8 Restaurants for Golden Hour Cocktails
As the sun dips below the horizon, Newport Beach reveals its allure as a coastal paradise. But golden hour isn’t just great for photo ops—it’s also perfect for sipping cocktails! Whether you prefer a margarita or a summer spritz, we’ve curated a gold-hour guide with the best restaurants where you can sip on a sunset cocktail while soaking in breathtaking views. From popular waterfront locales to hidden gems, these venues promise an unforgettable sipping experience in Newport Beach.
Must-Try: Topside Margarita
Elevate your golden hour experience at Topside, Lido House’s chic rooftop restaurant, and bar that looks more like a trendy beach house than anything else. Perched above it all, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of Newport Harbor and beyond. Sip on expertly crafted cocktails while you kick back and indulge in one of their signature Topside Margaritas, which comes with an upside-down popsicle of your choice. Now that’s some summer flair right there!
Must-Try: Smooth Landing
Find solace at The Dock, a classic waterfront hideaway nestled near the base of the Balboa Peninsula. This old-school restaurant boasts a serene atmosphere where you can enjoy a cocktail while watching boats float on the tranquil waters. Try the Smooth Landing with Monkey 47 Gin, fresh muddled cucumber, lime juice, a splash of cucumber tonic, and Champagne St. Germain. With its laid-back charm and stunning views at sunset, The Dock immerses guests in the quintessential old Newport lifestyle.
Must-Try: Espresso Martini
Perched on the harbor’s edge, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar is traditional, upscale, and romantic in every way. Make a reservation and request to sit on the expansive patio for unobstructed views of the ocean. And when it comes to sipping, you can’t go wrong with something from their globally-inspired wine list with more than 650 selections. But if it’s a cocktail you’re craving, treat yourself to an après-dinner espresso martini. Dessert is served!
Must-Try: Mai Tai
With a slogan like, “Where do you aloha?,” it’s no surprise Billy’s at the Beach is a hotspot renowned for its tiki-themed drinks and island ambiance. This waterfront oasis sets the stage for a memorable sunset cocktail experience, and every local knows their mai tais—made with Bacardi, orange curacao, Diamond Head dark rum, and their fresh house juice blend—are worth the hype. Pair this tropical libation with fresh seafood, steaks, and pupus like coconut shrimp, sesame-crusted ahi, and crab cakes.
Must-Try: Pimm’s Cup
For a laid-back and scenic sunset cocktail experience, venture to The Beachcomber in Crystal Cove. Nestled within a historic beachfront cottage, this charming restaurant offers diners a front-row seat to the crashing waves on this protected stretch of coastline. Sip on their signature cocktail, Pimm’s Cup, with Pimm’s No. 1, Nolet’s Gin, lemonade, sparkling soda, lemon, strawberries, orange and cucumber for a refreshing by-the-beach sip! The Beachcomber is a hidden oasis where relaxation and revelry perfectly intertwine.
Must-Try: Summer Mist
Located on the waterfront at Balboa Bay Resort, A+O Restaurant | Bar offers an easy, breezy seaside setting for sunset cocktails. Relax on the wrap-around patio, complete with striped umbrellas, resin stone tables and a handful of fire pits, and soak in the ocean breeze. To drink? Try one of their tableside smoked cocktails, or opt for the Summer Mist crafted with Don Julio Blanco, mezcal, muddled cucumber and jalapeño, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and vanilla syrup. This iconic waterfront hotspot will transport you to the Italian Riviera with ease.
Must-Try: Barrel-Aged Negroni
Situated on the picturesque Newport Bay, The Cannery captures the essence of bayfront dining in Newport Beach. Along with an assortment of fresh seafood, this historic multi-level restaurant serves up a selection of classic cocktails that pair perfectly with a harbor view. Cleanse your palate with their barrel-aged negroni or keep things light with a Moscow mule. The Cannery also offers a stellar happy hour upstairs in the Jellyfish Lounge with discounted appetizers, sushi rolls, and more.
Must-Try: Desert Sage Martini
Casual yet still somewhat refined, Tavern House Kitchen + Bar is a popular waterfront hang, especially when it comes to golden hour drinks with friends. Grab a seat at the central bar and catch a sports game or sit out on the covered patio for striking views of Newport Harbor. Indulge in a citrusy blood orange margarita or keep it classy with a Desert Sage Martini made with Ketel One vodka, Solerno blood orange liqueur, and agave nectar. The drink list is extensive, and the views are worth a million photos.
Written by: Kaylin Waizinger