(Guest post by Sarah Cunningham).
“Just another day in Adam’s Morgan,” said a smiling vecino as we both stared in wonder at one of our other neighbors, headphone-clad, eyes squeezed shut, belting out Spanish love songs for all the barrio to hear. It was quite an amazing start to my Saturday, let me tell you.
The fact that this kind of thing makes for just a normal day in Adam’s Morgan is one of the most joyful things about living in the neighborhood. I love how it overflows with so many over-lapping intersections of life. Even if you live in the Adam’s Morgan, come home to it every evening, there is always something more to discover there…
The other night brought me to one of those wonderful discoveries- Habana Village, a Cuban restaurant/bar/salsa lounge on Columbia Road, in between Belmont and the intersection of 18th and Columbia. From the street, it beckons like a friend’s house- a welcoming brownstone with a homey awning and windows giving you a peak at the colorful murals animating the walls. You just can’t help but wander up those steps and into the fun!
At the door, a bouncer will accept $6 from the gentleman and a smile from the ladies (so really like $3 a couple, or FREE if you’re a gal swingin’ single!). The music and pitter-patter of salsa dancing feet will lead you upstairs, past wall-paintings of Celia Cruz, crooning to you from another world, and Cuban gente injecting life into the calles of Havana.
Upon entering the salsa lounge, you’ll be hit with the vibrations of the Latino beats, the dim lighting casting a sexy glow upon the dance floor, and the bartenders calling to you as they skillfully pass out mojitos as if they were water. You are truly transported to another world.
And to all those with two left feet, don’t worry! I am one of you! How did I combat the clumsy curse in a salsa lounge such as this? Easy as pie. I wasted no time in ordering a mojito (made with the freshest mint, and stirred with a real piece of sugar cane!), and took that baby to town. Then I enjoyed myself as a bit of a wallflower, just taking in other’s dance steps as I myself took in my drink. Watching everyone step-step-turn was mesmerizing. I forgot I was even a wallflower, I was having so much fun!
Soon enough though, the fun looked too good out on the dance floor and I had to join in. My patient husband (who is a wonderful dancer and is always dragged down by me!) and I scooted off to the side where the shy ones danced, and we tried step-step-turning. We had so much fun!
And you will, too! I guarantee it! Check it out for yourself. Habana Village is located at 1834 Columbia Road, and is open from 6:30 – 10:00 pm Wednesday – Sunday (and until 12:45 am Friday and Saturday). There are salsa lessons on Wednesday-Saturday evenings, from 7:15-9:00 pm for a well-worth it $10. Disfruta mis amigos!