The Blue Beet Cafe, 107 21st St., Newport Beach. Open daily, 11:30 to 2 a.m. (714) 675-2338. Tucked into an alley between storefronts facing the Newport Pier, this bar isn't the easiest to find. But its friendly, good cheer makes it worth the search. Patrons are mainly young and single, and there's usually a guy in the back room playing the guitar.
Dillman's, 801 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. (714) 673-7726. A noble place, resolutely unfashionable, Dillman's satisfies the most important requirements of the serious bar-goer: Keep it dark, keep it quiet and keep 'em coming.
The Harp Inn, 130 17th St., Costa Mesa. (714) 646-8855. A bar without pretense for people who'd rather get poked in the eye than take a drink in some place like Irvine. They have OK Irish music here on the weekends; occasionally an exuberant patron takes the stage about closing time to work out on a Celtic folk song or two. Plus which, they put out a happy hour spread of Ritz crackers and tuna fish.