Orange County doesn’t have a decent craft beer and whisky-centric bar to call home, until now. Some of you may have heard some of the media buzz surrounding HopScotch, with good reason. The highly anticipated opening of this new bar located in the heart of downtown Fullerton, off Commonwealth next to SlideBar, is about to happen.
HopScotch could very well be my new favorite place to go. I put serious investment into places that pay attention to the details I want when it comes to a bar:
- Good Craft Beer. Michael (Liquid Culture Project) and I spoke to co-owner Bryan Gonzales in great length about the tap list and what was to be expected. We talked about getting a nice mixture of local, seasonal, and hard-to-find gems on draft. Expect: Russian River, Ballast Point, Bootleggers, and The Bruery to name a few. A little inside tidbit I learned is that Beers In Paradise is assisting with the tap list and bottle list so I am certain it will be good no matter what. I personally would love to see the following on tap: Avery, Upright, Hair of the Dog, Cismontane, Craftsman, AleSmith, Societe, and Lost Abbey. Although, I am not sure if all of those breweries even distribute kegs and if so, to this area (wishful thinking).
- Good Selection of Spirits. A telltale sign that the bar you are visiting has a commitment to the integrity of a good cocktail is the fact that they branded Four Roses Whiskey logo on their bar top. They have custom shelving behind the bar accented with a lighted plaid background to showcase their lovely liquor selections. Also, they don’t have any Red Bull and Vodka in sight. This makes me happy.
- A Laid-Back Atmosphere. This is something that Fullerton sorely is in need of. Amidst the sea of drunkard college students and locals, the bars in the area tend to not be terribly enjoyable. They seem to be: over-crowded, over-priced, sweaty, annoying, poor drink/beer selections, nowhere to sit, fighting to get to the bar, bartenders who ignore you or are over-worked and therefore it takes 20 minutes to get a drink. This however is not just the typical annoyances with downtown Fullerton, as it applies to Huntington Beach, Orange, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Long Beach, Costa Mesa, etc. Most towns have these issues, but there are usually some safe haven places that are enjoyable. Examples being: La Cave and Kitsch in Costa Mesa are laid-back and make great drinks, Long Beach has Beachwood BBQ and Congregation, Orange has Haven and The Bruery Provisions, etc. Fullerton doesn’t really have a downtown bar that is laid-back, unpretentious, and focused on how a customer would really want to spend their evening. From their vintage cracked-leather chairs to their Edison light-bulb fixtures, HopScotch really nailed it.
Fortunately we were there for the OC Scotch Club meeting/tasting at the same time of getting a sneak preview of the location and joined in on the festivities. I was driving so Michael was doing the scotch tasting with the OC Scotch Club and he tried the Auchentoshan Single Malt Scoth, Caol Ila 13 Year, Glenmorangie Signet, and Longmorn 30 Year to name a few. The speaker from Malt Maniac, Dave Wankel, was extremely informative and the experience was enjoyable even if I didn’t taste the scotch. I did smell some of them and boy were some of them peaty!
Food and drink tickets were also provided as a part of the OC Scotch Club meeting so we also got to sample some of their cocktails and food offerings. The slow-cooked barbeque was so amazing it melts in your mouth. The stand-out food item was the Mac & Cheese! It was so delicious and rich with an unexpected spicy kick. The crusty cheese top was a nice touch…if only I have more of it. Right now. The cocktail sample I had was the Blood & Sand served with a big ball of ice. I loved that they had the ice ball because that means my cocktail won’t get watered-down like a standard cocktail served over regular ice cubes. It’s the little things!
I could really just go on and on about HopScotch but I suggest you go and see it for yourselves! The taxidermy on the walls, two large patios, and the oak-barrel repurposed bar top, all of it. They are set to open officially on Nov. 19th so I hope to see you there!
HopScotch on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hopscotchfullerton
HopScotch on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hopscotch-fullerton