1. The Country Club
Part restaurant, part social lounge, this Costa Mesa hot spot has been attracting the who’s who of O.C. since its debut in December. In the evenings, the cool crowd cozies up in sumptuous booths to sip three-hour martinis and share plates and apps like the 42-ounce ribeye tomahawk, Chicken Little sliders and hamachi tacos. And once the sun goes down, the music is cranked up with a live DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, and smooth jazz performances on Tuesdays. Order bottle service to have a dedicated VIP attendant at your beck and call.
2. Hive & Honey
Take your weekend plans to new heights at this 16th-floor rooftop bar and lounge at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum. View the sunset in the 3,500-square-foot space as you sip signature cocktails that pay homage to the buzzy name, such as Honey, I’m Not Home, Pollination and Bee’s Knees. On the food front, it’s all about executive chef Paolo Buffa’s grass-fed burger stacked with white cheddar, jalapeno, avocado spread and honey-cured slab bacon on a potato roll, only 25 of which are offered per night.
When the executive chef flies to France to bottle his own special blend of Champagne, you know the bubbles are going to be spectacular. In fact, that special blend makes Lido House the only hotel in the United States to have its own private bottles, and Topside makes it the only locale in Newport Beach to have a rooftop bar. Caviar service ($69 per person) is a must when sipping from Topside’s expansive Champagne menu, and if cocktails are more your speed, a punch bowl of Not Your Sailor’s Sangria is sure to have you feeling fine.
4. Water Grill
Whether hosting a power lunch or mingling over happy hour, this South Coast Plaza neighbor draws VIPs from afternoon to after-hours. Drop your exotic ride at valet then kick the party into high gear with the best-selling Margarita Verde (a spicy take on the original served over ice with an ancho chili-salted rim) and a king-size iced shellfish platter that serves groups of five to seven. Rub elbows with sports stars (opposing teams are often spotted here when taking on the Ducks or the Angels) and don’t miss the popular Alaskan halibut, as its served five different ways.