#OnTheList: The Secret Drink Menu and MORE at Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure

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This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

 

Cove Bar‘s job is to remind you that you’re in the Happiest Place on Earth, over and over again. And it does that job well.

Cove Bar Sign

Cove Bar Sign

That’s why it’s #OnTheList this week!

Atmosphere

If you add a visit to the Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure to your Disney Dining Bucket List, right off the bat you should know that wait times to get in can be loooong. This little outdoor bar (right next to the entrance to Ariel’s Grotto) is well-loved by people in the know, so hang in there… the wait is worth it.

The hallmark of this spot is an unforgettable view of Paradise Bay (and if you hit it at just the right time in the evening it offers you a chance to see a bit of the World of Color nighttime spectacular).

Cove Bar View of Paradise Pier and World of Color

Cove Bar View of Paradise Pier and World of Color

During the day, though, it’s a bit easier to take in some of the other details in this carnival-style setting with nautical pier decor, like the not-so-Hidden Mickeys on the high, white scroll bar stools (all full on my latest visit, as per usual).

Bar Seating at Cove Bar

Bar Seating at Cove Bar

Outside of the immediate bar area there is regular table seating as well.

Seating Area at Cove Bar

Seating Area at Cove Bar

Again, though, it’s all about that view… Not bad, huh?

Overlooking Paradise Pier

Overlooking Paradise Pier

What’s that you say? You’re curious about that drink in the foreground? Then read on, my friends…

Eats

This full-service bar also serves food, and while we’ll definitely be digging in to some eats, the drinks are the star of the show at Cove Bar. But you may not think so at a quick glance when you read the menu featuring standard Disney bar and lounge drinks such as Pina CoLAVAs, Pimm’s Punch, and Blue Glow-tinis.

Cove Bar Menu Cover

Cove Bar Menu Cover

But as far as we’re concerned, you need to just throw out that standard menu here. Did you know the Cove Bar has a SECRET MENU of amazing drinks? Head’s up, ‘cuz here it comes…

Secret Menu Drinks at Cove Bar

Secret Menu Drinks at Cove Bar

Now, you’ll get different takes on the secret menu. Some say there are five drinks, some say there are seven or eight. From what we can tell, there are five drinks on the SUPER secret menu, and then there are two or three drinks on a “secret-ish” menu that’s made up of specialty drinks that USED to be on the regular menu but aren’t any longer. Confused? Well, no worries. Your focus is about to get a LOT more cloudy up in here.

Let’s get started.

You’re going to notice something similar about four of the next five secret drinks: they’re essentially different takes on a classic Long Island Iced Tea. First up, we’re starting with a nod to Pirates of the Caribbean: the Black Pearl.

Black Pearl

Black Pearl

It starts out like a classic Long Island with vodka, gin, rum and sweet & sour. However, Chambord and Sprite are added in the mix to give it a new spin.  The raspberry flavor of the Chambord lends this one an unexpected fruity flavor, despite its appearance (prepared in a layered style to give it that cool ombre effect).

Next up? The Earthquake! Vodka, gin, rum, and sweet & sour: check! But this time, blue curaçao and Sprite join the mix, and it’s all topped off with a 151 Rum floater. This is the strongest option on the secret menu, and it pretty much feels like you’re sucking down pure alcohol. But it’s beautiful, isn’t it? Silent killer.

The Earthquake

The Earthquake

Our next twist on the Long Island is the Neverland Tea. While the vodka, gin, and rum are all still very much present, the sweet & sour is replaced here with peach schnapps, pineapple juice and Sprite, while midori lends it that terrific hue of Peter Pan green.

Neverland Tea

Neverland Tea

This one’s delicious and smooth. It comes together as a super sweet, tropical twist on the Long Island, and tastes to us the least like the traditional cocktail of all the Cove Bar versions.

I’ve saved my favorite Long Island variation, though, for last: the Fun Wheel, named, of course, for the great view of Mickey’s Fun Wheel from Cove bar. Just looking at it puts me in a good mood!

Fun Wheel Cocktail at Cove Bar

Fun Wheel Cocktail at Cove Bar

From bottom to top, the layering begins with pineapple juice, then X-Rated Passion Fruit Vodka (that neat pink color), and finally blue curaçao together with the Long Island ingredients. It’s all topped off with soda water and Disney’s beloved fomz.

The Fun Wheel

The Fun Wheel

If you like a fruity cocktail, then this one is a must. The passion fruit vodka is especially tasty; but even though it is visually terrific as a layered drink, I recommend mixing it up for even better flavor. So, be sure to get your photo ops in first, because you’ll want to remember this one!

The final drink I tried from the secret menu is The Zombie, and rum drinkers will want to take note: it’s made up of light rum, dark rum, coconut rum, spiced rum, 151 Rum, orange and pineapple juices, blue curaçao, midori and grenadine. Yo, Ho, Ho!!! 

The Zombie

The Zombie

What it lacks in aesthetics (compared to the other secret menu drinks, anyhow), it makes up for with sweet deliciousness and terrific strength! Sometimes this one ends up a super muddy green color and looks completely like zombie skin (’cause, we all know what zombie skin looks like).

OK, so five drinks in we ordered up the “secret-ish” menu — three options that have been on the Cove Bar printed menu before as specialty drinks and that return from time to time.

The Midway Martini features Absolut Orient Apple Vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, cranberry juice, organic agave nectar, and fresh lime juice.

Midway Martini

Midway Martini

This tart twist on a “crabapple” martini is given a slight hint of sweetness from the ginger liqueur, with emphasis on the word “slight.” It’s definitely more tart than sweet, so if you’re a sour fan like me, give it a go!

With the Melrose, strawberry puree and Rose Regale are what make this beauty stand out from the other Long Island variations.

The Melrose

The Melrose

The expected berry flavor from the strawberry puree certainly comes through, but it’s the Rose Regale that really gives this one a boost with its delicious sparkling wine flavor — a great choice for capping off an evening while watching World of Color.

Next up is the Sideshow Novel Tea…. at least, I think it is. All truths told, we were seven drinks in by the time we tried this one below, sooo… umm, yeah. If there are any Cove Bar masters out there who can let me know for sure, can you give me a shout? In the meantime, what is actually the Sideshow Novel Tea ;) is a combination of Absolut Wild Tea Vodka, iced tea, strawberry puree, and fresh lemon juice. Buuuuuuuut, that’s not really what this looks like to me. So if you have any idea what I drank here, let me know. #FoodBloggerProblems

Sideshow Novel-Tea

Sideshow Novel-Tea

And, speaking of being on our eighth drink, we knew it was time to start soaking it all up. And, I promise you, Cove Bar offers some of the best bar food on the planet.

Specifically, there is one epically iconic bar food item that should probably be its own post here on DFB instead of getting overshadowed by the drinks above. But, alas, I wanted to tell you everything all at once! :-)

Cove Bar Food Menu

Cove Bar Food Menu

Introducing the Cove Bar Lobster Nachos. Lobster is layered on top of fresh corn tortilla chips along with black beans, pico de gallo, serrano peppers, cilantro, chipotle crema, and jack and cheddar cheeses.

Seriously? I know.

Lobster Nachos

Lobster Nachos

Be aware, though, that the chipotle flavor definitely adds some spice and the serrano peppers kick it up yet another notch. But don’t let that deter you from giving these a try. If you think the spice might be too much for you, just request those on the side. But if you only eat one thing at Cove Bar, it should be this.

The rest of the food menu isn’t quite as iconic, but while we’re on a bit of a heat kick, let’s check out the Quesadilla Rolls. Four grilled flour tortillas are stuffed with chicken, onions, peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and avocado relish, then topped with guajillo sauce and the chipotle crema, taking them a step up from your regular quesadillas. The generous portion size also makes the rolls a great candidate for sharing.

Quesadilla Rolls

Quesadilla Rolls

The Trio of Tri-Tip Sliders serves up a variety with the Mojo Criollo Slider, Barbecue and Tangy Slaw Slider, and the Bacon, Arugula, and Blue Cheese Slider. They all share the same base of juicy, tender meat, and while the individual sliders are on the small side, the toppings are really flavorful and generously piled. I thought all of these were really delicious.

Trio of Tri-Tip Sliders

Trio of Tri-Tip Sliders

The Mojo Criollo with crispy onions delivers a Cuban flair with its hearty dose of garlic, and I love that crunch from the crispy onions.

Mojo Criollo with Crispy Onons Slider

Mojo Criollo with Crispy Onons Slider

The Barbecue and Tangy Slaw Slider presents a flavor-and-texture combo that we see a lot of these days (the Barbecue Slaw Dog at Casey’s Corner and Barbecue Pork Waffle Fries at Golden Oak Outpost come to mind). There’s a reason it keeps cropping up: sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce serves a great contrast to tangy coleslaw in just about any setting.

Barbecue with Tangy Slaw Slider

Barbecue with Tangy Slaw Slider

Finally, the texture variation in the Bacon, Arugula and Blue Cheese Slider comes from the crispy bacon, which also lends a nice smokiness to complement the pepper of the arugula, while the strength of the blue cheese furthers the pop from the intense flavors.

Bacon Arugula and Blue Cheese Slider

Bacon Arugula and Blue Cheese Slider

All in all, it’s a good thing they have some pretty tasty noshes here to counter effect all the great drinks… especially now that you know about that secret menu!

…Seriously, though, somebody tell me what that eighth drink was.

Overall

Fun (and strong!) drinks, good grub, an in-the-know menu, and an unforgettable view. What’s not to love about the Cove Bar? If you find yourself on the west coast side of Disney things, you can’t miss the chance to put it #OnTheList!

Which secret menu drink at the Cove Bar would you like to try? Please let us know with a comment!

What’s On YOUR Disney Food Bucket List?

Cove Bar is featured on the DFB Disney Food Bucket List — #OnTheList! Check out the list for more must-eats, and tweet, instagram, and Facebook your Disney Food Bucket List items @DisneyFoodBlog with #OnTheList!

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Comments

  1. Michele says

    I’ve tried 4/5 of the secret drinks, but never had the Earthquake! The Fun Wheel is my go-to choice because it’s just so pretty and also tastes great! This last Friday I got to introduce my dad and my brother to Cove Bar and their fabulous drinks and lobster nachos. I told my brother to get the Zombie if he wanted something really strong, and it was even stronger than normal! Definitely some kick in that one ;) This is my favorite place to eat/drink in DCA and I try to go there on every visit if I can. Usually I’ve gotten pretty lucky with finding a table if we go right at 11:00 when they open!

  2. says

    Heather — Yes Please!

    Michele — I think I’d only order the Earthquake again if I had a very short time to get very very tipsy! ;-) Great tip to go at 11AM when they open!

  3. Patrick says

    Zombies actually date back to the thirties when the Tiki craze began. Any bartender at any of the locations that serve mixed drinks who are worth their weight in paper parasols should be able to make one!

  4. Tina says

    Thanks for the secret drink menu! That’s awesome! We go in December & this is on the list – Black Pearl & Lobster Nachos! Yes can’t wait!

  5. Lisa says

    Wow, so many droolworthy pictures.

    But nooo! I skimmed through the top and saw the amazing drinks and LOBSTER NACHOS and then realized that this was a place in DisneyLAND not Disney WORLD. Living in Orlando, I won’t be trying these as soon as I hoped. :<

  6. Colleen says

    In the car right now heading from NorCal to Disneyland. The Cove is already my favorite place in California Adventure. Now you’ve given me something more to look forward to — thanks!

  7. Sara says

    If you have an allergy or just don’t like seafood, you can get beef instead of lobster on the nachos!! Still just as yummy!

  8. C says

    Man, why didn’t I know about this place before?! Next time I’m lucky enough to go down to Disney, I’ve gotta try the Sideshow Novel Tea and some buffalo wings.

  9. Pippa says

    I have yet to get to the cove bar but when I do I gaurantee that we will definitely be trying the zombie and the fun wheel and maybe even the black pearl…it all looks and sound yummy..cheers!

  10. Paul says

    Shawna at the bar was rude when we asked for the “secret menu” at the bar and actually rude about it….the only rude person we ran in to this entire trip. Everyone else was awesome!!!

  11. says

    I was there for Avengers weekend and the wait wasnt bad but the drinks werent nearly as pretty as yours :( we had the fun wheel and zombie on one trip and the neverland tea and sideshow novel-tea on another. sideshow novel-tea was a total let down…maybe because they were so busy but it tasted nothing like it should have. lobster nachos were great but they are now half the size :(

  12. Mikey says

    I’ve tried the funwheel, Neverland, Melrose, black pearl, and the sideshow.

    There are also some hidden drinks that are not on the current list. I tried the Sea Witch, which tasted like robatussin cough syrup. Our Bartender Marty made us one of his signature drinks, The Nebula. It was purple with one of those light cubes and it was pretty. Another drink that’s hidden from the hidden menu is the Bearded Goliath! This is by far my favorite drink. I couldn’t feel my face afterwards, maybe I did grow a beard!

  13. Melissa says

    This might be a stupid question, but… are kids allowed in the bar area? When Mom and Dad both want a drink…

  14. Jean says

    Kids can sit at tables but not at the bar. My mom used to take me and my sister to the Cove Bar when we were kids! They have all kinds of fun non-alcoholic drinks as well. The cotton candy lemonade was always my favorite.

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