When I first attended a boozy brunch at Cuba we were not legally allowed to visit that country as Americans. And, honestly, I’m not even sure if we’re necessarily allowed to visit there now in 2016, but I think that’s something that’s now a thing. Luckily this restaurant has never been illegal to visit, though drinking bottomless cocktails for just $14 on a Saturday morning probably should be. Especially when you work your way up to the 1.5-hour limit and blow past it with no sign of stopping. And no sign that the waiters have any intention of stopping the practice of topping off your mojito, sangria or caipirinha to keep it constantly filled to the brim. I honestly don’t particularly like any of those drinks much, but I really like the old-school concept of the endless drunk.
The best part about this place, though, is that even on a sunny Saturday afternoon it feels like a party. The aforementioned staff are friendly and amazingly into their patrons imbibing and enjoying themselves. And, boy, do most of the people seem to be enjoying themselves. The space, tin-ceilinged and brick-walled, is tiny, but well appointed and well lit. It feels like a small cafe in Europe or possibly Cuba (because, who the hell knows what Cuba is like given we haven’t seen a real photo since 1963). The food, like a bunch of these brunch deals, is somehow secondary. The ropa vieja was good and the supporting items (aka rice and beans) were gobbled so quickly I hardly had time to taste them. But, really, rice and beans and plantains are things I could live on for the rest of eternity.
I think fun is underrated when it comes to restaurants. We like fancy, or trendy or exclusive. But sometimes you just want to sit with a few friends, catch up on old times and drink your face off when the sun is still up.
222 Thompson St. (bet. Bleecker & W 3rd)