GCH Craftsman Bar at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel

Today, we’re talking about the GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney’s Grand Californian.

Photo showing the back of the GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian hotel

Have you ever noticed the metal detectors near Grizzly River Run in California Adventure? It can be fun to people watch and speculate about how they get to use this secret entrance! But there’s actually a hotel back there, and this gate gets them in the park within a few steps from their rooms.

While I would love to tell you all about the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland Resort, it’s drastically out of my budget.

Good news though – you don’t have to be a resort guest to check it out. Enjoy all the amazing amenities and experiences offered at this resort, without the nightly price tag. From restaurants and bars to shops and good vibes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Today, we’re talking about the GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney’s Grand Californian.

Location and First Impressions at GCH Craftsman Bar

Photo showing the pool area from seating at the GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.

There’s a few ways to enter the hotel and access the bar. You can use the Super Secret Park entrance near Grizzly River run, the entrance in the middle of downtown Disney, or the entrance at the front of the hotel across from the Pixar Pier Hotel.

If you’re entering from Disneyland’s California Adventures, you’ll find yourself closest to the bar. Once inside the hotel, you’ll see signs guiding you to the Craftsman Grill, and right across from that walkway is the Craftsman Bar. It’s not a place you stumble upon easily unless you’re exploring the hotel, which is exactly what we were doing on this particular day.

A word of caution for the entrance from inside California Adventure (near Grizzly River Run): technically this entrance is exclusively for guests staying on property. However, this is only really upheld in the morning before and shortly after park open. If for some reason you are not permitted to re-enter the park at this gate, just exit through the gate to Downtown Disney and walk back to the main park entrance.

Atmosphere and Environment at GCH Craftsman Bar

Walking into this bar, I initially felt a little out of place since I wasn’t staying at the resort. However, I quickly realized that everyone is welcome.

Photo of the lobby at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

There is sit-down dining available poolside with a reservation. As well, there is a bar that you can walk right up to, as long as there’s an available seat. Luckily for us, there were two seats.

Hostess stand for reservation check in at GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

The bar has a unique style and decor that reflects a signature craftsman aesthetic. The woodwork, dark-colored marble, and artisanal decor items create a cozy and inviting ambiance.

Photo showcasing the bar area at GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian.

The seating area on the patio is covered with a beautiful wood trellis adorned with lush lilac vines. If I were staying at this hotel, I can easily imagine myself spending a lot of time in this delightful location.

Photo of the reserved seating area poolside at GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel

But even if you’re not a hotel guest, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Menu Options at GCH Craftsman Bar

Photo of the food menu at GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian

Now let’s talk about the menu options. The Craftsman Bar is a real table service dining location that offers a full menu, which is the same as the Craftsman Grill next door. You can order almost any item available at the Craftsman Grill here, but the unique aspect is that you can enjoy your meal outdoors. During our visit, we were not specifically looking for food as we had recently dined at Ballast Point in downtown Disney.

Photo showing the drink and cocktail menu at GCH Craftsman Grill at Disney's Grand Californian

We were more interested in finding a place to relax and have a few drinks before heading back to the hotel for the evening. And drinks they had! The Craftsman Bar is a full-service bar offering more than 20 specialty cocktails and six non-alcoholic mocktails. Personally, I tend to prefer mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages at home, but since we were on vacation, I decided to indulge.

Watermelon Cucumber Collins

For my first drink, I opted for the watermelon cucumber collins, which is a classic Collins drink made with Tito’s handmade vodka, watermelon juice, cucumber, watermelon syrup, and lime juice. It was chilled and refreshing, although slightly less flavorful than I typically prefer. I would have liked a bit more watermelon taste.

Perhaps I should have requested an extra pump of syrup. Overall, it didn’t quite meet my expectations, but it was still enjoyable.

Pineapple Ginger Margarita

For my second drink, I decided to go for the Pineapple Ginger Margarita, and let me tell you, it definitely lived up to its name. As someone who has a weakness for well-made margaritas, I couldn’t resist. Although I should have learned by now that tequila can be a risky choice, this beverage did not disappoint. The flavor profile was a delightful mix of sour, acidic, and tangy notes, which paired perfectly with the Patron Silver tequila.

Photo of the Pineapple Ginger Margarita at GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian

The addition of turmeric and ginger gave it a health-conscious twist. I enjoyed it immensely and would definitely order it again. Finishing this even faster than the Cucumber Collins, I’d give it a 10 out of 10.

Ginger Berry Cooler

My partner in crime for this trip opted for the Ginger Berry Cooler mocktail, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. In fact, it might have been even better than my watermelon Collins. This mocktail is made with Ginger Beer, Cranberry Juice, Raspberry Pure and Lime Juice. The flavors remind me of a Moscow Mule but with the sweet and floral addition of the berries. Best drink here, hands down.

Ginger Berry Cooler mocktail from the GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian hotel.

I really enjoyed this mocktail. It had a delightful sweetness from the pear, a tartness from the lemon, and the Rosemary added a unique earthy flavor that you don’t typically find in a cocktail. I must admit, though, that this might not be for everyone. As a big fan of Rosemary, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but others might have different preferences.

If the Rosemary pear spritz doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry! The Craftsman Bar offers a wide range of other options to suit different tastes.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

In conclusion, I believe we’ve overlooked the Craftsman Bar as a fan and a fandom for quite some time. It’s conveniently located near DCA and offers a much broader selection of drinks compared to what’s available in DCA itself. However, please note that you cannot bring these drinks into the park. The bar boasts a full specialty menu and an impressive mocktail menu, which always excites me.

Photo showing the pool area and hotel room balconies from the GCH Craftsman Bar at Disney's Grand Californian.

Most of the drinks we tried were really good, although there was one that didn’t quite hit the mark for me. However, taste preferences can vary, so I believe it would be a huge hit for many others. I do regret not returning on another day to try their actual meals. They offer a plant-based option, the Forest Mushroom Impossible Sausage Pizza, which sounds delicious, and you can also enjoy the Grand Californian signature Carnitas Baked Nachos here.

Yes, I think we’ll definitely be coming back. So keep an eye out for a second review, where I’ll share my thoughts on the food and more experiences at this amazing location.

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