Are you looking for a relaxing spot to enjoy a nice glass of wine or craft beer? In Orange County alone, you can find dozens of wineries and breweries that offer tap and tasting rooms. We’ve been to all the great beer and wine spots in Irvine and can tell you without a doubt what places should be your first — and maybe only — stops. With Contributions by Arielle Roude and Evan Senn.
Bacchus Bar and Bistro
Bacchus Bar and Bistro is the perfect neighborhood hangout spot to have a nice glass of wine. Here you can try one of the 50 wines they offer by the glass. Or if you are looking to commit, you can choose from over 200 bottles to buy and try. With such an extensive collection, Bacchus offers the perfect wine for every occasion. They even have a wine club, so the experience doesn’t have to stop after your first visit. 6735 Quail Hill Parkway, Irvine.
Left Coast Brewing Co. & Distillery
Left Coast is new to Irvine, but has been making stellar independent brews out of San Clemente since 2004 and has won over 23 different awards for their full-time beers. Located on Irvine Center Drive, the tasting room offers a great energetic vibe with three main beers brewed onsite — Barranca Brutty, Witty on Wednesday and Big Boy Pete — as well as two craft spirits produced at the location. 6652 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine.
Originally a microbrewery and pub, Backstreet Brewery opened in Irvine back in 1998 and has become a local favorite ever since. Set inside Lamppost Pizza, Backstreet creates universal craft beers for every palate. This family-owned brewery began with just four different styles of craft beer — Tomahawk Double IPA, Set Sail IPA, Rita Red Ale and Rydin’ Dirty Rye IPA — but has expanded and continues to add new beers to the bottle lineup. We suggest trying Backstreet Brewery’s Rita Red, Oktoberfest Festbier or the Blood Orange Animation IPA. Your taste buds — and your buzz — can thank us later. 14450 Culver Drive, Irvine.
TAPS Fish House and Brewery
On the higher end of dining destinations, TAPS beer and booze is fairly affordable and on par with the best bars in all of O.C. for craft beer and craft cocktails. TAPS has brought home 103 medals for their craft beer, including a silver medal for their Irish Red at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival. Their reputation for ambiance, service and quality of beer has made them a favorite independent multi-location brewery. If you like a nice red ale, then you should definitely try their Irish Red Ale, but we are also low-key obsessed with their Amend This Prohibition Lager and their Grapefruit American IPA. 13390 Jamboree Road, Irvine.
Old World Liquor
If you’re not in the mood to go out to a brewery but are still craving craft brews, you’ll definitely want to stop by Old World Liquor to pick up a few rare bottles or some of your favorite local beer. A local hidden gem kept afloat by local residents, this spot has a great selection of craft beers from near and far! If you’re in the area, drop by and grab a Firestone Walker Lager, a Bear Republic Racer 5 or an Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stone, and enjoy a craft beer in peace. 4800 Irvine Blvd., Ste. 101, Irvine.
Anthill Pub & Grille
Although parking on UCI’s campus is atrocious and makes any quest for beer seem like an epoch, Anthill Pub & Grille on UCI’s campus probably has the best craft beer selection in all of Irvine and is worth the journey. They rotate their tap beers regularly and seem to try and surprise their regular craft beer connoisseurs by getting rare beers that most other beer bars in the O.C. don’t get. We highly suggest the Deschutes Black Butte Porter, the Firestone Walker Leo v. Ursus: Doublus and the Anchor California Lager. 215 Pereira Drive, Irvine.
Outside the Bubble
Located in Costa Mesa’s anti-mall, Wine Lab is the perfect combination of modern and fresh. It offers two ways to get your wine fix: flights or pours by the glass. Presented in their signature test tubes, Wine Lab offers three- to six-tastings tube flights that showcase different themes of wine. Their wine by the glass menu is a large beautiful variety of wines ranging from bubbly whites to deep reds. Wine Lab also offers a variety of food to go with your wine, including amazing cheeses and meats with which you and your friends can build your cheese and charcuterie boards. 2937 Bristol St., Ste A101B, Costa Mesa.
The Lost Vine
The Lost Vine proves that coffee and wine are a match made in heaven. This sustainable wine bar has a list that is always rotating, so you will never be bored. The relaxed atmosphere is embedded with fun themed nights for their customers to enjoy. Kick off the week on Tuesday with their Five Tastings at 5 Deal. Here you will be able to enjoy generous tasting pours of five wines for only $12. The Lost Vine also has a fantastic Wine Wednesday deal where if you buy a bottle of wine, your second bottle comes in 50 percent off. 13011 Newport Ave., Tustin.
Orange Coast Winery
If you are looking for a more traditional winery experience to enjoy a glass of vino, Orange Coast Winery has got you covered. This winery offers the experience of a traditional tasting room that allows both members and non-members to enjoy a variety of wine tastings. Their classic tastings usually include six glasses of a variety of reds, whites, and rosés. If you are ready to jump on the wine train and become a member, you will get to experience tons of exclusive deals, including free cheese boards, guests and significant discounts for wine purchases. 869 W. 16th St., Newport Beach.
The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar
This upscale dining experience comes with a side of first-class wines to drink and enjoy. Wine country becomes the focal point of all their menus, allowing every course and every meal to have the perfect counterpart in their magnificent wine cellar. The Winery’s wine list includes over 650 bottles that change weekly. They even take their wine process one step further by ensuring that all of their wines have a home in their climate-controlled cellars. 3131 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach; 2647 Park Ave., Tustin.