Remember a time when you could get arrested for drinking in public? Now you can enjoy some of the county’s best cocktails outside in plain view—and the government is practically mandating it!
Hello Kitty sanctions it, too. Fans can enjoy drinks alfresco from Hello Kitty Grand Cafe’s Bow Room at Irvine Spectrum Center on Friday and Saturday evenings. Consider the elegant Matcha Sour, with rum, lime, coconut matcha syrup, and bow-imprinted aquafaba, or Let’s Taco ’Bout Kitty, a Kitty cup filled with tequila, mezcal, blood orange agave, lime, and … taco bitters! 860 SPECTRUM CENTER DRIVE, IRVINE, 949-536-5357, sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe-grand
Vacation plans on hold? Consider a trip to Vacation Bar, which offers cocktails on weekends inspired by international cities at tables that, thanks to special dispensation from the city, spill out onto the street. Owner George Bernal made the cool furniture. Consider the Morocco (mint tea vodka, chartreuse, simple syrup, lemon, and cucumber) or London (gin, vermouth, blackberry, lemon, and sparkling rosé). 204 W. 4TH ST., SANTA ANA, 657-266-0855, vacationdtsa.com
Several restaurants at The District have unveiled patios, but none more fetching than the one at Stowaway Tiki bar: Each table in the covered corridor is like a little thatched-roof tiki hut. Warp back to mid-century with Poly-fusion fare such as soft-shell crab sandwiches and tropi-cocktails including a sensational Painkiller and less traditional Lava Tube, aflame with Aga Vie tequila-cognac, Papa’s Pilar blonde rum, passion fruit, and more. UNION MARKET, 2493 PARK AVE., TUSTIN, 657-208-2088, stowawaytiki.com
Tiki nights were already on fire Thursdays at The Recess Room when the restaurant launched a speakeasy night on Mondays—whereupon the pandemic demolished both. Now, the innovative spot takes the events outdoors. Don’t let the modest tent fool you: On Mondays, barman Dany Maldonado goes from cut-above to cutting-edge in terms of customization, coursed cocktails, and fascinating presentations. Reservations and advance requests: firstname.lastname@example.org. 18380 BROOKHURST ST., FOUNTAIN VALLEY, 714-377-0398, therecessroom.com