Sweetest bartenders in town!

Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day around the corner, so lets add a little sexy vibe in our step. What do you get when you put together a kickass local bar with a kitchen that puts out really good food? Well you get the best coupling ever: American Grub and The Swinging Door Saloon in Old Town Tustin. One of our all time favorite bars was a former bikini/dive bar, Swinging Door in the heart of Old Town Tustin. MaryAnne has been coming to this local favorite for years with her husband.

American Grub:

A little background to this love story. Kim Conway was a former bartender at The Swinging Door years ago until she took over and became the current badass owner. (Fun fact: She is also the owner of the Salty Dog Tavern in Anaheim!) When a retail space became available four years ago, she and her boyfriend, Gerard Montes, transformed the space into a hip, cozy burger joint. The vibe is definitely hip casual but in no way pretentious.

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BEST Watermelon Margarita at Cha-cha's Latin Kitchen

The BEST watermelon margarita EVER at Cha-cha’s Latin Kitchen!  Go get one now!  All of their signature cocktails look amazing made with fresh ingredients; but our server enthusiastically recommended the Watermelon Margarita as her absolute favorite drink.  Don’t you guys love servers with opinions and good knowledge of the menu?  I do!  And she did not steer us wrong!  This was hands down the most delicious watermelon margarita ever!  I am usually a straight forward margarita gal, Cadillac or skinny margarita, on rocks.  I hate the syrupy store bought sour mixes that give a margarita that artificial flavor, and the fruity ones are usually the worst offenders made with prepackaged fruit juice or nectar.  But a well made margarita is a thing of beauty!  You can try to avoid bad margaritas by asking just a few questions.  I usually ask if the sour mix is house made, and if the mix is freshly squeezed lime/lemon/orange juices.  If ordering a fruity mix, is it freshly blended real fruit?  

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Looking for the best wine bar in Orange County? Did you know that we love wine?  And wine bars?  If not, please see bio, or Instagram, or Facebook….  We have searched far and wide in our OC for that perfect vino watering hole – and we finally found it!  We were very diligent!  Well friends, welcome to Five Vines Wine Bar: our favorite wine bar in Orange County is located in the quaint Historic District of San Juan Capistrano.  

Best Wine Bar in Orange County - Five Vines

You have arrived!

Note to other wine bars:  dim those damn lights and cozy up the place! This is one of the cutest and most comfy spots to lounge and sip!

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Montage at Laguna Beach

One of my favorite watering holes are hotel lobbies, and the spot that takes lounging to the next level is The Lobby Lounge in the Montage Laguna Beach.  

Montage lobby

Lobby decked out for the holidays

So let’s talk about the stages of my life:  there was a time when standing in a crowded bar or club trying not to spill my precious Bombay martini that is filled to the rim in a very impractical long stemmed glass was a regular and appealing night out.  Nope.  Not doing that anymore.  Fast forward ?? years. Please show me the way to comfy seats with table service.  If it has not occurred to you to hang out in hotel lobbies when you’re not on vacay, well, let’s think about it!  They are open late, you can lounge without getting the stink eye from servers,  and you can always find a comfy seat.  One of my favorite hangouts with my honey, with girlfriends, and even with the whole family are hotel lobbies.  That’s right, they are pretty good places to hang out with kids.  Order them a snack, hot chocolate, and bring a deck of cards or a board game – everyone is happy! View Post