VLVT Lounge in downtown Santa Ana is not a place for a relaxing meal: dance music not only thuds throughout the evening and weekend afternoons, it obliterates all conversations, service is friendly but lackadaisical, and the food is fine but filled with bar standards, the better to soak up the gay club's drinks, which are stiffer than an Advocate underwear model.
Like, seriously stiff. The bang-for-the-buck ratio between a drink's price and its potency is among the best in Orange County, the better to fuel this rambunctious place, where old queens sit at the bar to appreciate the strata of gay life in OC and themed nights ensure a–yes!–gay old time for all, heteronormative or not. The martini still rules drinking culture here–it's like Sex and the City never jumped the shark–with many flavored vodkas; two of them team up to create the Tall, Dark & Handsome
First things first: the drink isn't tall, served instead in a Dizzy Cocktail glass. But everything else about the drink is truth in advertising–and then some. Although flavored vodkas are a bit–yes!–cheeky, the chocolate- and espresso-flavored vodkas blend well, creating equal parts sweetness and zip. And drunk: I don't think I tasted any vermouth, and there's no twist–it's just pure, unadulterated vodka, better for the end of the meal than the beginning, or better with no meal at all. This cocktail won't win any awards, but sometimes, all you want to do is get hammered with the techno version of “Mais Que Nada” as your soundtrack and videos of ridiculously endowed men in their underwear suggestively licking lollipops on the wall–not that there's anything wrong with that.