AfterWork: AnQi in South Coast Plaza
I am not advocating the potentially dangerous mixture of drinking martinis with blue cheese-stuffed olives, eating plates of steaming garlic noodles and shopping for menswear at Bloomingdale's.
All I'm saying that it's an option at AnQi, a restaurant and nightspot that shares an entrance to South Coast Plaza with the aforementioned Bloomingdale's.
Personally, I never mix drinking and eating with shopping, but there are plenty of people in Orange County who shop until they drop, and then drink until they sink.
We visited AnQi four months ago to check out their popular happy hour, but we had to return when we heard that their new Friday promotion – "Fashionably Late" – was turning the mall into a cool late-night destination.
Each Friday at 9, the restaurant lights up its "Red Hour" (that's their name for happy hour) for a second round of drink and food specials. But Fashionably Late is more than happy hour discounts – it's a full-blown ultra-lounge with a DJ and a live band.
The An family, which not only runs AnQi but also its sister restaurant Crustacean in Beverly Hills, thought the new promotion would be a good way to extend their bar business, but on a recent Friday night, family members conceded that an unexpected bonus has been an extension of the restaurant's dinner business. Customers are coming in later so they can combine dinner and the late-night lounge scene.
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