The Copper Door: A Hidden Historic Downtown Santa Ana Bar
Do you Yelp? And no, I don’t mean cry out in help. I mean Yelp. It’s a review site I discovered back in 2009. At this moment, I don’t recall how I came across it. I just remember thinking “why didn’t I know about this earlier?” and then I decided it would be my new project.
Along the way, I discovered a community within Yelp. The community (some amazing and wonderful friends) helped me uncover all the awesome events and it was one of those events that led me to the Copper Door last week. Located in downtown Santa Ana, this bar isn’t easy to spot. I drove slowly up the street in search of guess what? A Copper Door! I found parking nearby (luckily) and decided to navigate on foot. Bless my good fortune, I spotted a few Yelpers and after an ID check, I was shown a set of stairs leading to what felt like nowhere. There is a bar down there, right? You’re not leading me to a secret basement?
At the end of my descent and through a curtain, I entered a den. A man cave. A dim space. It felt as though I was burrowing through a hole or digging until I found something. It took my eyes a while to adjust to my surroundings. Where was I? I spotted a few pool tables, an oblong bar area to my right, a long wooden table, and someone finally yelled “Hey Suki!”
The first impression had me a little mystified. I’m not really a bar person but I can dig this. I’m all about the strange and unusual and something about being underground, hard to find, and elusive was appealing. There really is a copper door but good luck finding it. Since it is underground, prepare yourself for a musky cedar odor. Acoustics are bad but there is an ambitious DJ who will try and spin some myriad of musical selections that you might end up liking after a round of beers. Muster up that energy for the dance floor that is supposedly in the works. Rumor has it owners Davin and Marta Gumm brought the property with a grandfathered beer license. I met a new friend from LA and we sampled their Fruli Strawberry Belgium Blond. I’m not a fan of anything overwhelmingly sweet and I expected a sick strawberry syrupy beer but the flavor was refreshing and it resembled more of a sparkling strawberry beer. The strawberry flavor was subtle. I could easily drink another or two or three.
While the selection of beer is vast, the bar unfortunately doesn’t sell food. The back counter behind the bar is decorated with colorful mason jars and there you’ll find their assortment of beer nuts. We took advantage of the opportunity to sample the roasted peanuts, smoked almonds, wasabi, chili cornuts, and pistachios.
The Copper Door located near Proof Bar (Ah ha! Secret location revealed!) is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. If you’re looking for parking, I turned on 3rd street off of Broadway and parked near the structure but there’s also a drugstore nearby. Not sure if they tow though. Good luck. Don’t get lost once inside and enjoy the vibe.