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In a hall across from black-and-white vintage photos of famous faces (Ronald Reagan, Gone with the Wind star Olivia de Havilland, former U.S. president George H.W. Bush and John Wayne, to name a few), you’ll find the newly opened Waterline Newport Beach. There, executive chef David Fuñe and chef de cuisine Rachel Haggstrom offer a water-to-table experience that ensures you'll have a menu filled with fresh seafood.
Barry Design Associates, which specializes in interior architectural design and furnishings (it transformed Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills and One & Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas, among others), led a makeover of the space formerly known as First Cabin. The décor reflects the colors of the coast, with shades of pastels — blues, corals and gold. Of course, windows framing dramatic sunsets and picturesque views of Newport Beach also figure prominently in the design.
If it’s a good stiff drink you want, head to The Bar, a historic spot formerly known as Duke’s Place (in honor of John Wayne). It’s also scheduled for a massive renovation under the guidance of Irvine-based architects Lee & Sakahara, but at the moment, it looks like an elegant yachtsman’s hangout with a piano, dark wood and barstools. There are also numerous publicity stills of Wayne, a former board member of the next-door Balboa Bay Club who frequented Duke’s and played dominoes and card games there. The Bar will be reconfigured to allow in more natural light, there are plans to build a kitchen and install floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors so you can enjoy a panoramic view of the bay (and walk out to the patio). The look will be modern and contemporary, and the color scheme — blues, taupe and cream — is inspired by the coastal location.
Rounding out your dining choices is Blend coffee shop. Open daily from morning until evening, the Newport Beach hotel café sells espressos, coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, teas, smoothies, gelato, grab-and-go fresh pastries, sandwiches, salads and desserts. You can have a casual breakfast or lunch inside the café or alfresco along the waterfront. If you need something to go, place an order for a picnic on a Duffy boat or an outing around town.