211 W. 2nd Street - Santa Ana, CA
As much as I'd like to eat and play around my first and dearest home of Los Angeles, I reside in Orange County (well... at least from Monday-Friday, as I confess that I find any way or excuse to go back to LA almost every weekend). However, I must admit that hidden among the comfortable, somewhat cookie-cutter suburbs of the OC are a few neighborhoods that have a strong and culturally driven restaurant scene, which I love deeply about LA. Downtown Santa Ana definitely meets this criteria.
From the few (drinking age) years that I have had living in the OC, Santa Ana is continually growing to become my favorite neighborhood for great food and drinks within a casual yet trendy atmosphere. With that said, there is no better time to enjoy the beauty of downtown Santa Ana than Happy Hour!
Lola Gaspar is a modern and cozy restaurant serving Latin & Spanish inspired small plates and craft cocktails and located in the heart of the Artists Village , Lola Gaspar's outside space welcomes its guests to a large and inviting patio with communal tables and lush living green walls that are illuminated by hanging string lights, making it the perfect area to catch up with groups of friends. The indoor space sets the mood with high ceilings, brick walls, and gothic-like decor, which can please those looking for a more intimate atmosphere.
Now, onto the Good Times. Lola's Happy Hour runs on every weekday from 5pm-7pm, which gives plenty of time to hop out of the office, claim a bench on the patio, and order rounds and rounds of Lola's $3 Happy Hour Sangrias, Well-Spirits, and Draft Pints (yes, these are all $3 each). Lola's dinner menu is very focused with a few selections of simple, yet elevated Spanish and Latin inspired small plates that are perfect for everyone to share. To keep the good times rolling, Lola's Happy Hour features all of the tacos on their dinner menu as well as a couple of their small plates for only $5!
My after work happy hour crew took no hesitation in ordering these delicious dishes off of the happy hour menu, some we even ordered double:
- Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with blue cheese atop a sherry mustard sauce
- Barbacoa Beef Short Rib Taquitos with beer cheese queso, guacamole, and hot sauce
- Gulf Prawn & Spanish Chorizo Tacos with potato hash
- Maitake Mushroom & Brussels Sprouts with dill yogurt creme fraiche
Alongside our happy hour dishes and drinks, we also ordered off the dinner menu the following dishes to cure our drunchies:
- Grilled Spanish Octopus with sausage, avocado, and citrus aioli
- Crispy Jerk Chicken Relleno with cheese and habanero
- Steamed Pei Mussels with tomatillo-lemongrass broth
I can confidently suggest Lola Gaspar as the perfect weekday spot to catch great happy hour bites and sips, while enjoying the unique and cultural atmosphere of downtown Santa Ana. Establishments like Lola Gaspar in Santa Ana have truly made their mark in the Orange County culinary scene, and I sure do hope that the growth continues.
Happy happy happy hour!