Food & Drink

Cuba Libre

Playing around with alternate histories can be fun, like Watchmen imagining a world where superheroes helped the US win in 'Nam, or The Postman imagining a world where Tom Petty could act. For cuisine based on what could've been, check out Cuba Libre

Opening next Friday, the 200+ seat Libre's menu is designed around "what Cuba's cuisine would be like today, if it had continued to flourish beyond the golden era of the 1950s", though its decor's decidedly pre-Castro Old Havana: bubble street lights and colorful '50's era building facades, architecture now missing in actual Cuba -- thanks oddball combo of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence! Their 35 cocktails're built from ingredients pureed and pressed in-house by a sole, designated bar prep, and include specialty joints dashed with their CL signature rum like the pineapple juice/Creme de Cacao White frozen Cuba Colada, a Beet & Basil Mojito with sugar cane juice/fresh lime juice, and a Grilled Pineapple Mojito sprinkled with hierba buena "good herb" that's torn, not muddled -- also how Bond feels when choosing amongst the seven women he has to bed every movie. Cuban eats include piqueos (small plates) like the Pato Ahumado with house-cured smoked duck/roasted corn salsa/Huitlacoche vinaigrette, ceviches like the Atun Fire and Ice with big eye tuna/jalapeno-coconut-ginger sauce/red onion escabeche, and entrees like the tender boneless short rib/pepper salad Vaca Frita and a chorizo/saffron-accompanied Arroz Con Pollo braised with beer from Presidente -- namely, whatever was left in the minifridge after el cop and el professor raided it

In the name of freedom, Libre's giving one lucky Thrillist subscriber a comped dinner party for six with two drinks per person included, meaning you'll be well on your way to an alternate reality where your five friends are really good looking.