Newport Coast, California.

As soon as you arrive in Newport you will be intoxicated by the sophisticated charm of this city.  The vibe is beach casual but completely upscale. Think billionaires in flip flops and you will get a clear picture of the culture inherent in this town. The city is easy to navigate and there’s plenty to do in this resort town.  This guide will make sure you don’t miss the best of Newport’s dining and drinking.

Toast the Sunset

Begin your weekend on the happiest note with one of the signature oceanfront happy hours. Directly south of Newport Coast is border town Laguna Beach—one of the best nearby hot spots for enjoying cocktails with an unobstructed ocean view. Head straight to The Rooftop Lounge, where a perfectly muddled minty mojito, garnished with fresh tropical fruit, is the specialty of the house.  The appetizer menu pairs well with any of the featured tropical cocktails. The warm baby brie with wild berry sauce and toasted almonds is a local favorite. Of course, you can never go wrong with the ahi poke or spicy shrimp salsa.  This menu has so many delicious choices you may well end up turning your happy hour into dinner. Be sure to stay for sunset and watch as the crimson hues transform the horizon.

Cap it off with a Night Cap

Before heading back to your accommodations, stop off at the Island Hotel’s Palm Terrace Lounge, where you can cozy up in sofa-style seat and sip the martini of the day or one of the unique, fresh, herb-infused cocktails while enjoying live music. Jimmy Hopper, whose melodious voice has delighted audiences from New York to Las Vegas, is a frequent entertainer.  Late-night diners will enjoy the small plate specialties available on the bar menu. The macaroni and cheese, prepared gourmet style with Taleggio cheese and crushed truffles, is a perfect savory snack for after-hours appetites.

Beach Walk and Breakfast

Start your day with a walk along Crystal Cove Beach. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins leaping or even whales spouting during their season. Crystal Cove’s shoreline offers one of Newport’s best beach walks. Afterwards, grab an ocean-view seat at the Beachcomber Cafe, perched right on the sand, where you can enjoy the best breakfast offered in Newport. Try the French toast, made of black currant brioche, baked soufflé style in rich, creamy vanilla custard. No syrup required for this decadent taste of culinary heaven.

Seafood by the Sea

Listen to the waves crash as you dine on any of the seafood lover’s favorites. Lobster, king crab legs and abalone are among the delicacies offered at 21 Oceanfront.  There are plenty of options for meat eaters as well, with hearty bone-in steak, grilled to perfection, or delicately sliced filet, Diane style. The wine list, featuring the likes of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild ’18 offered at $3800 a bottle, will satisfy the most selective connoisseur. Of course, you can always bring your own favorite wine and pay the $20 corkage fee.

Champagne Break

Across the bay is the waterfront, patio dining eatery known as the Back Bay Bistro. Just row up to the dock, disembark and enjoy the Sunday Champagne brunch, voted among the top 50 in the U.S. The colossal seafood spread and personalized omelet station are among the all-you-can-eat offerings that make this $32 per person meal a great way to sate—without interrupting your scenic reprieve.

Treats for the Trip Home

If you don’t have a Sprinkles Cupcakes in your hometown (or even if you do but have a long trip home), make one last stop at this delectable bakery and get a box of your favorite flavored confections. There are over two dozen varieties, some of which are baked daily and others on rotating schedules. The Red Velvet, which is everyone’s favorite, comes in regular, vegan and gluten free. There is even a dog cupcake to take home to help assuage any guilt when retrieving Fido, Spot or whoever from your neighborhood pet boarding facility.

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