The Best Cocktail Bars in Santa Ana

Are you on the lookout for the most poppin’ Cocktail Bars in Santa Ana?

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On this page, you’ll find the official shortlist of the best Cocktail Bars in Santa Ana. (More in-depth further below)

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We crunched the statistics to uncover the best cocktail bars in Santa Ana, utilizing Yelp data as well as our own secret sauce to create a ranked list of places to fulfill your fantasies. According to statistics on local business transactions from Womply, a software vendor that helps small companies manage online reviews, shoppers in the Santa Ana region spend more at pubs and lounges in the winter than any other season of the year. In the winter of last year, the average amount spent per client transaction at Santa Ana-area pubs and lounges increased to $36 for the metro region, 3% more than the average for the rest of the year.


Recess is your local pub in the 4th Street Market, and the bartenders are as informed as they are enthusiastic about their profession. They’ve matured from the Playground (formerly Detention) cocktail program and are ready to amaze you with fantastic cocktails, artisan beers on tap, and even a wine match for your meal from one of the 4th Street Market eateries. Of course, you’re invited to join them at the bar and enjoy your favorite beverage with some of our bar food. In the 4th Street Market, Recess is Detention (previously Playground), DTSA’s artisan cocktail and beer bar. Enjoy house-made cocktails, artisanal sodas and beers, and wines the Detention team chooses. Sit at the bar or stroll out onto the award-winning patio to savor libations made by 2014’s Bartender of the Year, Jarred Dooley, while sampling varietal nibbles and live entertainment. 

Recess is essentially a full bar. The ambiance is a stainless steel long bar with TVs. The people were pleasant, and there was food nearby. Jennifer was quite pleasant. She had recently returned from Vietnam, where my buddy resides. They exchanged phone numbers and hugs. The globe has gotten so international that it is simple to keep in touch with people worldwide. I would have no problem returning to Recess and having a beer and snack. I’ll make sure I don’t go to Mar for the shitty poke. My friends and I were having dinner in Downtown Santa Ana and having a good time, so we wanted to get in a few more drinks. We ended up at Recess. They are a well-stocked bar area, and Chance, our lovely Bartender, was knowledgeable and friendly. 

We had a few rounds of shots!! Some Siete Leguas Blanco ($10/each), some Fernet ($8/each), and then depending on our individual preferences, beer or cocktails. I am definitely in the cocktail category. I asked Chance to make me something tasty with lychee!! Recess uses my favorite fancy Giffard brand of lychee liqueur. The drink was perfectly balanced and a great way to end the night! Chance was excellent, and we all had a great time! I would go to this bar for more drinks the next time I am in DTSA. They have minimal decor and a designated area in the 4th street market. I asked the Bartender for her advice. Therefore, she was very friendly and helpful. So, this is one of the best bars in Santa Ana.


Vacation is an industrial-style bar with tropical decor for craft cocktails with global flavors & unique bites. So, they have custom-crafted cocktails inspired by world travels from Tahiti to Tokyo. Vacation, Santa Ana is a bar and restaurant in the heart of historic downtown Santa Ana, California. Peeling back over 100 years of construction, they uncovered the original, neoclassical bones of the space, which inspired the owners (Santa Ana locals) to have every piece of furniture custom-designed and handmade right up the street. They drew inspiration from their travels worldwide, bringing tastes from New York City, Spain, Thailand, and South America (to mention a few) to create their unique, creative meals. 

Their beverages and meals are excellent. Tiki, kitsch, hibiscus, and even palm trees show up when one thinks about Vacation. Instead, Vacation is an escape from all of that. It’s a respite from the bar norm. The Santa Ana cocktail’s garnish is like a bird of paradise floral arrangement. There are no “martinis” presented 20 ways, no Mai Tais with rum that smells like sunscreen, and no attitude. This is Vacation, where you can treat your tongue like an unstamped passport for a few dollars in the streetside meter. The drink menu is similar to Disneyland’s It’s a Small World, where your taste senses meet with international ideas via 12 cocktails and incredibly enjoyable bar foods. Like the trip, you may find comfort in the known while being captivated by the unfamiliar. 

Each drink is inspired by a different travel-worthy city worldwide; all that’s needed is an animatronic hippo ballerina. Starting with the familiar, I order a Santa Ana-California cocktail and a quesadilla as Emily Delice, this Love Boat’s Isaac, effortlessly squirts carrot juice into a jigger, and I try to interpret her arm tattoo like a Hunter S. Thompson novel. She adds some local Blinking Owl Aquavit, Aperol, pineapple, and cardamom, then tops it off with a garnish, most likely inspired by Nicki Minaj’s current haircut. The unifying thread throughout these cocktails is that they are all shaken, not stirred. The garnish varies from drink to drink, such as Marrakesh-Morocco, whose never-ending Persian cucumber appears longer than the gum in a Bubble Tape. There are many great bars in Santa Ana, but Vacation is a must-see not only if you’re downtown but anywhere in the world. So, this is one of the best unique bars Santa Ana has to offer.

Detention DTSA

Detention DTSA

Detention DTSA was also known as Playground before. It is Creative chef Jason Quinn’s modern gastropub that offers New American fare & top-shelf drinks. It is an American Restaurant & Lounge. Chef John Parker leads the culinary team with a seasonal, fresh menu. You may also enjoy a beverage called omakase, curated by one of their talented bartenders. The crowded culinary hotspot boasts an extensive selection of craft beers and a few Playground-original cocktails as interesting as the dinner specials, including the A Little Bit Naughty mixed drink with mezcal, cranberry, and spicy serrano pepper. Detention is a restaurant in Santa Ana’s downtown that debuted in January 2022 as the Playground family’s next venture.

Detention pledges to be a high-quality, service-oriented restaurant and bar that challenges the current quo. Detention aims to generate nostalgic moments via the unifying force of cuisine, drink, service, and environment. When you get in trouble in the Playground, you are detained. Their judgments at Detention are considered but not always risk-free. Chef John Parker leads the youthful and talented culinary crew, while Jarred Dooley leads the charge in offering guest service. Our friends are welcome to join us for drinks or a Beverage Omakase Cocktail experience in their freshly remodeled area. We’ll be open late, so stop by and say hello. To best accommodate all of their guests, they provide a 2-hour reservation time. 

Reservations are strongly suggested; walk-ins are welcome. Formerly known as ‘playground DTSA,’ the newly rebranded facility is a boutique drinking and dining venue that serves the greatest culinary offerings in a relaxed setting. We challenge the existing quo and are shamelessly who and what we are. Our art is our work, and our work is our art. From libations to emancipation, you’re now in imprisonment, so find a friend and have some fun. Executive Chef John Parker’s cuisine is based on nostalgia, which can be as powerful for the visitor experience as it is for the chef’s curate. The menu is designed for cycling periodically, allowing you to get to know your favorites while also returning for new experiences as the market changes. The bar and lounge area was created with mood lighting, vignette seating, and omakase drink experiences in mind for the cocktail crowd. The lounge area is open until midnight for libations and merriment, whether you enjoy a pre-Trust beverage or want to keep the party going after dinner.

The Copper Door

The Copper Door is a below-ground bar with lots of beer poured in rustic digs, a freestanding fireplace & live music—a copper Door lounge located in the basement of an artist village in downtown Santa Ana. Now opens Thursday – Sunday with a weekly entertainment program. Keep an eye out for the narrow stairway to this bustling basement pub that serves terrific food and beverages for supper and live music for late-night revelry. Even when the club is busy, the DJ sets, rustic wooden décor, and long communal tables help The Copper Door maintain its welcoming ambiance. The Copper Door never fails to impress, whether you come for the music, the billiards tables, the large beer variety on tap, or even their house-made flatbreads. 

The Copper Door is one of Santa Ana’s top nightclubs. With a 6,000-square-foot facility, it is ideal for organizing various events. Copper’s crew works hard to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind, elegant social setting where they may sample delectable and well-crafted cocktails. Customers may socialize with old and new acquaintances. Copper Door boasts a fully stocked bar with eight unique drinks and a rotating selection of 20 craft beers. Its skilled bartenders are always willing to propose a cocktail and provide taste samples upon request. Its warm wood décor houses a 30-foot community table, seats, and long countertop with matching barstools. Copper Door only allows people 21 and older with acceptable ID to enter. Enjoy the nightlife experience and free wifi. 

Live Dance Music, DJs, Art Shows, Friday and Saturday Club Nights featuring Hip-Hop, Top 40, Latin Thursdays, Live Music Wednesdays, Karaoke Tuesdays, Bar, Dance Floor, Billiards Tables, Bottle Service, Corporate Functions & Private Events are just a few of their specialties. Take a leap of faith—plus a few shots!—down the rabbit hole this Halloween weekend only at The Copper Door. Don’t pass up this opportunity to party with ghouls, goblins, and an abundance of attractive witches! An underground bar is hidden beneath Santa Ana’s historic Pacific Building on Broadway and 3rd. If you walk too rapidly, you could miss The Copper Door’s small stairway entry. This bar, dance club, and nightclub are one of the best bars and fun venues Santa Ana has to offer you! If you are in the city, we recommend visiting this spot at least once! Go with your friends and loved ones or meet new people and have a blast!

Chapter One: The Modern Local

Tuna at Chapter One: The Modern Local (Photo: _anniek via Flickr)

Chapter One: The Modern Local is situated in an ex-book store. This modern tavern serves cocktails, beer & pub grub to a hip crowd. So, nestled in a former bookshop, Chapter One pays homage to the literary world with its décor while serving a reasonably priced menu of innovative interpretations of excellent American classics and lots of libations. Even without the tantalizing small meals such as kimchi chicken wings and duck fat fries, the literature-themed specialty cocktail menu is worth a visit for the cherry rum combination Old Man and the Sea and the delicious tropical tastes of Paradise Lost. Chapter One has been a standing favorite in downtown Santa Ana for years, and good reason. The cocktails here are both creative and delicious. 

In addition, this bar has a great selection of whiskeys, whether you want it neat or in a cocktail. Happy hour is a great time to enjoy those cocktails and beers because the drinks and the prices are great. The menu here is seasonal, and you’ll always be able to find something delicious like duck-fat fries and pork-belly buns. Their eclectic food and spirits fuse the exotic with the traditional, always created with our playful twist. Tony Castaneda, the executive chef, uses local, sustainable, seasonal, and all-natural foods in his kitchen. The atmosphere blends the pleasures of elegant dining with the relaxed friendliness of a local pub. Their cocktail list, highlighted by our award-winning fresh ginger Moscow Mules, also features over 200 whiskeys worldwide. They have good vibes only. This unique little spot has an all-are-welcome feel. Chapter One: the modern local gains inspiration from the creative minds of owners Jeffrey Hall, Tim O’Connor, and Jeff Jensen, who sought to evolve the gastropub concept and take it local. 

In addition to providing great food and eye-appealing presentations, the ingredients are farm-to-table sourced, drawing from in-season berries & fruits and the best California offers in produce, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and additional ingredients that span the globe. Twelve draft beers, wine bottle specials, and fresh fruit infusion shots such as their Moscow Mule made with house ginger and served in a traditional copper cup. Druid Divination is prepared with muddled strawberry, thyme, basil, Irish knot whiskey, Barsol Pisco, and 25-year-aged balsamic. Out of this world, delicious! Like Happy Hour, After Office features seasonal drink and food specials from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, in an atmosphere that blends the comfort of home with the excitement of urban life.

Native Son Bar

Water and Beer at Native Son Alehouse (Photo: Jessica Rice via Flickr)

Native Son Bar is a Laid-back hangout with a rooftop lounge known for its extensive selection of craft brews on tap. Native Son is your local cocktail bar & alehouse. They bring you unique cocktails & beers from the best breweries in Orange County & the Inland Empire on their Santa Ana rooftop bar & Rancho Cucamonga patio space. Craft beers & craft liquors are their specialty & their staff can help you find the best beers to fit your taste no matter your preferences. You can find them above Taqueria Guadalajara in OC. Join them for food from their curated menu or drop by before or after hitting the best restaurants near you. Drop into one of their regular events or schedule a private party! Of course, wine isn’t the only boutique beverage in town, and Native Son Alehouse is possibly the most excellent place to experience an outstanding, changing range of craft brews. 

Their 27 taps rotate, but they constantly serve some of the most outstanding independent brewers in a concentrated location that appears tiny until you walk upstairs to their magnificent, spacious rooftop bar. It is hard to find a better spot to enjoy a tall glass of beer and a great plate of sharing nibbles like jalapeño poppers or brussel sprout chips. There is a certain charm in going up on a rooftop and enjoying a few beers while chatting with friends. That is precisely what you can do at Native Son. This Santa Ana bar has a significant number of beers on tap with craft beers, most of which are brewed right here in southern California. 

Frankly, you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. You may be confident that everything you purchase will be excellent. When you’ve decided on a beer, you may drink it on the patio while watching the action in downtown Santa Ana. Native Son Bar is a pleasant spot with a rooftop view of downtown Santa Ana. It provides a large selection of craft beers on tap. So, they provide both ultimate outdoor sitting and interior seats. The restaurant is ideal for a late-night meal. They have excellent service and cuisine. Therefore, the dish is tasty and has a good taste balance. The adjacent BBQ provides another entertaining aspect to the bar. You should also try native fries! So, this is one of the best rooftop bars Santa Ana has to offer!

Fling Cocktail Lounge

The Fling Cocktail Lounge is a welcoming bar that provides delicious drinks. This vintage pub with red velvet decor and pin-up paintings started in 1972 and featured live music. It first opened its doors in 1972. The outside has an antique vintage feel about it. The environment is welcoming, and you can even bring your grandparents. It is a welcoming environment for everybody. They offer live music and delicious beverages. Also, try to come here on Tuesdays since they have happy hour deals on beverages! This is the place to go if you enjoy drinking in a dark pub in the middle of the day. The nightlife is buzzing with activity. No other neighborhood pub is as hospitable and exciting from the moment the door opens until the last call. Excellent ambiance! Fantastic live band! The bartender and waiter were fantastic! 

This is the spot to be whether you want to spend time with yourself or a group of pals. If you have a chance to be nearby, order some excellently cooked pizza from this pub. This establishment is well-known for its superb draught beer, wine, and liquor. In the evening, musicians provide live music. Its main merits are its quick service and friendly employees. You will like reasonable prices. So, Fling Cocktail Lounge has a spectacular atmosphere and terrific decor. Fling Cocktail Lounge, located in Santa Ana, is dedicated to Cocktail bars & lounges. You can find it at 2370 N Tustin Ave, Santa Ana, 92705, CA – California – United States or by phone number +1 714 547 8972. 

If you wish, you can contact Fling Cocktail Lounge during office hours exposed below on this page or by completing the contact form from Fling Cocktail Lounge 24 hours a day. What a night! This place was fantastic. First, we must send a HUGE thank you to the people who kept us drinking all night. We don’t know who you all were, but you certainly do, and you guys are fantastic. Judging by the beginning of the night, we were a bit concerned that it would be a slow, uneventful Saturday night. Then that bell rang and, let me tell you, the party was on! The band was rocking, the crowd was rolling, and the bartenders were fantastic. Go ahead and check them out. Have fun. So, this is one of the best dive bars Santa Ana has to offer!

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It’s no longer a secret that downtown Santa Ana is home to some of the top watering spots and hipster hangouts in Orange County. Many things come with economic recovery, including a thirsty and daring younger audience who resides in the region and prefers to keep its drinking and socializing local. Here are some of my favorite central Santa Ana bars and restaurants for a craft beer, imaginative cocktail, or nice glass of wine. We hope these cocktail bars make your time in Santa Ana worth the while!

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