The Best Unique Bars in Santa Ana

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

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

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Orange County is well-known for its beaches and opulent suburban communities, but not so much for its nightlife. Fortunately, Santa Ana, one of the county’s largest communities, has an urban-tinged drinking culture, with a selection of artsy yet inexpensive pubs crammed around First and Main Streets. These are some of the greatest pubs to visit on a typical night or during one of the neighborhood’s well-known art walks. We have compiled some of the best Unique Bars in Santa Ana for you to go through.

Vacation

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

Pork Loin at the Playground (Photo: New Brew Thursday via Flickr)

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.

Wursthaus

Wursthaus has a modern beer hall pairing imported German & Belgian brews with classic & gourmet sausages & fries. Wursthaus, another European import within walking distance of downtown Santa Ana’s array of American new pubs and cafes, recreates the communal, comfortable atmosphere of a German beer hall within a modest, tidy, but unfussy brick structure at 4th and French Streets. But this location is all about the beer and the bratwurst. Their menu features a massive assortment of beers, lagers, and a dozen or so distinctively flavored sausages, ranging from the classic smoked polish wurst to the unique jalapeño duck dog. Wursthaus is a fresh reinvention of a classic German Beer Hall, serving great sausages and 20+ foreign beers in a very simple manner. 

The sausages on the menu are grouped into three categories: classics, gourmet, and unique. Guests must select between a pretzel roll and a more traditional bun, which will then be topped with their choice of toppings, which include sauerkraut, sautéed jalapenos, and sautéed onions. Wursthaus is also famous for their Drunken Fries, triple-fried Belgian fries topped with a handmade haus andalouse sauce and IPA caramelized onions. Wursthaus is frequently the first or final stop on a Downtown Santa Ana pub crawl, staying open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday. Thanks to its laid-back environment and communal tables, it is the ideal spot to drink a pint of beer with friends or strangers. Wursthaus can be found at 305 E. 4th St, #106, Santa Ana, CA. 

Their hours are 11 am to 1 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 2 am Friday and Saturday. Wursthaus provides a genuine European dining experience with a menu focused on essential items like homemade sausages. This comprises at least 20 different cold Belgian and German draught beers. The restaurant provides meals and bar hoppers with a pleasant and friendly atmosphere while also serving classics. The main courses at Wursthaus feature a variety of beef dishes seasoned with paprika, garlic, and milk; some are served with a pig as a side. The Belgian fries at Wursthaus are prepared fresh from Kennebec potatoes and come with a variety of dipping sauces ranging from jalapeño ranch and barbeque to buffalo ranch and honey mustard. Diners may taste their Drunken Fries, Belgian fries topped with haus andalouse sauce, and caramelized onions. Sausage fans may choose from a range of sausages, including the Hungarian variety.

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.

Silva’s Sports Bar and Lounge

Silva’s Sports Bar and Lounge is the Modern Brazilian option for churrasco, seasonal veggies & whole-grain sides, plus craft cocktails. If you’re a sports fan who isn’t sure what to do for a night out, go to Silva’s Sports Bar and Lounge. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy yourself. Silva’s is a high-end sports bar and lounge next to South Coast Plaza that caters to high-end and local clientele. Silva’s Sports Bar & Lounge is the best place for customers to visit, whether coming in to watch a sports event or enjoy fantastic food and beverages. They also feature outside seats for a different perspective. They have a unique cuisine and provide an unforgettable eating experience. So you can unwind and dine in style. Though the rates are a little exorbitant, the experience is unparalleled. Silva’s Sports Bar’s drinks and meals are as different as the venue’s.

The private mixologist’s cocktail menu is inspired by American classics and is made with only the freshest ingredients. Light cuisine selections include a range of small plates – ideal for an after-work or evening snack – and delectable meals made by a talented chef. Silva’s team is friendly and welcoming, making you feel like family with exceptional service from Owner Boss Man ”Alex,” Bartender/Waitress Jocelyn Prado,” Bartender “Maria C.,” and Waitress “Diana” (Standouts, to name a few). Silva’s serves excellent cuisine and beverages, has 14 large screen TVs for sporting events, movies, or performances, and has fantastic music with live DJs or live musicians. Brazilian/Latin style with the nicest atmosphere and service! Beautiful, welcoming environment with a wide selection of Brazilian cuisine and drinks and vibrant DJ music. 

The bartender, Alisa, is excellent; she makes great tasty Mojitos, smacking the mint leaves between her palms with a loud cracking noise, flattening them before blending them into the glass. A very kind and inviting individual with a vibrant and lovely personality. She makes you feel at ease and like you’re a family member. I will surely return only to experience that excellent service again. I visit this great restaurant once a month because I like the pleasant atmosphere that is unique to this establishment. The staff is kind and knowledgeable. The service is quite fast. Not to mention the delicious cuisine they provide. I ate there several times and was always satisfied. The cost is reasonable. So, this is one of the best bars Santa Ana has to offer.

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Conclusion

Santa Ana is a hotspot for Orange County nightlife. A number of themed bars may be found here, each offering a different flavor of food and drink. To serve good and reasonable food, the nightlife here does not need to be elegant. Bars and pubs in this area provide daily discounts and happy hours, as well as themed events and attractions. Anyone looking for a variety of possibilities should definitely go to Santa Ana. So, we hope these unique bars in Santa Ana make your stay worth the while!

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