136 E. Commonwealth
Fullerton, CA 92832
There are few places that I feel more comfortable in than bars. Sitting back, having food and drinks with friends, and catching up on each others lives are just some of the best memories I have when going out. I like the people watching as well. On the other hand, I have never been too comfortable in nightclubs. The loud music, all the people dressing to impress, and cover charges have never been my thing. Some of my favorite bars are located in Fullerton, so I was pretty excited to hear about a new joint opening up in the same area. I was even more excited when I was asked to attend a media preview of the new bar on the block, Hopscotch.
This newest bar venture in Fullerton has been teasing their Facebook fans about opening for awhile. The day is finally close. According to their Facebook page, they are set to open November 27th. This is good news for their over 1,300 fans of this, as yet not open for business tavern. If they already have this many fans without being open, they just might have a hit on their hands.
Hopscotch is located in the old Spadra spot, which also used to house the Pacific Electric Railway Depot. Hopscotch is different from most bars in the downtown area because they are focusing on whiskey, craft beers, and slow cooked food items. In fact, they are going to be carrying 105 small batch whiskey's. That is quite a lot to try. Before we got to try any of the drinks we took a few pictures of the place.
The dining room is located a few steps down from the bar area, for a more cozy atmosphere. The bar area features high top tables, liquor quotes by famous people inscribed on the walls, animal heads hanging in various areas, a Hopscotch diagram on the floor, and a penny-farthing hanging from the rafters. This old time bicycle is Hopscotch's logo, and is emblazoned on their t-shirts and walls. The bar is dominated by wood and earth tones, which really lends to the rustic vibe here. The bar is made out of old whiskey barrels, and really lends a unique aspect to the place.
My friend Clay, who went with me to this event is a real connoisseur of whiskeys and bourbons. He was very impressed with the wide variety served at Hopscotch. He was the one that ordered the Woodford Reserve on ice. This always seems to be his drink of choice when we go out. I admit I am not much of a whiskey or bourbon drinker, but I tried two of their signature cocktails which featured whiskey. The Morning Glory was served in the martini glass. I did not catch all of what came in this labor intensive drink, but I do know that it involved using an egg. This was my favorite drink of the night. The other drink I had was the Merryweather. In this one I could definitely taste the alcohol. Again, I did not catch what was in this one, because I was very preoccupied by the food that had started coming out of the kitchen.
I have never been a fan of Deviled Eggs, but Clay tried the ones here. He said the mustard on these was very prominent. The Crackling Rosemary Flatbread was very much more my style. This flatbread really popped with flavor. This appetizer was topped with butter, rosemary, and crunchy pork cracklins. The pork on top gave this a nice little crunch, and the bread portion of this reminded me of the cheese bread at La Cave and Northwood's Inn. I had to limit myself to only three slices, because I knew more was on the way.
Dinner was served buffet style for our media event. The main event was the Pulled Pork and the BBQ Beef. The meats at Hopscotch are cooked low and slow to help ensure that they are very tender, with great flavors. To help enhance the meats they offer four different sauces. I only tried the Bold and Tangy, which I liked, but the St. Louis Sweet will be my choice on future visits here. Side items are not to be overlooked here either. I am a harsh critic when it comes to baked beans, but I really enjoyed the one here. They were not over the top sweet, but still had enough flavor to keep my interest. The Potato Salad was another solid side item. The potatoes were cooked perfectly, with a slight mustard twinge to it. One of the better restaurant potato salads we have had.
The head chef at Hopscotch is Kent Pawlowski, who was the Regional Executive Chef at Mastro's Steakhouse, before he left in 2008 to work in Tbilisi, Georgia at The OVAL Restaurant. He is back in the States now, and serving up this ButterSCOTCH Cake, which is very similar to the something you can get at one of his former employers. This version is not as moist on the inside, but just as good. It was infused with some scotch, which I just got a hint of, and topped with a very well made whipped topping. The raspberry sauce drizzled on the plate really complimented this dessert well. Maybe because Hostess has been in the news lately, but this dessert kind of reminded me of the Hostess O's Raspberry Filled Donuts. This dessert is a must get when coming to Hopscotch.
I am really looking forward to seeing how people will receive Hopscotch and seeing if the owners stay true to their passion of what they envision this place to be. So many places start out as one thing, and then turn into something completely different, based on what the public wants or demands. If tonight is any indication, the owners will not have to tweak their concept very much at all. The atmosphere was pretty laid back and comfortable, the bar setup was on point, and the food promises to bring in lots of people. I am excited to come back and try one of their Juicy Lucy Burgers, which is a cheese stuffed burger, originated in Minnesota. After our first impression, it will not take us too long to get back to Hopscotch again.
We would really like to thank all of the people at Hopscotch for making us feel so welcome. Co-owners, Bryan Gonzalez and Rob Marshall were nice enough to answer all of our questions, and share what they expect Hopscotch to be. Thanks also go out to all of the employees here that made the night excellent, and kept things running smoothly. Another big thank you goes out to Rob Hallstrom, from 714 Media, for thinking of including us at this great event. Lastly, thanks to my partner in crime on this outing Clay. Glad you could experience this whiskey lovers paradise with me.
For more information on Hopscotch, check out their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/hopscotchfullerton