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SUNDAY STORY:Our 14 wonders

Newport-Mesa is known for them -- whether famously or infamously -- and many are can't-miss sights.

April 29, 2007|By Amanda Pennington and Alicia Robinson

"We turned it into a real nice bar — a real nice neighborhood bar," Ziemer said. "It was really a dive before, you know, and our beer is probably the cheapest in town — the biggest selection and the coldest too."

He said much about the bar has stayed the same, except the music.

"We're not playing much Mitch Miller anymore," he said with a hearty laugh.

Despite the Top 40 tunes sometimes playing over the loud speaker, Ziemer's bar still has all the old military regalia up, honoring the time he spent in the Naval Air Force during the Korean War. Old photos of Costa Mesa hang on the walls, giving drinkers a chance to check out the town before most of them were around. It may not smell like a fancy watering hole, but that's not the point. It's a place to gather, play a game and make friends, Ziemer said.

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"The Goat Hill Tavern [has] been in the same spot since I was a wee child — now that's a landmark," Costa Mesa resident Tom McGee, 30, wrote in a message to the Daily Pilot.

Since he was 21, McGee often hit the bar to enjoy a pitcher or two with friends.

BALBOA PAVILION

400 Main St., Newport Beach

More than 100 years ago, the Balboa Pavilion was built above the waters of Newport Harbor and became a place for recreation, sport fishing and eating.

History aside, the building's mere location makes it a notable structure. It's built on pilings on the water, something that would probably never happen today, said Bob Black, general manager of Catalina Passenger Service and Balboa Pavilion.

In November, Leo Gugasian bought the Balboa Pavilion and continued the restoration started by former owner Phil Tozer. But other than the ownership, not much else has changed recently. The Harborside Restaurant and Grand Ballroom, Catalina Passenger Service and Davey's Locker Sportfishing operate from the pavilion today.

Although a bowling alley that once graced the upper level is no longer there, the restaurant does seem to be taking a note from the past — booking live entertainment weekly.

Tourists and locals alike often go to the pavilion in search of its roots in Newport Beach history, Black said. The pavilion connected Los Angeles and Newport Beach in the early 1900s.

The Balboa Pavilion has been immortalized on countless postcards, paintings and photos. Images of it at nighttime with its iconic lights reflecting off the surface of the bay are especially popular.

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