Downtown Santa Ana has a bar for almost every need; karaoke, beer, gay bars, live music, dive, wine, tapas, high-end and even a couple left over for paisas. Really the only thing missing from the scene is a lounge, a place with soft couches, dim lights and the music turned down low.
That's not quite true, actually: the Gypsy Den is a lounge, but it historically only served beer and wine, meaning that while it's a fantastic place to end up the evening on a first or second date, the drinks menu is limited.
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Happily, the Gypsy Den received their full liquor license and are in the process of having the city update their conditional use permit; in the immediate future, they'll fit that niche, and the owner is re-decorating the place to match. The bar area will be more inviting, there'll be more places to sit and catch up, and the pool table will be gone, but most importantly, there'll be cocktails.
They do a good job with what they have now, though: wine and beer can be made into cocktails quite nicely, and bitters aren't considered alcohol by the ABC. Though there is a menu, it's best to trust the bartenders: wine and beer lend themselves best to bright, sour cocktails, and Champagne makes it even better: sparkling wine, lemon juice, simple syrup garnished with basil for a floral hit.
We can't wait to see what they come up with in the next couple of weeks once their alcohol permits are all signed and sealed.