Flaming mojitos and hot ladies await in Washington Heights

Perfect for inappropriate come-ons, the unisex bathroom at Viva is clearly the best part of the bar. "You go in there and it's like, woooo!" says manager Arturo Lopez. Each stall is made of a double layer of Plexiglas, revealing—just vaguely enough—the contours of crouching bodies. Strings of metal beads separate the bathroom from the rest of the club, which is loud, dark, and often lit by flaming mojitos in the hands of hot young ladies—the longer the drink burns, the drunker you get. The drink menu is designed almost exclusively for women and includes more than 15 sugary cocktails, mixed with ingredients like tropical-fruit purees, Starbucks coffee, and champagne ($10 to $15). The bar is just a block from the 175th Street A train, but the dress code is as stringent as at any place in Tribeca. (Lopez told me that my jeans, tank top, and frizz-ball hairdo would not normally make it past the door.) "Once you're inside, everyone looks stylish. We don't even have windows here," he explained. "Really, there's no way to know you're in Washington Heights."

 
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