Lately I’ve been looking for a casual late-night hangout that isn’t bro-infested with puke-stained floors. Fullerton- I’m looking at you.
Hotel Huntington Beach’s lounge and bistro, Bar Rouge, is Orange County’s much-needed chic, Vegas-like oasis among a plethora of college-aged targeted clubs and bars. With an easy to find location (located inside Hotel HB) affordable pricing, and a posh atmosphere, lounging at Bar Rouge is like finally finding the perfect shade of red lipstick.
I was informed that the lounge was recently remodeled to radiate an “East meets West vibe.” The new renovation brought to mind an uncanny likeness to that of Las Vegas’s Tao. A few drinks in and I felt like I was chilling in a swanky Japanese getaway.
Upon entering Bar Rouge via Hotel HB’s front entrance, you see a VIP lounge area featuring plush couch seating to your immediate left. This area accommodates two parties in an intimate, wraparound setting and has enough pillows to encourage a drunken pillow fight on Thursday’s GNO. Countless, crimson-colored kanji blocks line the walls while delicate lantern lights hang from the ceiling. On the other side of the venue are booths and the all-too-important bar.
Bar Rouge hits a home run with their drink offerings. The seasonal specialty items created by mixologist Christopher Brooks feature refreshing citrus and mint flavors. I asked my hostess for the most popular drink and was quickly offered the Rouge Vojito. The red cocktail was refreshing and full in flavor. The next cocktail I tried was the Encore Elixir, which tasted like an alcoholic mango and orange creamsicle.
I had the opportunity to preview several new menu additions that were uniquely crafted by Chef Wendie Huffman:
Coconut Shrimp– A balanced batter to shrimp ratio with a nice hint of coconut that isn’t too overwhelming. The tantalizing chili sauce has a nice kick of uncomfortable spicy that doesn’t stay on the tongue for too long.
Made-to-order Veggie Plate: Upon informing my hostess that I’m a pescetarian, I was quickly served a gourmet plate of mushrooms tossed in red wine sauce and seasoned, grilled asparagus. Actually I take that back- more like, my table was served a gourmet plate of veggies while I was in the restroom. You know an establishment is doing something right when meat fans start nomming on a plate of veggies.
Corned Beef Hash Grinder: My carnivore friends informed me that this was hands down the best dish. I’m guessing it was due to the eggy excess dripping into the meat and warm sliced potatoes.
Flatbreads: The smoked salmon flatbread was pretty good but had too much raw onion and dill for my taste. As a smoked salmon purist, I wasn’t too enthused that the smoked salmon was placed on the flatbread prior to cooking. The BLT flatbread featured, wait for it… candied bacon.
Lobster Roll: The lobster roll featured a slightly spicy and tangy brie-based sauce with crunchy bits of celery on a baguette. If you’re looking for a heavier meal option, this would be a good choice.
And now for the WOW factor. Bar Rouge features an indoor heated pool that’s 4 feet deep. Patrons can expect poolside mimosa brunch and night swim events in the near future. Dare I quote from Gretchen Wieners and say “Omg, that’s so fetch!”
7667 Center Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA
11am-2am (21+ after 10pm)
$4 – $12
Monday: Monday Night Football
Tuesday: Two-for Tuesday
Wednesday: Wine-Down Wednesday
Thursday: Girls Night Out
Friday: Fan Friday
Sunday: Local Love
Weekdays 5pm-8pm, all day Mondays