Personally, I prefer to visit whiskey/scotch bars that offers either lots of selections or makes really good cocktails. When a bar offers loads of whiskey selections, it gives me an opportunity to try a new something new and a chance to find a new bottle to collect. Here is a list (in order of preference) of whiskey spots you may find me at.
Puzzle Bar: Looking for a rare Japanese or Taiwanese whiskey that you want to try? Puzzle Bar is where you’ll find them! Located at the corner of a shopping center in La Mirada. When you’re here, don’t rush and don’t mess with the bartenders. The bartenders here are perfectionists when it comes making a perfect cocktail just for you. If the cocktail doesn’t taste right, then they’ll toss it and make a new one. Old fashion is my go-to cocktail drink at Puzzle bar because the orange rime is torched table side, which gives it an extra smokey and sweet orange flavor and taste. Oh, did I mention the bartenders here make their own ice-cubes too?
Hopscotch Tavern: Have friends that don’t like whiskey? Then, it’s time to unfriend them. Just kidding! It’s rare to find a bar that offers a long list of craft beer options in addition to a load of whiskey selections, so this is the reason why Hopscotch is one of my favorite whiskey bars. There are lots of different whiskey flights to choose from, so it’ll give you an option to try different whiskies that you may want to add to your collection. I also love that Hopscotch is located in the heart of downtown Fullerton; hence, it’s easier for me to plan before/after parties when I host events at Hopstoch.
Bosscat Kitchen and Libations: Flight delay? Well then, a great opportunity to grab a drink or two or three before take off. Bosscat is one of the very few non-hotel bars 5 minute drive from John Wayne airport. It has many of the standard favorites and rare selections. The whiskey cocktails here are also a great choice if you’re looking for a lighter drink. Bosscat, however, is extremely overpriced. On average, you will pay about $5.00 more for your whiskies. A small side note, since Bosscat is located near the airport, there are a limited number of bars, clubs and restaurants around the area. If you don’t plan on bar hopping throughout the night, then it’ll be a great bar to stick around for a few hours.
Social: I discovered Social when I attended a Yelp Gold Elite event. Social is known for making great cocktails; however, it does not have a wide variety of whiskey selections. The cocktails here are stiff, yet well balanced. It’s not just loaded with alcohol that masks the taste the other ingredients and flavors within cocktails. My favorite cocktail is the ‘Monkey Business’. Can you guess which scotch is used for the cocktail? If you said the Monkey Shoulder, then you guessed it right. A touch of sourness from the lemon and a tiny hit of the smokey & spicy flavor from the ginger and cinnamon; yummy! The cocktails at Social runs about $14 – $15, but with the $3.00 valet you need to pay for parking, you’re looking at around $20.00 a drink.
Pie Society: A speakeasy hidden behind a pizza parlor. Whenever I’m looking for a single lady’s (as in me, myself, and I) night out, you’ll find me sitting at the bar at Pie Society. There are two ways to find the bar: 1) find the door next to the trash can from the parking lot, walk through a strange tiny alley, open the door and you’re in, 2) walk into the pizza parlor towards the bathroom and you’ll see an exit sign, push through the door as if you are going to exit and you’re there. Pie Society is a fun place to host small events. The usual popular whiskey selections can be found here and the bartenders can make any cocktails on the menu with your choice of whiskey. The cocktail price here are about $13.00 each.
The Blind Rabbit: A speakeasy hidden inside the Anaheim packing district. The Blind Rabbit holds about 30 people, so a reservation at least 1 month in advance is recommended for a group of 4 or more. Note that there is only 1 large table inside (max 6 people). The Blind Rabbit has a standard selection of whiskey, but it’s more known for its cocktails. The best drink on the menu is the ‘Smoke On the Water’ because it’s the strongest whiskey cocktail on the menu. For $22 though, I don’t think you’re getting the most bank for your buck. Most of its other cocktails are on the sweeter side. Thus, I usually order an old fashion, so I can taste the actual whiskey. A note to make; Blind Rabbit enforces a strict dress code and a 90 minute sitting policy.
Casa: One of the easiest, yet scariest speakeasy to find. Majority of the stores around Casa are closed by 10:00pm, so you may think your direction is taking you to a no man’s pad. The ambiance inside, however, has a old school classic feel. You used to need password to enter, but it’s no longer required. Casa has limited number of whiskey selections; however, for $12 – $15, you’ll get a pretty stiff cocktail that doesn’t have much of any flavor except whiskey and bitters. Since Casa’s location is hidden and away from hip Costa Mesa area; it may best best served as a last or first stop of your night.
Maccallans Public House: Located at downtown Brea with many restaurant options near by. It’s a great spot to have a whiskey or two before/after dinner ‘if’ you have a small group. Macallans only provides one check per group doesn’t matter your group size. The waiter/waitress will haunt you down if s/he finds that you’re trying to buy a drink at the bar. It has many rare whiskey selections in the house, so it’s a great whiskey bar to try something new (or something you liked). Cocktails (~$11) here are a great option if you’re not a whiskey on the rock type of person.
* Drink responsibly. By reading this article, you understand that I hold NO responsibility for any of your actions before and/or after your consumption of alcohol.
* Pricing may not reflect current pricing