The old line from the movie is, “If you build it, they will come.” But after visiting Hopscotch, I could only conclude that the current saying should be, “If you build it, and create enough buzz on social media, they will come.” I was amazed by the turnout. The plan had been to open on Sunday, but the owners put out the word via social media that they were running behind and were shooting for Wednesday. I happened to be in Fullerton on Wednesday, so I dropped by at 5:00 p.m., and the place was still under construction with tools and workers everywhere. I asked if they were still planning to open that evening, and got different answers, ranging from 6:00 to 8:00. At 7:00 p.m., I got word from one of the bartenders that we could head over. There were perhaps 20 people when we arrived, but by 9:00 the place was packed. Understand, this isn’t a chain business like Lazy Dog, where a new location is pretty much guaranteed a nice turnout because people are already familiar with the concept. This was a new, untested business, which achieved success on its first night.
The success is justified, because Hopscotch is a great place. There is a very nice selection of craft beers, both on tap and in bottles, and no price-gouging. With the popularity of craft beer, some places are starting to treat it like fine wine, with prices to match. Over at the Pint House, for example, an 11.2 ounce bottle of Delirium Tremens is $12.50. I like the Pint House, and Delirium Tremens is a great beer, but that price is about a 200% mark-up. At Hopscotch, a number of 22 ounce bottles of great craft beer sell for $10 or less. Both the beer and whiskey selections need some work (no Blue Label on the blended list?), but it is a very good foundation to build on. The mixed drinks are also very creative and impressive, and all are $10. For the soft opening, no food was offered, but the food was described to us, and I anticipate some very good comfort food based on what I heard.
Although not yet available, one item on the list caught my eye. It is called the Blue Collar Special, and consists of a craft beer, a shot of whiskey and a cigar. James, one of the mixologists, informed me that this was inspired by a place that offered a beer, shot of whiskey, and a cigarette for five dollars.
The decor seems perfect for the nature of the place, with a bar made of whiskey barrels, dark woods throughout and beer and whiskey related quotes printed on the walls. The layout consists of the primary bar area, a separate room of about the same size with a number of booths, a large patio area and a smaller patio area. Even though the bar area and patio were packed the night we visited, there were still a number of available tables in the separate room. You’ll probably have a good shot finding a place to sit unless you visit at the busiest times.
If craft beers and/or whiskey are your thing, be sure to visit Hopscotch. It is open Mon-Fri, from 11 am to 2 am, and Sat-Sun from 9 am to 2 am.