BEST COCKTAILS - 2004
Chino Latino often gets slammed for being too hipster-friendly, but we don't give a damn about the patronage: If loving a place that sells cocktails that come with umbrellas and plastic monkeys is wrong, we don't want to be right. If you want a boring beer or a simple glass of wine, then by all means go to another, less "trendy" bar. For cocktails, though, you'll want a slightly upscale place to match your lavish glass, and Chino Latino certainly fits the bill. The decor is eye-poppingly colorful, from the snappy green tables, to the bar illuminated with red, blue, and orange lights, to the missing wall between the girls' and boys' washrooms, to the corner booth lit with dozens of votive candles. The music is usually an upbeat mambo. And then there are the drinks. There's a certain charm to a drink that's mixed up well and looking fancy just for you. Plus, choosing from a long list of silly names and double-entendres (Sorbet of Pigs, Kama Sutra Mama, El Orgazmo) is part of the fun. One of the more complicated drinks, the Monkey Humper, comes with dark rum, vanilla Stoli, ice cream, and a banana, served up as a yummy mess in a coconut. And the Mojito is one of the best in town--the perfect blend of rum, mint, lime juice, and sugar. If you want a frill-free mixed drink, they can do that too. But why spoil the fun?