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A band with a lead guitarist and singer at a daytime dive bar.
A band at Mother’s Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

Orange County’s Saltiest Beach Dive Bars, Mapped

Where dollars hang from the ceiling and sometimes the surfers can get a little bit rowdy

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A band at Mother’s Tavern.
| Jordan Morosco

Orange County has a stretch of coastal dive bars, walking distance from the beach, that are run by local families who cherish and preserve the beach dive’s history and traditions. Dive bars are often defined by omnipresent neon Budweiser paraphernalia, the musky smell of stale beer, and a general disregard for what’s on trend, but there’s also the mutually agreed upon discretion and unwavering sense of community. And while the Orange County beach stretch may seem simply pretty on the surface, this coastal bar scene is deeply embedded in prohibition history, complete with secret trap doors, rum-runners, and concealed back rooms. It’s the barkeep’s job to protect the vibe, and they do so gallantly, ensuring that OC locals always have a barstool to haunt and a cold beer to enjoy.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Mother's Tavern

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What was once a popular speakeasy for railway workers back in the 1920s is now a favorite among North County locals. The multi-room space has a comfortable, homey feel, owned and run by the Lawrence family for the past 15 years, with loyal bartenders who provide unwavering hospitality. Mother’s is relished for their “Loaded Tecate,” live music nights, dollar bill-covered walls, and a few random undergarments thrown up into the rafters.

A bartender at daytime leans over a wooden bar at a dive bar to take a drink order.
Mother’s Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

Cassidy's Bar & Grill

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Cassidy’s is a traditional dive bar in that staff members are adorned in the same logos as the walls, but unusual in that the barkeep opens its classic canned mimosas with a forgotten Platinum Amex someone never returned for.

A person in an orange hat pulls a beer out of a cooler at a dive bar.
The mellow bar at Cassidy’s
Jordan Morosco

Blackie's By the Sea

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A day drinker’s dream known for swimsuit-clad patrons, highly stimulating gallery wall, and a giant beer tap thermometer — not to mention a plethora of horse and carriage dioramas secured to the walls and ceiling. This bar is a dive bar anomaly in that it’s brightly lit, even after nightfall. However the beer is ice cold, and the bartenders are genial — so much so that even seltzers are served with care and a straw.

A crowded ceiling at a dive bar with lights and surfboards.
Blackie’s by the Sea.
Jordan Morosco

Beach Ball

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Beach Ball is a double-decker bar, with pool tables on the lower level and a wrap-around bar on top. Beach Ball is an intimate space with a warm, worn aesthetic that beckons beachgoers with a cool cave of respite.

A neon-lit bar with tiles and TVs and pool tables.
Inside Beach Ball.
Jordan Morosco

The Blue Beet

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Blue Beet’s menu, a worn piece of paper taped to the wall, retains a loyal clientele who come in solely for the beef stroganoff and filet. This three-storied bar is subdued on the weekdays, offering bargoers a quiet corner to talk or an open-air rooftop to watch sports. But on the weekends, Blue Beet is packed and lit up by local musicians.

A round black booth inside a brick bar at daytime.
The Blue Beet.
Jordan Morosco

Class of 47

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Class of 47 provides reprieve for those in need of a good drink and good company at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s a favorite watering hole for executives, fishermen, and surfers alike to come together and watch sports, although John Wayne is the only regular former patron honored with a shrine.

A dive bar with American flag surrounded by signed dollar bills.
Dollar bills on the ceiling.
Jordan Morosco

The Saloon

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The Saloon is known for its Popo Shot, an off-the-menu libation served without label or decipherable ingredients, which can only be ordered by those who know its name. The Saloon is patronized by locals and visitors alike, providing an ideal spot for any and all to intermingle.

A bench seat and wooden touches at a daytime dive bar with charm.
A corner at the Saloon.
Jordan Morosco

The Sandpiper Lounge

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Nicknamed by adoring locals as The Dirty Bird, the Sandpiper offers an array of activities including darts, pool, foosball, live music, and a comfortable, musky atmosphere.

A retro dive bar with lots of clutter, empty of customers.
The Sandpiper.
Jordan Morosco

Turk's Restaurant

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Turk’s is an oceanfront dive that encourages imbibers to eat, drink, and be merry at all hours of the day. Originally opened by Turk himself in 1984, the bar is now owned and operated by his daughter, who dedicates this favorite spot as an homage to her beloved father. This is one of the few dives where indulging in the quality food is highly encouraged.

A daytime dive bar with customers already sitting at stools ready to drink.
Regulars at Turk’s.
Jordan Morosco

Mulligans

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Simply a great neighborhood bar with talented bartenders and a plethora of pool tables. As a bonus, Mulligans recently revamped its menu and now offers a top-tier burger. As an additional bonus, said burger is available late into the night, providing imbibers with the ideal spot to fuel up before turning in. 

A daytime dive bar with a fridge filled with cheap beer.
Beers at the ready.
Jordan Morosco

Goody's Tavern

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Previously a bus station, the inside of the space is emblazoned with technicolor signage and red felt pool tables. Its sordid prohibition history is filled with illegal backroom gambling and imbibing, and remained provocative even after drinking was legalized in 1891. Nowadays, Goody’s has mellowed substantially and is revered by locals as an extra special neighborhood bar where everyone is family.

A daytime dive bar with TV, American flag, and red pool table.
Pool tables at the ready.
Jordan Morosco

Red Fox Lounge

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The Red Fox is a dark den, with a monochromatic, smoky atmosphere, punctuated by red twinkle lights and red leather booths. It’s also a smoker’s dream, beckoning those who partake in cigarettes and cigars with a cozy back patio, and big screen televisions.

A dark dive bar with red touches and string lights.
Red Fox Lounge.
Jordan Morosco

Outrigger Tavern

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Outrigger Tavern is outfitted with all that’s needed for a good time including old school video games, retro cigarette dispenser, green felt pool tables, and a colorful back patio. Plus, on Sundays, bottomless mimosas and sandwiches set the stage for a full day of drinking.

A round table and colorful mural of a beach scene at a dive bar.
Decor at Outrigger Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

Big Helyn's Saloon

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As the southernmost bar in Orange County, Big Helyn’s boasts the cheapest drinks in town and the best-looking bartenders, who you’ll find clad in lingerie on the weekends. Previously a biker bar, Big Helyn’s may feel intimidating, but patrons of all types are greeted kindly upon entrance.

A wide shot of a picnic table near the beach with blue umbrellas.
Patio seating at Big Helyn’s.
Jordan Morosco

Mother's Tavern

A bartender at daytime leans over a wooden bar at a dive bar to take a drink order.
Mother’s Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

What was once a popular speakeasy for railway workers back in the 1920s is now a favorite among North County locals. The multi-room space has a comfortable, homey feel, owned and run by the Lawrence family for the past 15 years, with loyal bartenders who provide unwavering hospitality. Mother’s is relished for their “Loaded Tecate,” live music nights, dollar bill-covered walls, and a few random undergarments thrown up into the rafters.

A bartender at daytime leans over a wooden bar at a dive bar to take a drink order.
Mother’s Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

Cassidy's Bar & Grill

A person in an orange hat pulls a beer out of a cooler at a dive bar.
The mellow bar at Cassidy’s
Jordan Morosco

Cassidy’s is a traditional dive bar in that staff members are adorned in the same logos as the walls, but unusual in that the barkeep opens its classic canned mimosas with a forgotten Platinum Amex someone never returned for.

A person in an orange hat pulls a beer out of a cooler at a dive bar.
The mellow bar at Cassidy’s
Jordan Morosco

Blackie's By the Sea

A crowded ceiling at a dive bar with lights and surfboards.
Blackie’s by the Sea.
Jordan Morosco

A day drinker’s dream known for swimsuit-clad patrons, highly stimulating gallery wall, and a giant beer tap thermometer — not to mention a plethora of horse and carriage dioramas secured to the walls and ceiling. This bar is a dive bar anomaly in that it’s brightly lit, even after nightfall. However the beer is ice cold, and the bartenders are genial — so much so that even seltzers are served with care and a straw.

A crowded ceiling at a dive bar with lights and surfboards.
Blackie’s by the Sea.
Jordan Morosco

Beach Ball

A neon-lit bar with tiles and TVs and pool tables.
Inside Beach Ball.
Jordan Morosco

Beach Ball is a double-decker bar, with pool tables on the lower level and a wrap-around bar on top. Beach Ball is an intimate space with a warm, worn aesthetic that beckons beachgoers with a cool cave of respite.

A neon-lit bar with tiles and TVs and pool tables.
Inside Beach Ball.
Jordan Morosco

The Blue Beet

A round black booth inside a brick bar at daytime.
The Blue Beet.
Jordan Morosco

Blue Beet’s menu, a worn piece of paper taped to the wall, retains a loyal clientele who come in solely for the beef stroganoff and filet. This three-storied bar is subdued on the weekdays, offering bargoers a quiet corner to talk or an open-air rooftop to watch sports. But on the weekends, Blue Beet is packed and lit up by local musicians.

A round black booth inside a brick bar at daytime.
The Blue Beet.
Jordan Morosco

Class of 47

A dive bar with American flag surrounded by signed dollar bills.
Dollar bills on the ceiling.
Jordan Morosco

Class of 47 provides reprieve for those in need of a good drink and good company at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s a favorite watering hole for executives, fishermen, and surfers alike to come together and watch sports, although John Wayne is the only regular former patron honored with a shrine.

A dive bar with American flag surrounded by signed dollar bills.
Dollar bills on the ceiling.
Jordan Morosco

The Saloon

A bench seat and wooden touches at a daytime dive bar with charm.
A corner at the Saloon.
Jordan Morosco

The Saloon is known for its Popo Shot, an off-the-menu libation served without label or decipherable ingredients, which can only be ordered by those who know its name. The Saloon is patronized by locals and visitors alike, providing an ideal spot for any and all to intermingle.

A bench seat and wooden touches at a daytime dive bar with charm.
A corner at the Saloon.
Jordan Morosco

The Sandpiper Lounge

A retro dive bar with lots of clutter, empty of customers.
The Sandpiper.
Jordan Morosco

Nicknamed by adoring locals as The Dirty Bird, the Sandpiper offers an array of activities including darts, pool, foosball, live music, and a comfortable, musky atmosphere.

A retro dive bar with lots of clutter, empty of customers.
The Sandpiper.
Jordan Morosco

Turk's Restaurant

A daytime dive bar with customers already sitting at stools ready to drink.
Regulars at Turk’s.
Jordan Morosco

Turk’s is an oceanfront dive that encourages imbibers to eat, drink, and be merry at all hours of the day. Originally opened by Turk himself in 1984, the bar is now owned and operated by his daughter, who dedicates this favorite spot as an homage to her beloved father. This is one of the few dives where indulging in the quality food is highly encouraged.

A daytime dive bar with customers already sitting at stools ready to drink.
Regulars at Turk’s.
Jordan Morosco

Mulligans

A daytime dive bar with a fridge filled with cheap beer.
Beers at the ready.
Jordan Morosco

Simply a great neighborhood bar with talented bartenders and a plethora of pool tables. As a bonus, Mulligans recently revamped its menu and now offers a top-tier burger. As an additional bonus, said burger is available late into the night, providing imbibers with the ideal spot to fuel up before turning in. 

A daytime dive bar with a fridge filled with cheap beer.
Beers at the ready.
Jordan Morosco

Goody's Tavern

A daytime dive bar with TV, American flag, and red pool table.
Pool tables at the ready.
Jordan Morosco

Previously a bus station, the inside of the space is emblazoned with technicolor signage and red felt pool tables. Its sordid prohibition history is filled with illegal backroom gambling and imbibing, and remained provocative even after drinking was legalized in 1891. Nowadays, Goody’s has mellowed substantially and is revered by locals as an extra special neighborhood bar where everyone is family.

A daytime dive bar with TV, American flag, and red pool table.
Pool tables at the ready.
Jordan Morosco

Red Fox Lounge

A dark dive bar with red touches and string lights.
Red Fox Lounge.
Jordan Morosco

The Red Fox is a dark den, with a monochromatic, smoky atmosphere, punctuated by red twinkle lights and red leather booths. It’s also a smoker’s dream, beckoning those who partake in cigarettes and cigars with a cozy back patio, and big screen televisions.

A dark dive bar with red touches and string lights.
Red Fox Lounge.
Jordan Morosco

Outrigger Tavern

A round table and colorful mural of a beach scene at a dive bar.
Decor at Outrigger Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

Outrigger Tavern is outfitted with all that’s needed for a good time including old school video games, retro cigarette dispenser, green felt pool tables, and a colorful back patio. Plus, on Sundays, bottomless mimosas and sandwiches set the stage for a full day of drinking.

A round table and colorful mural of a beach scene at a dive bar.
Decor at Outrigger Tavern.
Jordan Morosco

Big Helyn's Saloon

A wide shot of a picnic table near the beach with blue umbrellas.
Patio seating at Big Helyn’s.
Jordan Morosco

As the southernmost bar in Orange County, Big Helyn’s boasts the cheapest drinks in town and the best-looking bartenders, who you’ll find clad in lingerie on the weekends. Previously a biker bar, Big Helyn’s may feel intimidating, but patrons of all types are greeted kindly upon entrance.

A wide shot of a picnic table near the beach with blue umbrellas.
Patio seating at Big Helyn’s.
Jordan Morosco

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