In Newport Beach, restaurants with dock space navigated the pandemic closures in part by offering dockside options. Now they’re seeing a payoff when it comes to accommodating customers arriving by way of Newport’s waterways.
While docking at local watering holes has long been a tradition in Newport Harbor, restaurateurs said they are planning to continue, and even expand, their dockside offerings.
This includes pre-ordering meals online for pickup at the dock, complimentary dock space for those who wish to travel by boat and dine indoors or on patios, or who want to park and stay in the comfort of their boat while servers deliver drinks and food. Think of dock-and-dine as a twist on the old drive-in diner concept.
Billy’s at the Beach general manager Ryan Hunter told the Epoch Times that while they currently offer weekend dockhands and dockside food service for guests, they’re planning to increase service weekly by summertime.
“Currently we offer dockhands from 11:30 a.m. to sunset on Saturdays and Sundays, and we’ll be expanding to seven days a week by summer,” Hunter said.
With four large slips on the waterfront side of the restaurant, he said the restaurant can handle eight-to-10 Duffy-sized boats (18–22 feet each) at a time. Larger vessels up to 35–40 feet are also permitted based on availability.
Many boaters prefer to use online ordering options available to pre-order food and drinks to pick up and enjoy during their cruising, Hunter said.
“This extends their time on the water and is especially convenient for those renting boats by the hour.”
Billy’s is located along Mariner’s Mile, a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway that is also home to waterfront dining establishments such as The Winery, Louie’s by the Bay, Rusty Pelican, and GuacAmigos. While not all have their own docks, calling ahead for tips on dock locations and availability is recommended.
A&O Restaurant, located at the Balboa Bay Resort, offers visitors an option to park their vessels at its guest slip after contacting the dockmaster in advance of arriving to assure space is available. Its large patio is dotted with cozy firepits and provides an up-close and personal view of some of the largest yachts in the harbor.
If restaurant docks get too crowded, guests can also tie up at several public docks located throughout the harbor, identified by their bright blue and white finial-topped pilings.
The Cannery Seafood of the Pacific boasts its own large visitor dock and is also located adjacent to a similar-sized public dock providing access a short walking distance to other restaurants such as Bluewater Grill, Buddha’s Favorite, The Dock, Bear Flag Fish Co., Shorebird Restaurant, and Lido House Hotel.
Nearby Lido Marina Village also has limited guest docks close to shopping and restaurants like Nobu, Malibu Farm, Zinqué, Fable & Spirit, and more.
Tucked off Pacific Coast Highway at Bayside Drive, Sol and Tavern House both offer visitor slips and walk-in dining. Even kayakers have been known to tie up to enjoy lunch or a sunset dinner.
For local and visiting veterans, Newport Harbor American Legion Post 291 is one of the largest American Legion Posts in the U.S and the only Post with its own Yacht Club and docks.
Located on the Balboa Peninsula, the Legion Post is adjacent to Marina Park community center complete with its own marina and visiting boat slips as well as the Lighthouse Bayside Café.