Let’s Take a Time Machine Back
o start off; we should have a clear understanding of what a speakeasy is. While a dimly lit lounge does give you a nostalgic and hazy longing for the past, it does not necessarily mean that it is a speakeasy. A hard-to-find hidden gem, is also not what qualifies as one either. Speakeasies were derived from prohibition when the 18th amendment banned the sale, manufacture and distribution of liquor. The National Prohibition Act outlawed the sale of “intoxicating beverages” (defined as any drink containing 0.5 percent or more of alcohol), which drove bars and lounges underground. Speakeasies are merely underground secret taverns, ones that you cannot find unless you know the passageways or passwords to get in, meant to keep officials away.
Hidden Gems in OC
This style of enjoying a night out on the town became a sort of popular trend that stuck around long after prohibition came to its end. During that period, it became custom to host cocktail parties at home which started the rise of these intimate events popularizing finger foods. Hosts paraded out culinary delights such as lobster canapés and caviar rolls. Due to the aesthetic of the roaring 20s, bar owners have continued this trend to take people on a walk to the past. Here is a list of the bars and lounges in Orange County that meet the defined criteria to guarantee you a night of fun and secret delights.
THE BLIND RABBIT
440 S Anaheim Blvd. Anaheim, CA 92805 | www.theblindrabbit.com
How to find: This hidden gem is inside the Anaheim Packing House on the main floor. You will see a wall of Sake Barrels that look to be placed for decoration. There should be someone awaiting you upon your reservation time to check your id and let you in through the hidden door next to the barrels.
After entering through the hidden door, you will step into a dim and intimate room set up to take you back to the roaring 20s. The bartenders here are meticulous crafters of cocktails that pair exquisitely with the seasonally selected dinner menu. We’ll leave the rest up to you to discover. Call and reserve a spot to experience; we don’t want to spoil too much. orange county speakeasies
PIE SOCIETY BAR
353 E 17th St. Costa Mesa, CA 92627 | www.piesocietybar.com
How to find: This quirky bar is inside Pitfire Pizza just past the restrooms and additional seating area behind the kitchen. You can also enter the speakeasy by way of the back parking lot. orange county speakeasies
Like Pitfire Pizza, you can experience a dining experience with a lot of the same menu items, in a finger-food-size style. It’s a fun way to dine and drink without the sit-down experience. Dim lights and loud music make you feel like you’ve entered doors to a new era. orange county speakeasies
18000 Von Karman Ave. Irvine, CA 92612 | www.ynk-irvine.com
How to find: Located inside the Irvine Marriott’s hotel lobby. Once you enter, turn to the right as if going to the main hotel bar. You’ll see double doors that lead to a smaller intimate room. You have arrived!
What we love about this place, is how intimate YNK is set up. It’s perfect for a romantic date, but note that it’s not really suitable for large parties because of its cozy size, so if you’re going with friends, only bring the besties. There is a worn-in leather-bound notebook filled with notes and doodles of the cocktail menu that give you a real authentic and personal experience of the travels the cocktail creator experienced to deliver nothing but the best! At YNK you get to take a journey where classic cocktails meet travel and innovation. The music is relaxed and the walls are taken over by a screen of travel clips that make you feel as if you’ve emerged from across the seas to a whole new time and place. Take a moment, because you’re basically in vacation mode at this point, to breath in the aromatics of each herb and spritz of citrus being mixed into your uniquely crafted cocktail.
1313 S Harbor Blvd. Anaheim, CA 92802
How to find: It is located in the New Orleans Square above the Cafe Orleans and The French Market in the Disneyland park. The beauty of having Disneyland so close to us Orange County locals is that we could efficiently plan a trip and get to know the secret and best spots in the park. One big secret is their exclusive, members-only speakeasy Club 33. A few members have made fan accounts on social media that reveal the inside look and menu items. Outside of those sneak peeks and where it is located, there is not much we could know or tell you unless you become a member yourself. If you really want to be a part of the elite bar world, you should try and become a member!
THE GUILD CLUB
3321 Hyland Ave. Costa Mesa, CA | www.theguildclub.com
How to find: It is located behind Arc restaurant at SOCO, The OC Mix
Inspired by Disneyland’s Club 33 and the 19th-century gentleman’s clubs, Owners Noah and Marín Howarth Von Blöm, started this reservation-only experience to give foodies personalization at the highest level. Menus and cocktails are tailored to suit each individual member’s needs and wants. No expense is spared to create their guest’s vision of the world. Although membership is the preferred way to dine, you can, however, make a reservation as a non-member as long as you do it a month in advance. You will fall in love with the decor of leather top card tables, wingback chairs, and the bartender serves as a host as well to give it a butler feel. Check out the website for membership inquiries.