Savor the Culture of Vintage Cuba at Rumbar with Vizcaya VXOP

If you’re looking for a sophisticated, refined yet inviting space in which to enjoy Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum, look no further than Rumbar, located inside Key Biscayne’s Ritz-Carlton. The name of this storied hospitality company is synonymous with luxury and exemplary service, and Rumbar puts a decidedly Latin spin on the Ritz-Carlton’s elegance.

With deep, inviting leather couches and armchairs, crimson walls and rich mahogany woodwork, Rumbar looks every bit the gentleman’s club. The atmosphere is genteel and relaxed—perfect for kicking back to savor the spice and complexity of Vizcaya. Rumbar also has a humidor that boasts an extensive collection of cigars for your smoking pleasure.

Despite its decidedly vintage feel—Rumbar reminds patrons not just of Hemingway, as so many Cuban-inspired rum-friendly establishments do, but also, with its slowly turning wooden ceiling fans, of Bogey and Bacall—the small plates offered by Rumbar’s kitchen have a decidedly modern feel. Choose from short-rib sliders topped with goat cheese mousse and arugula, yuca fries with a creamy chimichurri dipping sauce, or a Caribbean pineapple pizza with cilantro. The classic Cuban sandwich composed of ham, pork, pickles and cheese, the Media Noche, is reworked as a panini. Key lime pie is topped with mango coulis in a delicious marriage of two tropical flavors.

As you would expect at a such a delightfully old-school bar, there is a comprehensive list of cocktails, ranging from time-honored standards like daiquiris, mojitos and caipirinhas, to innovative specialty martinis. The true rum lover, however, will probably bypass these in favor of a vertical rum flight—or possibly a tasting of his own devising. It’s also possible to rent one of Rumbar’s VIP rum lockers, in order to store your own personal bottle of Vizcaya VXOP.

Make sure to check out Rumbar on Saturday nights, when Grupo Nostalgia, a four-piece Latin music group, will truly transport you and your date to Old Havana. Any night of the week, however, is a perfect night to sit back and enjoy a cigar as the friendly bartender pours you a neat Vizcaya, at Key Biscayne’s upscale destination for the enjoyment of rum and Cuban culture.

Photograph courtesy of K. Hurley

Published in: on August 12, 2010 at 8:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Vizcaya and La Descarga: Two Tastes of Old Havana

If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing the sensuous heat, lush scents and vibrant nightlife of Havana, the men behind Los Angeles’s newest classic cocktail venue have created a dream come true.

La Descarga is the newest venture of twins Mark and Jonnie Houston, and this East Hollywood nightspot transports guests to another time and place. Step inside, and you’ll find a venue that seems lifted right from 1950s Cuba, down to the foyer turntable playing salsa, cumbia and mambo music. Authentic touches are everywhere, from the ceiling fans and wrought iron decorations, to the cigar smoke that swirls on the smokers’ patio, to the colorful atmosphere and even more colorful dancers.

What really sets La Descarga apart, however, are its cocktails. Premium rums like Vizcaya VXOP can be sipped neat or on the rocks, but if you really want the full Old Havana treatment, have the mixologists make you a classic: a Hemingway daiquiri (double the rum, natch!), say, a rum punch, or a minty and refreshing mojito. In the mood for something new? Try a Bad Spaniard, a Tropical Holiday, a Honey Swizzle or another offering from the cocktail list.

La Descarga’s owners have hinted that rum flights and punch bowls may soon be available, which gives rum aficionados something to look forward to. For now, sip a Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 rum or rum-based drink and enjoy the Latin beat of the shows at La Descarga, which feature congas, fire sticks, bar-top dances and some of the curviest performers in L.A.

The vibe at La Descarga is a perfect match for the flavor of Cuban-style Vizcaya VXOP. Close your eyes as you sip; listen to the beat of the drum as you taste the warm caramel and spice that the rum offers up. The combination of Vizcaya’s sensual tastes, soul-stirring music and the murmur of beautiful women will make you feel you’re in Old Havana–you may just forget all about the here and now.

The Details:

La Descarga
1159 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles

8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Reservations are encouraged: (323) 466-1324

reservations@ladescarga.com

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 1:43 PM  Leave a Comment  
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