The Village Inn, 127 Marine Ave., Balboa Island. Open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. (714) 675-8300. People here tend to be a little older than the kids you find thronging many beachside bars. The atmosphere's informal, friendly and real. And the fireplace and couches in the corner make it just perfect for winter nights. Live music nightly.
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.