Late Night Alternatives for Meeting and Mingling that Aren’t Bars

For night owls living in recovery, it can be a challenge finding a place to share a sense of community with those around you that isn’t a bar.

The good news is – there’s no shortage of fun late-night options in Orange County where you can socialize and build relationships in positive and healthy ways!

Let’s explore some of the many ways to mingle in OC that doesn’t involve drinking or drugs.

Hiking groups

The Orange County Hiking Club is a nonprofit who seeks to empower the community through nature, encouraging people to explore the hills, forest, deserts, and rivers of California through leading year-round hikes and outdoor adventures. Holding events everywhere from the Cleveland National Forest to the Sierras and beyond, the OC Hiking Club also works with underserved and at-risk youth and runs a trail stewardship program to protect and preserve the state’s trails.

The Sierra Club also does evening hikes at Turtle Rock Park in Irvine on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30, providing a fun 4-7 mile hike underneath the stars in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

All state parks and hiking trails throughout Orange County are alcohol and drug-free zones.

Pick up soccer

It’s the world’s game, and it’s here in Orange County! There are a number of pick up soccer groups in Tustin and Irvine, with co-ed options for all skill levels. Soccer is a great way to meet people from different backgrounds and is easy to play – all you need is a ball, two goals, and a field, and you’re good to go.

The Orange County Soccer Club also plays professionally in the USL Championship and is a fun outing to catch a match at the beautiful new Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine.  

Book clubs

The Mission Viejo Library offers evening programs such as the Monday Night Mysteries Book Club, a monthly meetup to discuss both well-known and more cryptic mystery books. The Mission Viejo Library also offers sober night activities like author presentations and crafting classes.

Art classes

The Potocki Center for the Arts in Mission Viejo offers a variety of evening classes in music, theatre, jewelry-making, painting, knitting, and other DIY activities amongst local exhibits and art shows. Muddy’s Studio in Santa Ana also offers highly-recommended pottery classes until 9 pm.

As it says on the Potocki Center’s website, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso.

Go Kart

If you’re looking for a more high octane way to blow off some steam, K1 Speed fulfills your need for speed. They’re open as late as midnight on Saturdays so this makes for a great option for weekend nights. With locations in both Irvine and Anaheim, K1 is convenient for everyone in Orange County.

Board games

Comic Quest in Lake Forest has board game nights every Thursday starting at 7 pm, with a whole host of other events taking place throughout the week. Bring a friend or make new friends at this great little spot in southern Orange County.

Take in the arts

Maverick Theater in Fullerton hosts a wide array of nighttime entertainment that ranges from puppetry to improv. Meanwhile, Newport Dunes hosts fun Movies on the Beach summer series that allows you to bring your own picnic and take in some cinema from a pristine location.

Bowling leagues

Bowlmor in Tustin, Concourse Bowling Center in Anaheim, Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, and Saddleback Lanes in Mission Viejo, and Forest Lanes in Lake Forest are all open until midnight from Sunday to Thursday and even later Fridays and Saturdays (mostly 1 or 2 am). Each establishment is a fun place to meet or bring friends, and all have leagues you can join.

Boba tea bars

Boba tea bars are a great place to link up with friends, and most of them are open late.

Class 302 has two locations in Irvine and is open until midnight on weeknights and 1 am on Friday and Saturday. Snow Monster has locations in Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Westminster and is open until midnight every day. Harmony Tea Bar in Mission Viejo is open until 11 pm on weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Lollicup has two Irvine locations that are open until 11:30 pm every night and until midnight on Friday and Saturday at the Jeffrey Road location.


For those who love the classic feel of being in a diner after dark, you’re in luck! There are several open 24 hours a day in OC, including Victory Diner in Orange, Mae’s Cafe in Garden Grove, Harbor House Cafe in Sunset Beach and Dana Point, and Norms in Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Orange.

Late night eats

For something a little bit different from the diner experience, there is BCD Tofu House, in Irvine and Garden Grove, which specializes in yummy Korean comfort food that literally sizzles in front of you. It’s a great place to meet with friends over a spicy kimchi tofu bowl. And it’s open 24 hours a day!

Staying in the Korean lane, Gen Korean BBQ in Tustin and Huntington Beach is open until midnight every day and is known for its all-you-can-eat fare. For some tasty Cuban cuisine, check out Habana in Costa Mesa, where you can explore delights such as ropa vieja, bocaditos, and roasted half chicken until 1 AM on weeknights and 2 AM on Friday and Saturday. Taqueria de Ande has 24-hour locations in Santa Ana, Orange, Fullerton, and more and is a lovely place to take in the evening over $1.35 tacos.

Late night coffee

Wind down at The Night Owl in Fullerton, a cool and funky locale that also features local art and music and is open until midnight. Kona Loa Coffee has locations in Irvine and Mission Viejo and is open until 11, while the Santa Ana Starbucks is open 24 hours.  

We hope you find joy in some (or all!) of the activities and places on this list while feeling empowered by activities that involve good, old-fashioned fun without dependence on drugs and alcohol for a positive experience.

If you’d like to know more about living a fulfilling and fruitful life of recovery, our compassionate team here at Windward Way is happy to speak with you about the many treatment options we offer. Our counselors are standing by to answer any questions you may have, and we look forward to helping you achieve a better and more joyous tomorrow!

Contact us today or give us a call at (855) 491-7694. We look forward to hearing from you!

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