As biting winds and dropping temperatures serve as a precursor to winter's chill, take refuge in the warm and open-armed welcome that makes Camaradas a worthwhile stop. Nestled between 115th and 116th streets, the four-month-old bar and restaurant (serving mostly finger foods) represents the blue-collar workers and families that toiled and thrived in the barrio for generations by making its digs a cultural mecca for locals and passersby alike. Amid the red glow and all-wooden, rustic charm of this self-proclaimed workers' house, a jovial clientele of Nuyoricans and friends enjoy bomba performances by artists like Yerbabuena, resident DJs spinning funk and soul, and poetry readings. The quality drinks are some of the cheapest in the city, with a selection of 40 international beers, and wines averaging $5 a glass. Try a subtly sweet and smooth Chimay from Belgium ($10) or, on draft, a crisp pint of Magner's Cider ($5). You can't go wrong with the sangriathe only mixed drink herewhich comes in red or a pleasant lighter and fruitier white (both $5). Plus, the owners weren't kidding when they called this place Camaradas ("Friends"). When you sit at the sturdy bar and order, the staff is so friendly you can't help but feel like you're home.
photo: Cary Conover
Friends of the neighborhood
Camaradas el Barrio 2241 First Avenue