6 of the Best Happy Hours in O.C.

Puesto

For many of us 9-to-5ers, happy hour is a much-needed respite after a day of work. What qualifies as a worthy happy hour? A good variety of dishes with solid deals on food and drinks. It also can double as the perfect wallet-friendly early dinner. Here are six of our favorites.

1Puesto
At this hip Mexican spot, you’ll find a menu of 11 specialty tacos to pair with a $6 Puesto Perfect margarita made with blue agave reposado tequila, lime, and agave nectar. The happy hour tacos start at $3.50, and we like the filet mignon—well-seasoned beef kissed with a bit of char and wrapped in a thin casing of crispy cheese, topped with avocado and spicy pistachio serrano salsa, and tucked into house-made blue corn tortillas. 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 8577 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, 949-608-9990, eatpuesto.com

2 Aveo Table + Bar
Happy hour at a luxury coastal resort? Yes, please. At Monarch Beach Resort’s elegant Aveo, you can enjoy tropical libations such as the Caribbean Riviera, with Cruzan rum, Chartreuse pineapple, and coconut foam; and the Laguna Verde, a refreshing riff on a cucumber margarita ($7). There also are wines by the glass ($7) and draft beers ($5). Choose from a selection of Mediterranean-inspired bites such as snapper ceviche, grilled octopus, croquetas de jamón ($9), and West Coast oysters on the half shell ($2 each). 4 to 6 p.m. daily. 1 Monarch Resort, Dana Point, 949-234-3200, monarchbeachresort.com

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3 Pizzeria Ortica
This splendid standby’s revamped and extended happy hour makes it more appealing than ever. Choose from four pizzas for $9 a pop—they’re normally $15 to $20. There’s a lovely margherita, but go outside of the pizza box and try the porchetta pie: mascarpone, caciocavallo, potato, porchetta, and fried egg come together in pure decadence, with a perfectly blistered crust. Throw in some solid Italian wines by the glass or your pick of three classic cocktails for $8 each and you’re all set. Pizza Ortica happy hour is 7 p.m. to close, Sunday through Thursday. 650 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, 714-445-4900, ortica.com

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar
Chef Ross Pangilinan’s culinary star continues to rise as this celebrated kitchen (our 2017 Restaurant of the Year) takes over the former Little Sparrow space in downtown Santa Ana. The happy hour menu checks all the boxes for an all-around stellar lineup of edible deals and some of the prettiest bargain bites we’ve seen. Enjoy $2 off bar snacks, $2 off wines by the glass, plus the $5 beer of the day and $8 signature craft cocktails. You can’t go wrong with the warm and crisp chorizo and potato croquettes, cheese steak fries, or tuna poke nachos. 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the bar. 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714-836-5158, mixmixkitchenbar.com

Bluegold
This Surf City hot spot comes with ocean views and artful plating. Dig into the perfectly spiced, yogurt-braised lamb meatball ($8), the octopus tonnato with a slow-poached egg and pickled veggies ($10), or the $1 oysters of the day. Signature house cocktails and wines by the glass are $7; beers are $5. If you’re a fan of Old Fashioneds, order the Vincent Vega—with bourbon, China China liqueur, orgeat, and bitters. Or opt for The Sandlot: cucumber vodka, mint, Thai basil, lime, and herbaceous genepy liqueur. 3 to 6 p.m. Bluegold happy hour is Monday through Thursday; 3 to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. 21016 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, 714-374-0038, dinebluegold.com

6 Macallans Public House
This petit pub in downtown Brea features a straightforward happy hour: $3 off all appetizers, draft beer, and cocktails.Get wings lacquered in a tantalizing honey and tangerine ghost pepper glaze, or the fish and chip bites that manage to be light and perfectly crispy with house-made tartar sauce ($7). Want something more substantial? Try taking on the East L.A. nachos that come blanketed with carne asada short rib ($12). Wash the food down with some Irish or craft beers on draft for just $4 to $6. Macallan’s happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. daily. 330 W. Birch St., Brea, 714-529-1224, macallanspubbrea.com

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