SoHo's Socialista is billed as an authentic Cuban "peasant saloon" and stepping through the doors is like traveling back in time to the romantic 1940's heyday of Havana. Colonial European architectural influences, French antiques and richly velveted surfaces combine with plantation-style rattan furnishings and plush seating to create a look that is lavish and right on the money. Intentional slightly decayed effects - peeling green sherbet-color paint, worn brocade, ponderously swirling tropical ceiling fans - add to the shabby chic colonial vibe.
Mix-master Cyrus Kehyari is in charge of the bar and he's created a generous selection of fresh squeezed signature cocktails that pull you deeper into a vanished mid-century Caribbean era. Fav choice: the Hemingway is a rum-soaked concoction that pays homage to the island's most famous expat. The kitchen menu is small but appealing, with suitably toothsome late night nosh perfect for satisfying calorie cravings: Cubano sandwiches, steak tartare, pasta primavera and more.
This is the New York outpost of the nightlife concept that also has Dubai, London and Miami locations.
World music is a Socialista staple and live music is regularly provided by a four-piece Cubano band. Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are investors in Socialista, however owner/operator Armin Amiri says celebs are welcome only, “if they don't want their asses kissed,” which instills hope that anyone dressed suitably for a well-heeled night out has a chance at the door.