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Manu Chao

SPECS  arty latin bar/restaurant – highlights cuisines and cocktails from all the cities on the Pan-American highway – contemporary industrial look with some quirky Latin accents
GOOD FOR   cocktails – wine – tapas/small bites – dates – small groups – chill scene – post work scene
DANCING OR CONVERSATION  conversation – fun atmosphere – background latin music
CROWD  chill and trendy SoHo crowd – av age 25-40
ENTRY  not an issue – reservations are not needed
MENU DRINK  Latin cocktail selection made with seasonal farm fresh ingredients – wine/champagne by the glass – beer – MENU
MENU FOOD  Latin cuisine – mostly small plates with a small selection of entrees – tapas and tortas are the highlights – food served till 1AM – MENU
HOURS/LOCATION  24 Prince St (between Elizabeth St & Mott St), Mon-Sun 10:30am – 1am – MAP

Lying in the shadow of the giant rose on the New Museum sits a divine little tapas bar on Prince Street. Oficina Latina offers up a simple concept featuring the cuisines and cocktails found in the cities along the Pan American highway. The Pan American Highway was built in the early 20’s and it covers diverse environments and stunning picturesque locations across the Americas. The highway runs from Monteray Mexico to Buenas Aires Argentina and features cities such as Panama City, Quito, Lima and Valparaiso, along with others that offer a range of diverse culture, food and drink.

Oficina is a fantastic escape. Walking in transports you to an Latin oasis of mojitos and  pork belly. White brick, hanging edison bulbs, and chrome chairs give the bar an arty industrial look meant to simulate a mechanics garage found on the Pan-American Highway. The bar has an incredible amount of detail, every fixture seems well thought out and fits the look perfectly. The vibe is fun, chill, and a little arty. On a weekend night you might find a few people dancing in the back, but most are noshing on tapas and throwing back cocktails. There is a fun, discombobulated back room staged to simulate where the mechanic would sleep or rest between jobs. During the warmer months, the bar opens up the front spilling onto the street and creating a breezy airy feel.

At first look it would seem the cocktail list is a bit traditional but a second look will show bartenders artfully using seasonally fresh ingredients to bring these classics to life. Drinks like the avocado cilantro margarita, ginger lychee mojito or cumquat caipirinha are  all beautifully crafted and offer a creative twists on these South American classics. Oficina Latina offers a full food menu till 1AM and the menu seems to lead itself to late night bites. There is a large tapas selection, sopas (soup), ensaladas (salads), tortas (sandwiches), and platos principales (main course). The tapas and tortas provide the strongest and most delicious options. Highlights include the baked provoleta cheese served in a cast iron skillet with olive oil and a smattering of herbs…phenomenal. Crispy tostones are paired with a tasty chili sauce that serves up just the right amount of spice. Pork belly arepas provide a sinful amount of flavor with the perfect amount of crunch from the house made corn arepa.

Oficina Latina is not your 6 course tasting menu date spot… Oficina is where you head for a refreshing cocktail, pork belly tapas, interesting decor, and a chill hip vibe. So next you are in SoHo on a brutal shopping rampage, save some money for a drink and recharge at Oficina Latina.

-E

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