Disney Drinksby Megan Walker, contributing writer
I've always said, and firmly believe, that the Disneyland Resort is one of the best places to celebrate. Whether it's your birthday, anniversary, or just a special night out, Disneyland can be a fantastic place to celebrate and have a good time with your loved ones, and, if you're over 21, you might just want to celebrate with a drink. While alcohol is not served at Disneyland Park (except in Club 33, but that's such a minor exception it's not worth discussing here), there are plenty of places that serve drinks in Disney California Adventure Park, Downtown Disney, and the resort hotels. Let's take a look at some of the best places to grab a drink and celebrate around the Disneyland Resort.
Disney California Adventure Park
Restaurants in DCA also offer alcoholic beverages, but this focuses on just the bars or lounges located in the park.
Karl Strauss Beer Truck
The Karl Strauss Beer Truck is situated right outside the side entrance of Cars Land, near the Pacific Wharf dining area. It's simply a beer truck offering multiple craft beers as well as snacks like pretzels. It's very similar to the Bayside Brews beer cart, nothing special, but a good place for a beer if that's what you're feeling like.
Bayside Brews, located in Paradise Pier, is a simple beer cart, but a great stop if you're looking for a quick drink to have while walking through the park. The cart has multiple beers on tap and also serves up "gourmet" pretzels in addition to the classic Mickey Mouse pretzels. Beer here averages about $8 a glass and they also serve a few wines for anyone not interested in beer.
Carthay Circle Lounge
Carthay Circle Lounge is by far one of my favorite bars throughout the entire Disneyland Resort. The atmosphere in the Carthay Circle Lounge is what sets it above and beyond any other bar on resort property. The theming of the lounge is the same as throughout the restaurant—old Hollywood style—and it serves as a great place to relax and enjoy some drinks while taking a break from the park. I also find that Carthay Circle Lounge offers a great appetizer menu with a fantastic Queso Fundido that I could eat every time I'm in the park. The lounge here offers a full bar, many different wines and beer, as well as a special cocktail menu that differs from the generic park drink menu. The mojito is fantastic here, as is Walt's favorite, the Scotch Kiss, but my all time favorite is Ernest's Daiquiri. I'm drooling right as I type this just thinking about it. The lounge here is very popular and often has a small line outside, but I've never waited much more than 10 minutes for a table, so don't be terribly discouraged if you see a gathering out front.
Cove Bar in Paradise Pier used to be one of my favorite places to hang out at the parks, but as more people learned about the bar and its easy-to-spot location at the front of the pier, it's become very busy as of late. They recently added more seating, but I honestly haven't noticed a difference in wait time since then, so be warned: You'll be in for a long wait here most of the time. Boasting their famous lobster nachos and tri-tip sliders, Cove Bar has a good food menu, but the bar menu is mostly the generic parks drink menu, although if you have a drink in mind they'll most likely make it. Cove Bar also has a "secret menu" that is easily found on Google, and those are the drinks worth ordering. If it's your first time, make sure you get a "Mickey's Fun Wheel," it really is a right-of-passage for Cove Bar first-timers, and makes for a great picture.
Alfresco Tasting Terrace, Mendocino Terrace, Sonoma Terrace
Located near the Wine Country section of DCA, across from Cars Land, these "terraces" are a great place for wine aficionados to sit back and relax for a while (and enjoy a tasting, or two). If you're not a wine fan, they also offer some beers (especially Sonoma Terrace) and non-alcoholic drinks. All of these places also offer snacks and appetizers to pair with your wine, mainly meats, cheeses, and snack foods, like pretzels and such. I'm not much of a wine-fan so I don't generally stop in these places, but they are nice, quiet, relaxing places to sit for a while, whether or not you're interested in the wine.
Rita's Baja Blenders
This cart is also located in the Pacific Wharf dining area, near Cars Land and is a fun little stand for tasty margaritas. Situated perfectly near Cocina Cucamonga, if you're looking for something refreshing, look no further. Rita's Baja Blenders offers some tasty, refreshing margaritas (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that are perfect for a hot summer day in the parks.
Disneyland Resort Hotels
The restaurants in the Disneyland Resort Hotels also offer alcoholic beverages, but this focuses on just the bars or lounges at the hotels.
Hearthstone Lounge (Grand Californian)
Located in the heart of the lobby of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, the Hearthstone Lounge is one of the coziest places to relax in the entire resort. It is highly reminiscent of a winter lodge bar, complete with comfy sofas and a fireplace to keep you warm during those chilly Southern California nights. The lounge here also offers a pretty decent menu with lots of different snacks and appetizers to enjoy with your drink.
Surfside Lounge (Paradise Pier)
I love Disney's Paradise Pier, but this lounge doesn't do a whole lot for me. It sits in the lobby near the waiting area for the restaurant and therefore tends to be very busy with lots of people bustling around. There also seems to always be a lot of families and kids around, so if you're looking to get away from that for a while, this isn't the place to be. Of course, if you're a guest at the Paradise Pier this is a perfectly fine place to stop for a drink, but I wouldn't go out of your way.
Steakhouse 55 Lounge (Disneyland Hotel)
The Steakhouse 55 Lounge is very small, situated right outside of the restaurant, and mainly serves as a waiting area for those dining at the restaurant, but if you're looking for a quick drink or place to sit down this can serve that purpose. I've been to this lounge a couple of times and haven't found it to be anything special, I would much rather go across the pool to the Tiki Bar.
Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar (Disneyland Hotel)
It's an incredibly close tie with the Carthay Circle Lounge in DCA, but Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, located near the pool area of the Disneyland Hotel, nudges out and wins for my favorite bar or lounge on the entire resort property. I am a huge Tiki bar fan so I may be a little biased, but I think this is one of the best places on Disney property. The theming is top-notch here and every nook and cranny of this place screams Tiki bar. The bartenders here are always fantastic and have a lot energy.
This bar has some of the most interesting drinks and they taste delicious, as well. If you're with a group, make sure you get the Uh-Oa!, it serves as a fantastic celebratory drink.
My personal favorite drink here, however, is the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum; it is so good. I stop here just about every single time I'm at the resort and not just for drinks either; I find their food menu to be one of the best set of appetizers on resort property. If you haven't already visited Trader Sam's, make sure it is at the top of your to-do list for your next trip to the Resort.
Just about every restaurant in Downtown Disney serves alcohol. This article would go on forever if I talked about every bar in the Downtown Disney district. Instead I will just point out my favorite bar at Downtown Disney: Uva Bar. Located in the heart of Downtown Disney, smack dab in the middle, Uva Bar is an open bar surrounded by the shops of Downtown Disney. It's a fun place to sit down, relax, and enjoy a drink and some appetizers. They have a wide variety of "special drinks" on their menu, in addition to any other drink you can think of, as well as some tasty food. This is a great place for an afternoon break, or a late night out with friends, especially with the lights and bustle of Downtown Disney adding to the experience.
If you're looking for some fun places to relax and have fun with a couple of drinks at The Disneyland Resort, you have a lot of options, from generic carts and restaurants to fun-themed bars and lounges. Whatever you're looking for, you can find it somewhere on property. As with any situation, be careful and be smart—Disneyland is not the place to overdo it—enjoy the atmosphere and remember to have fun.