Montage in Laguna Beach is one of the swankiest hotels in the area, but you get your money's worth when it comes to drinks at the Lobby Lounge. After you valet park your BMW or Mercedes (whichever), pass through the initial entrance of the hotel and you will find yourself among tipsy people of all ages.
Wednesday night had live music by David Allen Baker, a pianist and singer with an apparent love for Journey. Strong drinks by bartender Dana had all of the Real Housewives of Orange County-esque women in the lounge singing along with Baker to "Don't Stop Believin'" and other boozy classics.
The Lobby Lounge's specialty cocktails menu is pricey ($16 for most), but is themed with the season and each cocktail definitely includes enough top-shelf alcohol to have you singing along to Journey, hopefully without regretting it the next morning.
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Dana suggested the hotel's latest holiday cocktail, the Chocolate Candy Cane. Made with Van Gogh chocolate vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur, Bailey's Irish Cream and Rumple Minze, this cocktail tastes surprisingly more like a candy cane than chocolate--that's the Rumple Minze talkin'. (It's a German liqueur that tastes exactly like peppermint and happens to be 100 proof.) Dana lined the martini glass with chocolate syrup and added a small candy cane to the glass to top off this liquid dessert. Although the Rumple Minze can be a bit overwhelming at times, the last bit of the drink is the best part because the chocolate syrup has run down the sides of the glass and settled in the bottom for a final treat.