Downtown Santa Ana is the beneficiary of a recent slate of talent moving southward from LA. Vacation is a swanky new cocktail lounge in the heart of the gentrifying Orange County city, with a travel-inspired drink menu from Accomplice’s Gaby Mlynarczyk. A tight set of bar bites comes via Petit Trois veteran Aron Habiger, and features beef tartare, cuban sandwich, and an off-menu burger.
Opening tonight in a 100-year old building, the cavernous space feels easy-going and tropical, recalling an old hideaway in Havana or Miami. The custom furniture gives it a bespoke feel, like something in LA’s Arts District. The cocktails exhibit the range of Mlynarczyk’s culinary approach to drink craft, with each one taking on a particular travel destination around the world.
The New York tastes and looks like a cinnamon apple bourbon sour while the Bangkok resembles a mint julep but with Thai basil and toasted coconut as aromatic variants. The London fuses the sensibility of a Pimm’s cup and a blackberry bramble, light and quaffable for a late summer evening. Orange County’s cocktail scene might still seem nascent (though places like Seal Beach’s 320 Main and Costa Mesa’s Pie Society have been killing it for years), but Vacation is a strong addition to the scene.
Vacation is open Wednesday to Sunday, until 12 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. 204 W 4th St. Santa Ana, CA 92701