the crowd passing around a big inflated rainbow colored globe shouts "new guy/gal!" and proceeds to lob the ball over to you for a bouncy good time over beer and cheers. Well, that didnt happen on our visit to The Beach Ball, but the crowd would definitely have been game if the opportunity had presented itself.
Hours of operation close the place down with only enough time for a quick sweep of the floor (open from 6AM to 2 AM!), so you'll find all walks of Newport Beach life frequenting the establishment on a daily basis, often more than once a day. There is plenty of entertainment (TV, pool, golf...yes, photo booth, etc...) and an ever present fun factor vibe going on. It's pretty much impossible not to shmooze with everyone in a 5 foot radius.
Esquire Magazine actually placed The Beach Ball as one of the top 100 Bars in America and now its skyrocketed to a #3 spot on this YAHglobal.Com list, so this must be the place to be. If enough of you demand it be moved up to the number one spot, leave your comments below. We're pushovers for public pressure.
Blackie's By The Sea
2118 West Ocean Front, Newport Beach, CA
There is a consisitent theme with the bars along the stretch of Newport Beach that the establishments populating this Top list are found on. The smart ass signs in the door and/or windows that pretty much tell you what to expect inside.
At Blackies, you'll see the open for business sign saying "Sorry, We're Open" with small print below reading "depending on customers attitudes", with a similar vice versa sign in place for their "closed" hours. This ol'dive bar matra of "Take no B.S. - Give no B.S." is what makes them so popular with the local contingent. Some may tell you that the customers here are a little rough around the edges, that Blackies has been known to attract a biker crowd on occassion but that does not automatically cancel this bar from being included on a list with "friendly locals" in the title. In fact, you will meet some of the warmest individuals in the area at Blackies that wear their hearts, and plenty of tattoos, on their "sleeves". Make a friend here and chances are you'll have increased your Orange County street cred somewhat, and thats always good for the personal arsenal.
2300 West Ocean Front, Newport Beach, CA
Mutts has been known to move the lettering around on their sign (always read the sign for tongue in cheek commentary) at the end of the summer saying "The nightmare is over, welcome back locals". No need to be offended if you are an out of towner. The fact that you're reading this list means you must want to mingle with those living in the same zip code, thus the headline basically says "come on in".
Locals flock to Mutt Lynch's in hoards for the beer schooners and menu items that knock you out almost as fast as the brew (thats a good thing). Good eats and good drinks equals a good crowd, make yourself one of them.