Most busy parents would love to kick back on a terrace with a cold beer after a long day spent organizing playdates, meeting work deadlines, and changing diapers—but spring for a babysitter just for a drink out? Not so much. Thankfully happy hour is no longer limited to rowdy twentysomethings looking to score cheap drinks. A plethora of Orange County bars and restaurants now target families with an appealing proposition: cheap drinks with cheap bites in a kid-friendly environment. Mom and Dad get the margarita they've earned, while kids get an early dinner that barely opens the wallet—talk about win-win! From beachfront restaurants to upscale bowling alleys to pizzerias, we found eight wonderful, kid-friendly watering holes in Orange County that know how to treat parents right.
They bowl, we toast. It's a match made in happy hour. Photo by author
1. Lucky Strike
20 City Blvd.
Orange, CA 92868
Think happy hour at a bowling alley consists only of frozen pizza and cheap beer? Guess again. This upscale strike zone is the perfect place for the whole family to enjoy bargain specials like hand-battered mini corn dogs, mac & cheese bites, and homemade chips and guacamole. Grown-ups can also indulge in deals on house wine, shots, and well drinks between games.
RELATED: Kid-friendly Happy Hours on the Westside of LA
The Terazzo at Naples Ristorante courtesy of Downtown Disney
2. Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria
1510 Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Sip a glass of discounted sangria while sharing bite-sized portions of bruschetta, panzerotti, and fried calamari with garlic aioli on the outdoor patio. In true Disney fashion, balloon artists travel from table to table creating intricate designs for the kiddos. Afterward, stroll around Downtown Disney, catch a movie, or let the kids race cars at the flagship Lego store.
3. Dave & Busters
661 Spectrum Center Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618
This South County hotspot is heaven on earth for video game-obsessed kids—and parents who want a rare moment of peace and quiet. Enjoy half-price appetizers, half-price cocktails, discount domestic pints, and enough variety to call it dinner for the entire family.
There's enough entertainment at Reunion for Mom and Dad to order a second round. Photo courtesy of Reunion Kitchen + Drink
4. Reunion Kitchen + Drink
5775 Santa Ana Canyon Rd.
Anaheim, CA 92807
Locals know that this popular restaurant has one of the best happy hours in town. Enjoy short rib sliders, spicy wings, or loaded potato skins while indulging in a discount beer or wine flights. Kids also love playing with complimentary Etch-A-Sketches at the hostess station.
5. Woody's Wharf
2318 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
This Newport Beach institution has been drawing big crowds for more than 50 years. Its waterfront location makes it the perfect place for kids to watch the boats sail by while noshing on Kobe beef sliders, shrimp cocktail, or crispy beer-battered fish tacos. Parents appreciate the wide selection of discounted well drinks, white sangria, and bottled beer.
RELATED: 10 Kid-friendly Happy Hours in Silver Lake and Los Feliz
Can we say Taco Tuesday? Photo courtesy of El Cholo
6. El Cholo
840 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90631
Like its Hollywood counterpart, this Southern California Mexican restaurant serves up low-price taquitos, cheese quesadillas, ceviche, and chicken chimichangas during its infamous fiesta hour. There are also deals on house margaritas, draft beers, and discounted wine and well drinks at this popular cantina—plus kids eat free every Wednesday night.
7. The Point
34085 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629
This Dana Point favorite features a dedicated Kids Cave play area complete with kid-friendly movies, a chalk wall, and a special kids’ menu. Parents can relax and enjoy discounted cocktails, wine, craft beer, and happy hour specials such as sliders, ribs, tacos, and wings.
1740 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 715- 7777
Enjoy ocean views and a pet-friendly patio while sipping discounted martinis, mojitos, margaritas, wine, and beer. Kids are captivated by the exotic birds at the restaurant’s entrance, and although there isn’t a separate kids’ menu, happy hour offerings include kid favorites such as fish & chips, sliders, penne pasta, and chicken wings.
Note all times are accurate as of publication date; we always recommend calling to confirm.
Top photo via Bigstock