Camaradas El Barrio

Camaradas delivers an earthy Nuyorican pub experience that attracts a host of local artists—from poet Willie Perdomo to the singer and actor known as ‘Flaco Navaja’. That’s one of the many draws for New Yorkers and tourists alike.

El Barrio’s most famous watering hole also offers a vibrant social and music scene, with a food and drink menu that departs from the traditional bar fare.

Take a break from the plain old salsa and chips appetizer and go for the Camaradas platter. This sampling of different Boricua dishes, $28, includes mini alcapurrias, pastelitos, skewers and tostones with a mojito sauce and a Camaradas sauce. The signature house sauce is a blend of mayo, queso blanco, roasted peppers, chipotle peppers and other seasoning.

If you are looking for something with a bigger bite, I recommend the Jibaro sandwich, which is a big hit with the regulars at the bar. Instead of bread, the Jibaro has sandwich size tostones as a substitute with pernil, tomatoes, greens and Camaradas sauce in between, all for $11.

What also grabbed my attention was all the thought that went into the cocktail list.

Walter, the bartender for the night, gave me the run down on the libations. Each drink has its own identity and a Caribbean twist to it. For example, the “Maqua” is a Nicaraguan inspired drink made with Don Q, Solerno orange liquor, lemon juice and guava. Another unique drink is the “Tembleque”, which takes after its namesake, a Puerto Rican coconut pudding.

After having a Maqua, I headed towards the stage and enjoyed a performance by the Latin rock band, Ay Balazo. Camaradas is a small space but that also makes for an intimate experience with the band, which had the crowd singing along to its songs.