Starfish Laguna Opium Hour

Revised 6.9.20

starfish logo

When I bring friends to Starfish, which is located in a strip mall off Pacific Coast Highway (“PCH”) and across from The Montage Resort, they give me a funny look until we get through the door. Then, they comment on how cool the place is. You’d think they would trust me by now!

Owner/Partners Archie and Gretchen McConnell are committed to creating an exceptional experience for every guest. The restaurant and bar is Asian-chic, a comfortable atmosphere with gorgeous design and colors in turquoise and black.

starfish inside
The bar is very inviting!

A good time to stop by, if you can, is around 3:00 p.m. and sit at the bar. The bartender recommended the crispy chicken spring rolls which are homemade on the premises. They were fresh and yummy! They offer more than 20 “small plates,” and are a deal for $7 to $15. These specials are served everywhere in the restaurant (not JUST the bar!)

We had their Allagash Belgian beer on tap and it was so good! They also offer Sapporo and Chang beers. Their “Specialty Libations” are insanely delicious infusions and a great value at half price. They include “Tiger’s Blood,” Cantaloupe” Martinis and “Buddha’s Kiss,” to name a few. Their wine list is well-rounded (Rombauer, Cakebread, Prisoner, La Crema and many more)!

Starfish has it all–ambiance, fresh Asian infusion food and cocktails at a good value, friendly servers and great customer service! This is one of my favorites, and I would highly recommend Starfish. You will love it and wonder why you didn’t go sooner!

Happy Hour (“Opium Hour”) is 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. every day.

Location: 30832 Pacific Coast Highway, South Laguna, 92651

Telephone: 949.715.9200

Great ambiance!

Website: Starfishlaguna.com

Salt Creek Grille Dana Point — Wine Lovers Delight!!!

Everyday but Saturday 4-6:30 pm they offer Happy Hour with a selection of 10 specialty martinis for $8!  The yummy watermelon salad is refreshing and appetizers run $7-$11.  MONDAY NIGHTS, throughout the restaurant and bar, they offer half price bottles of wine.  This is a great time to try some expensive wines!  Once my company hosted us and I got to try the Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (very tasty but I’m not a red wine drinker)….it was priced at $138, so that was fun to sip!  It tastes so much better when it’s half off.  Other labels they offer include Cakebread, Rombauer, Stags Leap, Ferrari-Carano, The Prisoner, Ferrari-Carano and Duckhorn, to name a few.

Speaking of half off:  half-priced glasses of wine are offered on WEDNESDAYS in the bar and restaurant!! My friends and I are mostly Chardonnay girls, so we love that we can get glasses of Sonoma-Cutrer and La Crema for half off, or $8.  At the cocktail server’s suggestion, once I tried the ZD Chardonnay and it had a nice flavor to it.

Love this place! My favorite is to sit outside by the fire, if you want a quieter experience, but get there early!  Great ambiance and service!  I’ve been going here for years–the food and drink is always consistent, and so is the service!

Five Vines Wine Bar – San Juan Capistrano


Gather. Taste. Shop.

I’m so excited about Five Vines Wine Bar! They are located across the street from the movie theater right on the corner. A girlfriend and I stopped in on a Friday afternoon around 3:00 p.m. For a quick glass of wine and a bite. We were thrilled that we happened to stop there during happy hour (3-6:00 p.m.). We sat at the bar. Suzy, the owner, took care of us. We ordered a white wine on special ($5) and it was a nice Sauvignon Blanc that was bubbly and crisp but not sweet. We are normally Chardonnay girls so we were surprised at how good it was!

For a quick appetizer, Suzy recommended their homemade cheese ball. It’s her mom’s recipe and delicious! It comes with yummy crackers and grapes. Our bill with two glasses of wine and an appetizer including tip was $20! Love it!

Five Vines reminds me of a bar you’d find in Europe. You take a few steps down to the wine bar. Nice vibe, good wine, good prices and a whole list of crafted beers too!


Happy Hour: 3-6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday

Address: 31761 Camino Capistrano, #11, San Juan Capistrano, 92675

Telephone: 949.800.9145

Website: fivevineswine.com

Escape to Islands

islands logo

My brother and I went over to Islands a couple of nights ago.  I always forget about them for happy hour, but it’s pretty good


for a franchise.  Appetizers are $1 (chips & salsa) to $7.05 (buffalo wings).  Handcrafted beers $3.95, domestic beer (Coors Light) $2.95, $4.25 for “Islands Drinks” (Big Island Iced tea and various margaritas), $3.95 for a glass of Woodbridge wine, and well drinks go for $2.95.  Can’t beat it!  I love the beachside sliders with caramelized onions (or not!) for $3.95.  The tropical ambiance is cool and the waiters and bartenders are friendly!


If you are a football fan, their happy hour runs all night Mondays and Thursdays!  Plus, you can win prizes.  See bartender for details.

HAPPY HOURS:  Monday thru Friday 4:00-7:00 p.m.

27741 Crown Valley Pkwy., #217, Mission Viejo, 92691 (in the Kaleidescope Center)

Telephone:  949.582.2221

Website:  http://www.islandsrestaurants.com


Bru Grill and Market: 7 Days of Happy

bru outsideEat.  Bru.  Cru.

I’ve been going to Bru since it opened it’s doors a couple of years ago.  This is the “go to” happy hour for my friends and I.  Not only do they consistently serve William Hill Chardonnay for $5 a glass during happy hour, but their appetizers are so yummy!  Our favorites are the twice-baked potato fondue ($3) and the steak tips ($6).  Price range for happy hour appetizers is a very reasonable $2-$7.  If you need to, you can get out of there for under $20 a person.

The atmosphere is cool casual, there’s always a bubbling of energy in the bar and market.  The servers are friendly and the owner, Matt, is a good down to earth guy with incredible vision and leadership.  We can always count on the best customer service–especially from Nick Chambers (always wears a bow tie).

I’m not sure what their live music schedule is, but I noticed they had some good live sounds on a Friday night .

They now offer a brunch on Sundays, but I have not tried it yet.  Dinner is something I’d like to try, too.

bru inside


Sunday-Thursday, 2:00-7:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 2:00-6:00 p.m.

Address: 23730 El Toro Rd, Lake Forest  92630
Phone:  949305.5757