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Local Top List

Top Local in YAH Global

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.


Malarky's Irish Pub

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.


Mutt Lynch's

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. 

Top 5 Photo Opportunities in Newport Beach

Newport Beach seems busier than the other southern orange county coastal cities mostly because the coast highway veers inland a little due to the harbors sprinkled throughout. You see more retail, more concrete, more everything when driving along PCH in Newport. But that simply means that there are more hidden gems, less obvious points of interest which makes discovery all that more exciting. The list below takes out some of the guess work and provides you with a comprehensive accounting of "can't miss" photo opportunites within the area. Check them out but please do explore the other nooks and crannies we left out and let us know what we may have missed. 


Newport to Balboa Pier Promenade


The Newport Beachwalk is the first thing you should do when visiting Newport Beach for the first time, or when returning, or as a morning ritual if you are local. Whether starting near the Balboa or Newport Piers, you will have plenty of photo opportunities along the way. It also serves a great place to play "make believe" where you can stop at the patio ledge of any one of your favorite multi-million dollar beach front homes, lean gently and look off away from the camera so as to make it seem as if a candid shot was taken of you while relaxing outside of your own abode overlooking California paradise. However, please refrain from doing so if the actual owners are sitting there, BBQ grill smoking and Coronas in hand, unless they invite you, which they actually may.


Crystal Cove Cottage Walkways


The beach front cottages and old wodden walkways with sun bleached picket fences at Crystal Cove could serve as the backdrop for any film romance staring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, or Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, or even Richard Gere and Kevin Costner. This place looks the way the coastal Carolinas are often pictured but the sun sets here instead of rises.


You almost feel that you are trespassing on some forbidden beach property but you are not, in fact, everything about this place is welcoming. Words definitely cannot describe the quiet old beauty of this aspect of Crystal Cove, you can try your best but the camera is the only way to tell the story.


We should have placed this spot at the top of the list but it does take some effort to get to (follow the link above to get directions). Crystal Cove is not the subject for a "do it all" in one day photo montage checklist so instead, plan on devoting a whole day to this endeavor.


Balboa Fun Zone Ferris Wheel


"We don't stop playing when we get old, we get old when we stop playing.". You will probably see that quote used frequently on YAHglobal.Com. Growing up sucks, so why do it? Sure you can find a ton of classical and noteworthy points of interest along this beautiful and historic stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, enough to fill a SIM card ten fold. But you should have some serious fun while doing so, and we guarantee that there will me no forced "for the camera" smiles when hopping on a classic mini ferris wheel and capturing the moment forever.


Balboa Pier At Sunset


While not quite the "all powerful", tsunami proof Huntington Beach Pier structure, the Balboa Pier has old California appeal, likened to the days of Gidget and the Beach Boys, even though the actual Surf City HB is 20 min north. The wooden perched walkway into the pacific capped by 50's diner styled Ruby's makes for a great "sunset on the horizon" photo opportunity.


The Wedge


The "Wedge". The name strikes fear into the minds of those that know its power or those that have heard the rumors. This place is no urban legend, it is pure ocean power at its meanest when the swell is on. We're talking about a wave that has been known to reach intense 30 foot heights, NOT breaking far off into the ocean nor even a stones throw away, but right on the shoreline, crashing down upon beach towels, wiping away sandcastles that took hours to build and taking small dogs, correction, a great dane along with its owner out to sea.


To many, this all means FUN. Some of the world's best, and craziest skimboarders, surfers (board and body) congregate along the rock jetty that "wedges" the oceans incoming torpedos creating the wave formation that sends bodies flying along its bluish green wall in an effort to capture the ultimate thrill. We suggest capturing these moments on photo instead. You'll find as many photo and videographers as you will action sports enthusiasts when the conditions are optimum at The Wedge, and there is a good reason for that. You will witness some of the most awe inspiring moments you have seen in this little corner along Newport Beach's coastline.


The only reason this location is listed at the end is because it is dependent upon mother natures conditions (to see it at its best) and requires a far walk down past Balboa Pier where the concrete path becomes unaccessible. Follow this link "The Wedge" for reports on ocean conditions, if its above 5ft or more, its worth checking out.

Hotel Lobby Hang Outs (even if you are NOT staying there)


The best part about hotel resorts is the feeling of being in some exotic place or city, regardless if you live in the city of that very establishment.

You may be a local. You may be a tourist with certain hotels outside of your budget, or perhaps they were already booked, or you are looking for a break from the lobby of the hotel you are currently staying at. No matter the reason, this is a relatively cost free way of entertaining yourself through the magic of people watching and mingling with a crowd where you technically should not be.

The hotels (and lobbies within) are suggested based upon the following: dynamic guests staying at/frequenting the establishment; relaxed security; friendly non-threatening staff; chance of "hooking up"; networking opportunities; and if your feeling really daring, free amenities such as access to swimming pools and other common areas.

In all seriousness, most hotel resorts are aware of this practice and are happy to overlook it as long as you are respectful of the guests and premises and spend at least a little cash at one of the on-site offerings (cafes, restaurants, gift shop, vending machines, etc...).  

P.S. We never had this conversation.


Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

1107 Jamboree Rd, Newport Beach, CA


The Hyatt Regency frequently finds itself on this list of ours for most cities. They either love us or hate us. The shear beauty of a Hyatt Regency instantly makes the lobby a first place pick on many occassions due to the magnificiant decor and spacious layout. The friendly, professional staff never make you feel out of place and the other guests are classy but on the fun side of that classy spectrum (yeah, that's right) in comparison to some of the more pretentious individuals found at the more pretenious and exclusive establishments, who only seek privacy from the outside world (YOU and the rest of us).


The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is family friendly with many activities available for all ages which tells you that not only is this hotel tolerant but also accommodating. You never get the feeling that you don't belong.


There is also the Sandbar Lounge which is a bar/nightclub located within the walls of the Hyatt Regency, which means "spillage" of tipsy patrons, increasing the mingle factor. The Lobby Lounge is yet another inviting zone that welcomes the public for relaxation over a beverage regardless if you have a room FOB card in your wallet or not. 


Newport Beachwalk Hotel

2306 W.Ocean Front, Newport Beach


In stark contrast to the other items on the list, the Newport Beachwalk Hotel finds itself at #2 for the simple fact of its location. By definition (our definition), the hotel lobby extends into its door front as part of the interior (although exterior) experience. Confused? Let us explain. This hotel's doors open up right onto the Newport Beach boardwalk. If you are not careful, you may have your toes run over by a beach cruiser bicycle or "suffer" minor whiplash from a beach ball being flung towards your dome. Actually, the whiplash is more likely to come from the consisitent head turing from the boardshort or bikini clad population passing by with the frequency of a New York City cab.


The lobby (interior) itself isnt exactly spacious, thus not very conspicuous if you want to go unoticed as a people watcher. If you are in fact a guest, the decor similar to that of a study found in a more humble mansion owned by monied aristocracy, makes for an amazing place to unwind in the evening with a book, magazine or iPad while you wait for whomever you made friends with that very day flip flop steps away on this hotels own personal beach front. 


Marriott Hotel & Spa

900 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA


Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa is located across the street from the famed shopper's paradise, Fashion Island, so you are guaranteed to see traffic flow of shopping bag clad shoppaholics carousing about the spacious lobby and surrounding areas (water fountain seating, etc...). Happy shoppers equals happy people so its a great place to find yourself in the evening as people unload their bounty and prepare to head out after sunset.


With many other leisurely amenities nearby there are plenty of opportunites to pop in and out between activities during your stay (as a guest or otherwise). Given that the area is a business district as well, many conventions are held at or near the Newport Beach Marriott lending to an either greater eclectic compilation of individuals looking to network or simply unwind with new company. 

Best Places For Women To Drag Their Men For Punishment


Sorry to say, but this list is not about S&M. We're pretty much rated PG here at YAHglobal.Com, most of the time. Instead, this itemized list represents the places that women can drag their boyfriends, boys who are friends, or husbands when they have misbehaved. Now we don't intend to be sexist towards the guys in this here list. We do acknowledge the fact that there are those XY chromosones out there that can shop til they drop with the best of them. Plus, there is a growing trend that finds the Mani-Pedi no longer belonging to the fairer sex. However, for the most part the average male, the "man's man" or even the horribly monickered "Joe 6-Pack" (created by hopefully soon forgotten Vice Presidential Ex-Candidate) cringes at the thought of spending more than 3 hours at any retail venue that does not involve items that require multiple 3 pronged powerbar plug ins. Nor do they put their feet up for anything other than placing them on a sofa or makeshift ledge as chair of some sort.

This list is for the women that have to suffer through that lack of "support" day in and day out. So if he's been a bad boy, or its your birthday, or just a Tuesday and you've got torture on the mind, drag him along to these fine establishments. You never know, he might like it...especially the Mani-Pedi.


Fashion Island

401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach


Fashion Island is a Shopaholic's retail Mecca. The stores are definitely skewed more towards the better half of our species with only a few places for the average guy to run into for solace (Apple Store, Borders, etc... well, not much of an "etc..." actually). With multi leveled department stores Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and a bevy of boutique shops scattered about the maze that is Fashion Island, shoppers should plan for a 6 hr stay in order to do the trip properly.


Fella's, you must have done a very bad thing to get yourself into this situation.


South Coast Plaza

3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA


While not located directly in Newport Beach (which is the only reason its not number 1 on this list), South Coast Plaza represents all that is high end fashion in the Orange County area and is probably responsible for many false missing persons reports regarding shoppers that wandered in, never to be seen again that day, only to be found the following sunrise in the Bloomingdale's dressing room passed out from exhaustion.


Men have been spotted on mall benches with the heads hanging to their laps with a single tear pouring down their cheeks as they check their watches for the umpteenth time wondering if they have been completely forgotten about. Guys, yes you have.


Pure Blu Spa - Marriott Newport Beach

900 Newport Center Drive


We're kind of cheating on the list by adding Pure Blu Spa. It ties into number one as Pure Blu is located within the Marriot Hotel and Spa found right across the street from first place finisher, Fashion Island.


Your itinerary is this; Book a full night at the Marriott Hotel & Spa along with one of their many spa packages available to suit the needs of you and your guy (his "needs" to be determined by YOU). Spend the afternoon "in treatment" then whisk him away on a 2 minute walk to, you guessed it, Fashion Island, where you can spend the remainder of the day/evening/night in retail heaven. He should be fairly sedated from the Spa experience, thus lowering his resistance and subsequent ability to talk you out of any "unreasonable" purchase, if there is such a thing as an "unreasonable" purchase.