Pull up a chair at Newport Beach’s plentiful hotel lounges and join locals and visitors alike for refreshing drinks, stunning views, hip scenes and chic décor.
As soon as you enter Island Hotel Newport Beach, you’ll be transported to a luxurious coastal atmosphere where shades of blue and aqua mix with a light and airy space open to a patio to make you feel like you’re actually sitting alongside the ocean enjoying a soothing cocktail while the breeze brushes over you ever so slightly. Both the property’s lobby and Aqua Lounge have been completely revitalized, from the furnishings to and luxurious rugs to the accessories and more … all hand-chosen for their craftsmanship and to leave guests with a chic seaside impression. When nighttime rolls around, grab a seat in Aqua Lounge and mingle with Newport Beach’s hip, chic set while enjoying drinks mixed tableside, a unique ice program, freshly squeezed juices and an imaginative approach to craft cocktails (Cucumber Cobbler — coastal sage-infused Hendrick’s gin, green apple and cucumber puree, homemade ginger syrup and lemon juice). And don’t forget the vibrant entertainment scene teeming with live DJs, pop-up performances and special events Thursday-Saturday. There’s also plenty of action at the hotel’s new Oak Grill restaurant, where you can find special promotions such as Taco Tuesdays, featuring a taco trio of the week and drinks like the “Sea of Flames Margarita” blended with Don Julio Silver Tequila, Cointreau and serrano mint syrup, and Fireside Sessions every Wednesday, from 5-8 p.m., with live music by local artists, craft cocktails and gourmet bites.
At the Newport Beach Marriott Bayview, savor a variety of tasty hors d’oeuvres while sipping on the finest spirits and wine privately or al fresco at the casual Herons Restaurant and Bar. The selling point? A breathtaking view of the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Need something a little more substantial to satisfy your appetite? Try the restaurant’s classic American comfort food from burgers to pasta.
Crafted cocktails and small bites are also front and center at the warm and inviting lounge of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. With its modern twist on classic sophistication, The Lounge at Sam & Harry’s draws an affluent Newport Beach crowd alongside traveling business executives. The Moscow Mule is one of the most popular drinks, but the lounge also offers up an extensive beer and wine list. And everyone raves about the tapas menu, which is great for tasting and sharing everything from jumbo lump crab cakes to ahi tacos.
The Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is just like having your own beach home, complete with comfy armchairs and couches adorned with coastal throw pillows, a basket of throw blankets for those chilly California nights, and a view of the Upper Newport Bay from an armchair- and couch-filled veranda sporting a firewall. There’s even a “Library” with lifestyle/coffee books located just off the main lounge. This hip, casual space draws a varied crowd of leisure guests, couples, business people and locals — with music-lovers changing up the scene on Friday nights, from June through early October, during the Hyatt Regency Summer Concert Series. Among the most popular drink and food offerings are the fried shishito peppers and kale pops with Sriracha and Ponzu sauces, washed down with a Back Bay Berry cocktail — Skyy Vodka, blackberries, lemon juice and agave. New this fall: the 50/50 Burger — half beef/half pork shoulder with bourbon bacon ketchup, lettuce and tomato.
With its locale near the area’s office towers and its classy vibe, the European-style Bambù Lounge at the Fairmont Newport Beach is a hot spot for local business clientele during the week. Settle in amid the classic décor and enjoy one of the establishment’s newest drinks — the Orange Melon Mist, with Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka, Cointreau, organic agave, cantaloupe and orange — or something from the menu including fish tacos, burgers, pizza and more. Feel like sharing? The lounge’s create-your-own tasting plates offer everything from calamari to spinach and artichoke fondue to prawn cocktails (one choice, $8; two choices, $14; and three choices, $20). Highlights include happy hour Monday-Friday, from 4-7 p.m., with specials like $10 for the mixologist’s featured drink and tasting plates for $6, as well as the monthly Liquid Arts Series, from 6-7 p.m., with industry professionals serving up specialty cocktails and fine wines paired with culinary offerings. The cost is $20 per person, with upcoming dates focusing on New Zealand’s Craggy Range Winery Oct. 1 and Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Nov. 5.
Resort guests and locals alike visit the Great Room for dining, entertainment and socializing. Situated at the heart of The Resort at Pelican Hill, in the main estate lobby, this sophisticated, yet unpretentious, European-style “living room” is highlighted by a Tuscan-inspired palette of bronze, gold and green and topped off with sunlight streaming in through a cupola. Expect warm, residential-style comforts and a grand fireplace framed by Renaissance tapestries, where you’ll enjoy a champagne cart, interesting and original Italian cocktails, and organic coffees, teas and infusions. For a special treat, be sure to partake in Chef Marco’s popular new “Il Menu Del Caviale” (caviar menu), offering specialties like smoked trout and Villa Sandi Prosecco risotto with Osetra caviar and poached half Maine lobster with house-made ricotta, grilled baby artichokes and paddlefish caviar. The Great Room hosts a traditional afternoon tea featuring a live harpist Friday-Sunday, from 2-3:30 p.m., while contemporary live music and a small plates menu take center stage Thursday-Saturday evenings. Coming up: a Fireside Etiquette Chat with Kathleen Cover, founder and president of The Etiquette School of Beverly Hills and Newport Beach, Thursday, Oct. 2, from 5:30-7 p.m.
Walk through Balboa Bay Resort’s recently renovated lobby — being sure to check out the fantastic new water wall feature — and into the A&O Kitchen+Bar, where the fire pits on the patio fire up at dusk allowing guests to sit back and enjoy the live music and starlit water of the harbor. While there, nosh on Chef Vincent Lesage’s crowd-pleasers such as the 18-ounce bone-in prime rib eye marinated in moonshine and apple cider and served with a red eye sauce, and “Popcorn n Pig,” a modernized “Cracker Jack box” treat with bacon and fleur de sel. Popular drinks include craft beers poured from a custom cast-iron tap, wine served in punts and beer floats. During football season, enjoy Sunday brunch featuring a bloody mary cart, breakfast burrito/ taco station and happy hour Sunday, Monday and Thursday with a “beat the clock” menu featuring food and drink specials.
Last, but definitely not least, why not wrap up your evening at the casual and inviting Sapphire Lounge at the Carlton Hotel Newport Beach? Here you’ll find classic cocktails (the Ketel One martini is a favorite), as well as a great selection of California vintages, brews on tap and an assortment of appetizers. The property’s lounge is open daily, with special appetizer and cocktail promotions available during social hour from 4-7 p.m. Afterward, check out the hotel’s popular Tiffany’s Cuisine restaurant for award-winning fare prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients California has to offer, plus an outstanding wine list highlighted by Californian varietals.