Even though we’ve been in this space before…
The space that once was Cove Bar (upstairs) and Ariel’s Grotto (downstairs) is now Lamplight Lounge. The locations have been transformed into one entirely new space that pays tribute not only to the films of Pixar, but also to the artists of Pixar Studio who bring the stories to life.
The famous lamp, Luxo Jr., which forms the “i” in the Pixar logo, inspires the name of Lamplight Lounge. You’ll also spy Luxo’s companion, the Luxo Ball, in the Lamplight Lounge logo.
And it’s with this beginning that we step into the story…
The setting — by way of story — of Lamplight Lounge is an old warehouse that was renovated into a lounge. Once the renovation was complete, it became a regular spot for Pixar artists from the nearby Studio.
The former warehouse vibe of the two-story building is reflected in the “original” wood boards lining the floor (which have been refinished and also added as part of the ceiling panels).
Steel structural beams are seen along concrete and brick walls to complete the feel.
Of course, since the renovation of the warehouse, plenty of seating has been added for guests… many of whom, as the story goes, come directly from the Pixar Animation Studios.
The “Pixarian” frequenters are represented throughout the space as well. Tucked into every nook and cranny are tokens that the artists have left in the lounge!
These include collectible toys of Pixar characters. For instance, a dining room table featuring die-cast cars from… well, from Cars 😉 , is made to resemble a similar conference room table right inside Pixar Animation Studios!
Finalized film posters are displayed, having “grown up” from the concept art stages.
Sketches can be found on the coasters… there are a ton of different ones!
You can even find a blank one to draw on if you’re so inspired by the creative juices represented throughout the Lounge.
And, of course, the beloved Pixar film characters can be seen throughout every aspect of the space.
This T-Shirt Wall represents a Pixar Studios tradition. During production of a Pixar film, various departments create and don t-shirts in celebration of the film.
Not only does this wall display the shirts; it’s also meant to show and celebrate how many departments go into making a film.
Even if you don’t have to go to the restroom during your visit (if you get my drift)… you totally have to go to the restroom in Lamplight Lounge!!! First, because the hallway is lined with awesome Pixar film quotes that were written by Pixar employees!
Even the restroom signs themselves are pretty sweet.
Let’s all be honest here: Disney bathrooms are pretty fascinating.
As we learned during a Sneak Preview for Pixar Pier, one of the goals of the design team was creating a spot where you could find something new every visit, with “lots of little secrets to find.” You’ll have to keep us posted on your finds when you go on your very own Pixar treasure hunt in the Lamplight Lounge!
The size of the space is noteworthy in its entirety with downstairs seating and its capacity for 261 guests, and capacity for 200 more upstairs.
It’s also on the way UP! (see what I did there? 😉 …)
… that you can check out the Sketch Chandelier in all its glory! Major Art of Animation Resort vibes here, right?
Notice a few blank pages in the mix, signifying the start of the creative process.
There’s one more space we have to show you. And that’s The Office.
Read all about this secret, private dining space — and the way to get inside! — right here!
Okay, now that we’ve had a long look around (and believe it or not, you’ll still find more when you go), let’s grab some BITES!! And SIPS!!
The cuisine at Lamplight Lounge has been dubbed “California gastro pub, playfully presented.” An aim of Culinary Team was to keep the diverse audience of Southern California in mind, so a variety of flavors, textures, and ingredients are represented on the menu. Here’s an overview of the full food menu.
But let’s take a closer look at the sections, starting with the Bites which are comprised primarily of sharable plates.
Bigger Bites present full entree options. And we should note, these are only available to order in the downstairs seating area.
Budding Artists are items just for the kiddos!
Fun fact: items like the PB&J Roll are presented to look like what mom and dad are eating. Here’s a look at it from a Sneak Preview we attended for Pixar Pier.
You can see the “flower pot” of veggies with hummus and fresh fruit on the side, which come with all the Budding Artist items.
The drink menu features handmade cocktails unique to Lamplight Lounge, with names inspired by the film industry and Pixar Studios.
Even before you order your drink, the sketch book-style menu already gives you something to enjoy!
Be sure to take time in the midst of choosing to enjoy a different vantage point 😉 .
Draft, bottled, and canned beer selections are also available.
Here is a look at the upstairs selection, including the Featured Selection which is a proprietary brew by Bottle Logic Brewery.
Non-alcoholic Mocktails are up for consideration, too.
First, we tried The Sequel. And, honestly, still pictures don’t do this thing justice. Why?
Because this combination of Absolut Citron Vodka, Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron Rum, Liquid Alchemist Passion Fruit, lime juice and agave nectar is further combined with dry ice for a smoking effect! Seriously — check it out on diningatdisney’s Instagram.
Next up? The Short!
Served with seasoned vegetables, Plymouth Gin, lime and lemon juices, and agave nectar come together for a more classic cocktail.
And finally (of the specialty cocktails) we couldn’t resist the Over Budget.
It’s your classic ginger-y mule made with Grey Goose Vodka and ginger beer, along with lemon and lime juices. But there’s a tasty twist with the unexpected addition of Liquid Alchemist Passion Fruit.
From the non-alcoholic Mocktails, we chose the 2319.
This blend of frozen strawberry puree, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice is all topped off with Coca-Cola. And as you might anticipate, it is PLENTY sweet.
But the next Mocktail really steals the show! The Infinity Fizz is made of Powerade Mountain Berry Blast, apple juice, and cherry pearls.
And as vivid and pretty as the colors are, this is another one you need to see in action to fully appreciate it. Dry ice in the unique glass (similar to The Sequel’s glass) keeps the drink “active.” Check it out here! I truly appreciate a creative Mocktail, and it seems the ones at Lamplight Lounge fit the bill!
And as for those Bites? Let’s start with one of our new favorites: Deviled Eggs and Toast.
Served atop toasted almond romesco sauce, these suuuuuper creamy deviled eggs are also presented with Manchego cheese crisps and dill.
If you are a fan of deviled eggs, you can’t miss this dish.
Why don’t we follow those up with another new favorite?! Check out the Crispy Piggy Wings!
These pork “drumettes” are covered with a pretty spicy chili-ginger glaze nicely crisped in the cooking process, topped with sesame seeds, slaw, and cilantro in large enough pieces that they can easily be avoided by AJ’s fellow cilantro-averse peeps!
And YES — though we’ve mentioned it a few times, this is just a friendly reminder that you can indeed still get the Lobster Nachos from when this spot was the Cove Bar!
Now, we did already have the chance to try the Potato Skins at a Sneak Preview event for Pixar Pier. But this really fun twist on a standard bar-and-grill item is just done so well, we had to try them again. Crispy Yukon Gold potatoes are served with brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aioli, and Manchego cheese.
Not only is the flavor terrific when you swirl the sauces together before taking a bite, but the texture of the potatoes — crunchy on the outside, nice and soft on the inside — is spot on.
Moving onto the Bigger Bites (again, these entrees are served downstairs only), we’ll start with the Chicken Sandwich.
There’s a lot more going here than the simple name implies. Crispy chicken is covered with a spicy chili-ginger glaze, then topped with vinegar slaw, pineapple butter, and served on a toasted Amish bun. It’s served with some seriously awesome Malted Fries.
Honestly, I’m all for flavor, but some of the unique tastes (like the pineapple butter) got a bit lost in the general heat of the spice of the glaze. It was a bit too much for me. It’s SPICY. And pretty messy, to boot.
Though if you’re reeeaaaallllyyyy into spice, you probably won’t mind that aspect.
Still, those same terrific fries are served with the Cheddar Burger.
It’s fairly standard: topped with Tillamook Cheddar and an avocado ranch spread along with tomato and red onion, it’s placed in between the toasted Amish bun as well.
It’s good to know there’s an option for those who might not be as much into the unique meals served here, but still want to experience the whole thing.
The Ratatouille is a terrific vegetarian selection.
It’s features a roasted eggplant and bell pepper ragout with zucchini noodles, a smoked tomato sauce, and basil aioli. Delicious!
It’s served over warm Burrata cheese, and — let’s face it — it’s a fun nod to the Pixar flick of the same name as the dish!
You may have noticed, Disneyland has developed kind of a thing for donuts as of late, and the new tradition keeps going at Lamplight Lounge, with the Donuts served with dipping sauces!
You have to be able to trust that — as the only dessert on the menu, it’s gotta be a good one.
Fortunately, that is indeed the case!
Warm and fluffy, these sugar-encrusted donuts are very good on their own, but the chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces up the ante all the more.
And that was a sweet way to end our first visit to Lamplight Lounge!
Nosh or Not?
You’ll want to visit Lamplight Lounge if:
- You are a mega (or even casual!) fan of the Pixar movies! You’ll be in your element.
- You want some seriously upscale pub grub.
- You love oodles upon oodles of Disney details, Pixar or otherwise. Or you just like cool bathrooms 😉 .
You’ll want to pass by Lamplight Lounge if:
- Ummm… if you’re on the new Pixar Pier, I don’t think you’ll want to pass this by.
Woo hoo!! The first visit to Lamplight Lounge is in the books! And as much as I — and many others — had a major soft spot for the ol’ Cove Bar (and I really did love it), the sheer amount of classic Disney detail and Imagineering involved in this spot is truly impressive. And it sure doesn’t hurt that the food is pretty craveworthy, and the specialty beverages are super fun and creative. Overall? I say “Well done, Pixar Pier.”
A few logistics: you can make reservations for Lamplight Lounge via the Disneyland website or by calling (714) 781-DINE. This will land you seating downstairs. The upstairs operates the way Cove Bar did: first come, first served. Enjoy!!