Hearthstone Lounge is the main bar in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort in California. This bar & lounge has a large seating area serving drinks and appetizers, and you can also order from the lounge menu at a number of tables in the Grand Californian’s lobby. In this review, we’ll take a look at some things we recently ordered at Hearthstone Lounge, and thoughts on it as a place to decompress during a day in Disney California Adventure.
We’ve been to Hearthstone Lounge a number of times over the years, and in the past it has always been as a place to get drinks while engaged in a competitive session of Disneyland Drinking Debauchery(not really, but that’s the “cool” name we’ve given our Disneyland Resort Bar Crawl). In the past, Hearthstone Lounge has been a place to escape the heat for a midday drink (in the summer) or a place to warm up by the fireplace with a drink (in the winter).
On our recent visit, we decided to finally give the food on the lounge menu a try, which includes a number of small-plate options. Most of these are roughly the size of counter service entrees (perhaps slightly smaller) with prices to match. In large part, the experience was pretty comparable to the Hearthstone Lounge experience as a whole…
The ambiance at Hearthstone Lounge is relatively nice. It’s relaxed, yet has a well-appointed and classy vibe thanks to the Arts & Crafts design, high ceiling, detail work, and little flourishes.
The design is befitting of the Grand Californian itself, although lacking the grandiosity of the lobby or the elegance of Napa Rose.
It’s exactly what you’d expect from a lounge in the Grand Californian and the ambiance is enjoyable. It’s not the most memorable lounge and it certainly doesn’t have the fun-factor of Trader Sam’s, but it’s a solid option if you’re looking for something low-key.
Despite the pleasant ambiance, we usually skip the main lounge area at Hearthstone altogether, and instead opt to sit in the lobby of the Grand Californian. It’s a masterpiece of Imagineering–I could sit in there for hours just listening to the piano.
…Unfortunately, because locals like me have done exactly that (security changes are also a cause), access to the Grand Californian is now far more restricted than it used to be.
While it’s still possible for anyone to exit Disney California Adventure into the Grand Californian, it is not possible to re-enter the park through this entrance unless you’re a hotel guest. This makes Hearthstone Lounge, White Water Snacks, etc., in Grand Californian much more of a hassle for non-hotel guests.
With the security perimeter expanded to now encompass Downtown Disney, this may not seem like such a big deal. However, guests leaving the Grand Californian still have to go through a security checkpoint. It’s typically not too long, but you can expect this to add ~10 minutes of time to your day versus just re-entering Disney California Adventure directly from the hotel.
With logistics covered, let’s take a look at the food and drinks…
Hearthstone Lounge has a number of beers on tap, mostly varieties that you’d find scattered throughout Disney California Adventure, except all in one spot.
They also have the standard Generic Bar Menu, with a bunch of fruity, watered down drinks. Beyond that, bartenders can make a variety of different options, which is probably your best best unless you’re getting a beer.
Here’s the Margherita Pizzetta…with chicken. (Not sure why, but they asked whether we wanted chicken or pork on it.) Guy Selga, the real estate mogul who developed Selgaland Ranch, like this, noting that for the price it is the best cheap pizza option at Disneyland. (He still prefers Pizza Press, though.)
Next up is the sliders. We had these last week, and they were 2 wagyu sliders. The menu lists this as a trio of sliders now, with fried chicken, pastrami-burger, and pulled pork. Either the online menu is wrong, or the item changed.
Nevertheless, I thought the wagyu sliders were quite good, although they were playing fast and loose with the “wagyu” classification for the beef.
Finally, the Chicken Quesadilla. Sarah and I both thought this was pretty good, although the chicken to cheese ratio skewed a bit too far in the cheese direction. (I know, “too much cheese” is heresy.)
Overall, Hearthstone Lounge is a nice place to go for a beer and some light food. For what amounts to counter service prices, you’re getting a higher-quality meal in a relaxed environment. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about either the food or drink menu, and I’d certainly recommend Steakhouse 55 Lounge or Trader Sam’s over Hearthstone Lounge if you’re only going to one, but if you want an option that’s convenient to the Grand Californian, or you just like the relaxed-but-refined atmosphere of this Arts & Crafts style lounge, it’s a good choice.
Have you ever been to Hearthstone Lounge? What did you order here? Did you enjoy your experience? Do you agree or disagree with our take on Hearthstone Lounge? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!