Picture yourself in 1950s-era Havana, cool cocktail in hand, air breezing through the bar, fans swirling overhead and a crowd mingling, awaiting live music. This is the feeling captured by the newly rebuilt Ball and Chain bar in Little Havana.
In the center of the large main room sits a huge bar that can be accessed from any angle. With the dramatic light fixture overhead, it is gorgeous. The building was redone from top to bottom, exposing the A-frame ceiling and unveiling some left over music posters from the first incarnation of the bar, when Count Basie was playing there. The found posters once again grace the walls.
The cocktail program is Havana-meets-2014 Hip, and there are plenty of unique choices. (My favorite is the Passion Fontaine, with tequila, passion fruit, jalapeno, basil and lime. Note to self: must get recipe.)
Out back, there is another large space with another bar. The night we were there it was closed for a private party, so I’ll have to get back and check that out. In the evenings there is live music, and it changes throughout the night. On Saturday it was a jazz trio followed by a large Cuban band. It was certainly lively.
While Ball and Chain does serve tapas-style food (think medianoche, deconstructed and stuffed into an egg roll, or small fish tacos), it is not a restaurant. Though the fried plantains are to-die-for. (I am pretty sure we had three orders of them). It is most definitely a bar, and the cocktails are the star of the show. Unfortunately, the night we were there, bar service was a bit slow. I chalk that up to only being open a few weeks, and still working out the kinks, but I am confident that once they are smoothed out this will continue to be the happening place in Little Havana, perfect for a night on the town with live music and great cocktails.
Ball and Chain is located at 1513 SW 8th Street in Little Havana.