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Friday, 16 November 2012

Barrio East, Shoreditch



I once shared an apartment with two Latinos in downtown Manhattan. Boy, when one hot-tempered Puerto Rican falls out with his even more volatile lover over over a hickey he's attempting to pass off as hives caused by a fiery Scotch bonnet pepper, the collateral damage makes Hurricane Sandy look like a storm in a teacup. Furniture trashed; clothes shredded; but more distressingly, a hail of broken black vinyl raining down on Broadway twenty floors below, chucked from our windows.  Hector Lavoe; Ralfi Pagan; Willie Colon; Celia Cruz; Orchestra Harlow; The Fania All-Stars: all were smashed to smithereens on the sidewalk as Romeo the Ricky Martin lookalike set about cheating Chico's prized record collection with a vengeance. Such a waste. I owe my great interest in all musica latina to those rowing roomies. In underground dance clubs in unfashionable Zip codes, they really got me into it those Nu Yorican beats, patiently teaching me how to dance salsa like I was raised in San Juan (from the knees down and with clenched butt cheeks). That I heard the DJ drop some of those old skool beats is reason enough for me to commend Barrio East  - numero tres from the hombres behind Islington and Soho’s smaller Barrios.  I dig this cool cantina's dime store plastic kitsch and zingy fiesta colours. Me gusto mucho its glass pineapple scone lights - I want, I want, I want!  Holed up in an old caravan, we load up on street food and £8.50 tropi-cocktails - Gingerbread Colada and The Hoodrat (vodka, chill, red pepper vanilla and apple). On the Boom Boom Room’s busy dance-floor, Shoreditch scenesters attempt (and fail miserably) to shake it like J-Lo and Marc Anthony back in the day. I'd have paid good money to witness that barney - and the shredded clothes from Barney's -when those two firecrackers were splitting up. 
141 Shoreditch High Street E1 www.welovebarrio.com