The owners of Salud! Restaurant and Bar must have been toasting the planned success of their new establishment when they came up with this name. And, given the crowds that pack the place, there's every reason to party.
Salud! is a great after-work pit stop. Drinks are well-stirred and the happy hour buffet table is well-stocked with spicy finger foods, including blue corn chips, buffalo wings and taquitos.
The majority of the customers come in to share a few drinks in the bar with their co-workers or to wait for the next show at a nearby movie theater complex. And they come to Salud! for good reason.
Once inside, one can't help but feel like it's fiesta time. Papier-mache parrots and chintzy decorations hang from wooden rafters. On Tuesday nights mariachis stroll through the crowd and there are a taco bar and beer wells. The chatter level can get high, especially during the televised games, so be prepared to get a buzzing in the ears--or escape onto the outdoor patio.
A glass-enclosed patio faces the parking lot of the Holiday Health Spa. (Major jock watch alert!) Not that everyone who sits outside is there to catch a glimpse of the veritable hunks, and leotard-clad hunkettes, ambling to and from their cars. The patio is in front of the restaurant, so it's also a good spot to cruise the suits as they wander into the bar. Not that everyone at the bar is cruising. . . .
Whatever you're toasting (or whomever you're chasing), Salud! is an upbeat place to escape office drudgery and get on with the serious business of partying.
Salud!, 17041 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach. Open Mondays through Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays till midnight; Sundays, 4 to 11 p.m. (714) 842-1194.