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THE CORNER BAR

Lazy Days and Jeans Nights at the Fisherman's

February 21, 1991|CHRISTA CONWAY

You'd think Southern California would be stuffed with bars like this: easy, beachfront, where sandy patrons can kick off their thongs, nibble on seafood and sip a cool one.

Well, at least there's the Fisherman's.

Most of Orange County's waterfront bars are tucked inside upscale restaurants, making them inaccessible to those enjoying a lazy beach day or a T-shirt and jeans kind of evening. But at the Fisherman's--anchored at the base of the San Clemente pier--bare feet and bathing suits are apropos for day, denim and high tops just right for night.

Also just right: the Trestle, a popular, frosty Midori-and-coconut concoction that's among several of the bar's cocktails named after a local surfing spot. Cottons, made with rum, Triple Sec, pineapple and orange juice, is another best seller. ("Nixon would have loved it," the menu reads.)

Maybe it's the view, though, that makes the drinks taste so good. Weekend days are great on the sunny patio, where deck-shoed yuppies, off-duty Marines and salty-haired teens look out on the shoreline that stretches to the cliffs at Dana Point.

The Fisherman's is a prime people-watching place, too. Go ahead and stay a couple of hours--the waitresses almost seem disappointed if you don't.

If the salt air whets your appetite, try the Fisherman's chowder, made with chunks of fresh fish, snow crab and vegetables in a tomato broth (served in a plastic foam container with a plastic spoon). The accompanying fresh sourdough bread is perfect for dipping.

Appetizers also include steamed clams, oysters on the half shell, smoked fish and seafood salad.

The Fisherman's has three other locations: the original in Seattle, Oceanside pier and the newest, at the end of Newport Pier.

The Fisherman's, 611 Avenue Victoria, San Clemente. Open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight. (714) 498-6390.

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