Viva China!: A Gateway to Mexico on the Lower East Side

Eat, drink, man, woman
photo: Willie Davis

Clandestine meetings can be arranged at this boîte on Broome Street, in an out-of-the-way neighborhood that lends itself to extramarital trysts, secretive business affairs, and other mysterious deeds. This tiny bar is characterized by a cultural hodgepodge that would throw off the most gifted students of the subversive: Its name translates to "Chinese neighborhood," yet it's closer to Little Italy than Chinatown; the decor features lanterns, scrolls, and other Oriental touches, yet the food is Latin and the dominant drink tequila. Don't be fooled—the bar serves over 40 types of the agave-based liquor, a spirit that, when it grabs you, will have you peering through a glass with a look of malice and knowingness. But the only thing you may be in the know about is that such a place exists. This spot doesn't cater to amateurs who'd rather imbibe Jose Cuervo–style shots—the only J.C. on the menu costs $20—but rather to urbanites who can appreciate a round of Patron Blanco ($8), a rich and complex personal favorite. Those who aren't quite ready to take the plunge can dabble in the spicy grapefruit margarita ($10) or give a nod to Brazil with the fresh raspberry caipirinha ($8). They are equally tantalizing and will have you feeling devious no matter what.

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