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Tucked at the bottom of a towering condominium blocks from the Staples Center, this cozily modern Argentine bar-cafe merges Downtown sleek with old-world charm. From the street, Barcito blends in with its glass-and-steel surroundings. Step inside, though, and it’s a whole other vibe. Natural light bathes the sprawling, high-ceilinged space in a warm glow while a breeze blows from wrought-iron fans whirling overhead. Everywhere you look, there are vibrant photographs of Buenos Aires where owner Andrea Borgen spent her summers. It’s true, checkered floors and industrial accents don’t necessarily fit the Argentine barchetype. But an easy-going staff, homemade empanadas, and Fernet and Coke on tap succeed in transporting visitors to a corner cafe on a cobblestoned street off the tourist beat. Bright and airy and full of Argentine charm, Barcito brings a welcomed breath of fresh air to a nightlife scene dominated by speakeasies. Why not imbibe above ground for a change?
Good for: A post-work nosh or pre-game tipple. The finger food is filling and drinks are fairly cheap—there aren’t many places Downtown where you can get three cocktails for around $20. The libations, by the way, are both refreshing and creative. Take the stone fruit sangria ($8), which contains rosé wine and sits for two hours before being served. Or the Yerba Brava cocktail made with a Yerba Mate-infused vodka, which beverage director Angel Meza prepares in-house. Factor in the abundance of seating inside and out, ample elbow room and an entirely laid-back ambience, and Barcito is a fantastic joint for meeting up and relaxing with friends any day of the week.
The scene: The South Park condo community. Residents of the building that houses Barcito populate this local watering hole, and it's all very casual and neighborly. Visitors change out of their work attire before congregating around two-tops or saddling up to the long bar. There’s an intimate feel here despite it being such a large space. Conversation is kept fairly low—think quiet rendezvous rather than raucous reunion.
Drink this: The Argentine classic, Fernet and Coke ($9), is a must. You can opt for the bitter Branca or the sweeter and more palatable Menta with your Mexican Cola. Of the other four ‘tails on tap during our visit, the Yerba Brava ($8) was a perfect refresher of lemon, honey and a Yerba Mate tea-infused vodka made in-house. The Sangria ($8) also blew our minds; Barcito’s rendition is made with stone fruit (peaches, plums and pears), rum and rosé. Meza was adamant about this sangria being neither red nor white, and the result is a crisp, easy sipper that tastes like you've bitten into a juicy pear. At least three of the five drinks on tap will change seasonally, according to Meza.
Our tip: Make a point to sit at the bar. Meza is a wealth of knowledge, and is eager to answer all of your questions.
403 W 12th St
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat 5pm-Midnight|
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