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Orange County’s sleepy surfer towns don’t offer much nightlife — there aren’t any banging clubs in these parts. But you will find some low-key bars, and most of them are situated in restaurants. The bar at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant Studio overlooks the water, and the restaurant’s wine cellar flaunts 2,500 selections. Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona del Mar is a gastropub where James Beard-nominated chef John Cuevas prepares the food. JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery in Anaheim creates its own beer onsite; there’s live rock there on the weekends. Plush Karaoke Lounge in Irvine is especially sleek and modern for a karaoke bar. You can sing your heart out at this spot seven days a week for as low as $30 an hour depending on which room you choose.
While you’re in “The OC,” you’ll want to plan a Friday or Saturday evening (or both!) out for a delicious meal followed by cocktails and live music. The St. Regis Monarch Beach Lobby Lounge is always a good bet, offering delectable food and drinks along with live music and dancing on Thursday nights. Also worth noting is Mozambique restaurant in South Laguna for live music on Friday and Saturday nights.