Stag Bar + Kitchen: restoration and expansion of a piece of Newport Beach history

In 1908, William Taft became president, Henry Ford produced the first Model T automobile, and Stag Bar and Hotel opened its doors. It is one of the oldest bars operating in Southern California.

In late 2015, a restoration and remodel included returning the bar to its former grandeur, expansion into the adjacent Stag Liquor for larger bathrooms, installation of a full kitchen, and additional banquette seating overlooking the boardwalk. The rooms upstairs have also been upgraded to luxury suites which are available for weekly and seasonal rentals.

Juice Cleanse is made with Ion Vodka, Scrappy’s Firewater Bitters, lemon, ginger syrup, and cayenne pepper. If you remember back in the early 2000’s, there was a lemon detox diet drink that was all the rage and tasted like lemonade with a spicy chile pepper kick. Well, Stag Bar has brought this back, but transformed it into a fancy libation. The vodka is apparent but not overwhelming. The lemon and ginger refresh the palate as the cayenne pepper gives your tongue and lips a spicy kick. Rating: 5/5

Meatball Skillet ($8) is your choice of house-grind, chicken balls, or stag balls topped with your choice of grandma’s marinara or herb cream sauce and choice of mozzarella, ricotta, or provolone. I went with the stag balls topped with grandma’s marinara, and mozzarella cheese. The meatballs are meaty and juicy with a tasty flavor from the mix of venison and pork. The marinara is sweet and slightly spicy, but it would be nice to have a little more for dipping. The cheese is creamy and gooey. Rating: 4/5

Abe Froman “The Sausage King of Chicago” Pizza ($8 for 8” / $16 for $16”) is hand-tossed crust topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, fennel, and leek. I had to get this pizza on name alone since I am a HUGE John Hughes film fan and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of my favorites. It is “saucy” like the Sausage King of Chicago. The pizza has a good mix of toppings from the sausage, creamy mozzarella, zesty flavor from the sauce, and herbaceous flavor from the fennel and leeks. The pizza is more Neapolitan-style with a bubbly crust versus a Chicago deep-dish pie. Rating: 5/5

French Fries ($3) can be ordered regular or tossed in garlic parmesan. Of course I had to get the garlic-parm. Their fries taste very different with a flavor reminiscent of mashed potatoes, but are super crispy on the outside. The garlic parmesan is a great flavor for fries but needs more garlic, at least for me. Rating: 3/5

Sweet Chili Wings ($7) is something a little different than I am used to. When I think sweet chili sauce, I think of a light sauce with sweetness and chili flakes suspended in the sauce. This sauce reminded me more of a mole as it was very dark and caramelized. The chicken wings themselves are juicy and tender. I might try the buffalo wings next time. Rating: 3/5

Meatball Slider ($3 each) is your choice of house grind, chicken balls, or stag balls topped with your choice of grandma’s marinara or herb cream sauce and choice of mozzarella, ricotta, or provolone. I went with house grind balls, herb cream sauce, and provolone. The bread makes it much more filling than just the balls alone. The house grind balls are meaty and juicy. The cream sauce and provolone work great together. Rating: 4/5

Enjoy some good food, drinks, and history at Stag Bar + Kitchen! Now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays!

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Stag Bar + Kitchen
121 McFadden Pl.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Hours: Daily from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Happy Hour – Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Brunch – Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Parking: Metered parking lot
Dog-friendly: No
Reservations: No, first come-first serve (avoid peak meal times for a shorter wait)

Stag Bar + Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato