Review of the Cove Bar at Disney California Adventure

Overlooking Paradise Pier, the Cove Bar at Disney California Adventure offers scrumptious snacks, lip-smacking libations, and arguably one of the best views in the park for the night-time spectacular World of Color.

If you’re planning a visit to the Cove Bar specifically for the World of Color viewing it should be noted that the venue closes to new guests 30-45 minutes prior to the start of the show, and the bar is only accessible during the first performance.

Check-in podium at the Cove Bar entrance

On the night we visited, there were 4 adults in our party and we arrived at the bar around 7:45 pm for the 9:00 show.  There were 3-4 couples in line ahead of us and a host came out to explain to us that while there was no cover charge to watch World of Color, the seating was first-come, first-serve and there was no guarantee we’d get a table before they closed.   I’ll admit, there was a quiet moment of panic among our group in trying to determine if we should stay or go.  A couple of the people in line ahead of us decided to head elsewhere, so we opted to wait it out. Within 10 minutes we were seated, and apparently, we were sprinkled with a bit of pixie dust on our way in because we were given the best seat in the house.  Check out that view!

Spectacular view of Paradise Pier from our table

There are two different seating options, either bar stools surrounding a counter or tables & chairs lining the perimeter.  In keeping with the old-timey boardwalk theme, the bar has a lot of fun decor all over the walls.

Seating inside the Cove Bar
Behind the bar

Once we settled in, we dove into the menu.  Like many of the bars & lounges at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, the Cove Bar has a menu that includes standard cocktails and beers, appetizers, and a few specialty offerings. Tracy and I decided to each try one of the Cove Bar’s exclusive cocktails.

Cove Bar Menu
Specialty Cocktails

I tried the Sideshow Novel-Tea, and while initially a bit on strong side, it was great once you mixed in the strawberry puree.  I’d almost say it was refreshing. I tried a sip of the martini and it was very flavorful and Tracy seemed to really enjoy it, too.

Before we arrived, the four of us decided that we’d all share a few different appetizers from the menu and just make dinner out of it.  The bar is well-known for their lobster nachos, so that was a definite.  From there, well, it took a few minutes to decided because it all sounded so good.

Appetizer menu

We decided on another order of nachos, but asked them to swap the lobster for chicken (blasphemy, I know – I’m just not a big fan of seafood), Tri Tip Sliders, Barbecue Chicken Pizza, and the Bayside Fish Tacos,. Yes, we were hungry!

Lobster Nachos – $12.49

The nachos were spectacular and both plates quickly disappeared!  Although I have to say, the chicken nachos were the clear winner over the lobster.  The lobster wasn’t very fresh and was slightly fishy tasting (more so than it should be), while the chicken had a hearty char-grilled flavor. The toppings throughout both nachos were plentiful, and they were not at all chintzy with the cheese in the underlying layers. The chipotle sauce used in lieu of sour cream was a nice touch, as well.

Chicken Nachos (Special Request)
Tri Tip Sliders – $9.99

The sliders were good, but the flavor balance seemed to be slightly off.  The meat was tender, albeit not very flavorful.  The Mojo Criollo sauce was very heavy with garlic, while I love me some garlic, it was just the only thing I could taste.  They put the sauce on the meat rather than on the bread, leaving the bread a bit dry.  These certainly don’t give the Carthay Circle Theater’s Kobe Beef Sliders a run for their money, but they weren’t bad either.  I would order them again, I may just take a sec to swipe the sauce onto the bread myself.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza – $10.99

Second only to the nachos, the pizza was a big hit with everyone.  Everything about this was good; the crust, cheese, toppings, all of it.  It was fresh and hit all of the right points.  I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again.

Bayside Fish Tacos – $9.99

The only let down of all that we ordered were the Bayside Fish Tacos.  While I readily admit I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, I do enjoy fish tacos.  Unfortunately, these were not at all fresh.  The meat was dry and extremely fishy tasting, the lime couldn’t even calm down the fishiness.  Everything else about them was good, and I really wanted to enjoy these but I just couldn’t.  The consensus of the table was the same.

About 10 minutes before show time, they did a final call for the bar.  Once our bellies and our drinks were full, we chatted and enjoyed the atmosphere until the start of the show.  At this point, we noticed that our panic was for nothing and most of the bar had emptied. I’m guessing because the seats closer to the bar’s main entrance don’t really offer a great vantage point for World of Color, being that the seats are further back and almost parallel with the show’s water screens.  Our table, however, was furthest down the line and closest to Ariel’s Grotto, giving us the best seat in the house.  It seemed that any of the tables along our row had a great view.  I can’t think of any other place where you can sit comfortably (with a drink!) and watch the show.  Heaven.

Credit the lack of wind that night, but we didn’t feel much over spray from the fountains at all.  Although we could really feel the heat from the fire during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence.

To get an even better idea of the view, you can check out the video below featuring the show’s finale.  Just a note, there was a lot of chatter at the table next to us that the microphone on my phone picked up.  Thankfully, it wasn’t as noticeable to us while we were sitting there.

All of the cast members we encountered here were extremely friendly, as was our server, but I do have to note that he was a bit on the slow side.  Luckily for us, the timing of everything worked out perfectly. If you intend to visit the Bar to view World of Color, I would recommend arriving  at least an hour prior to the show if not earlier.  I also want to mention that we were able to receive 15% off our bill (excluding alcoholic beverages) with our annual pass.  After the show, although the bar was closed, we weren’t rushed out giving us time to finish up our drinks and grab some more shots of the gorgeous fountains.

Overall, the four of us really enjoyed our experience at the Cove Bar and found that it would definitely be a place we’d all go back to for the food, the drinks, and to see the show.  Have you experienced the Cove Bar?  Let us know your thoughts and best tips it in the comments!

All photos © Chrysty Summers.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kelley Opperud on October 9, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Wow what a great experience! The food looked so yummy and the view – spectacular! Are you required to purchase an alcoholic beverage?

    Reply

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