Food & Drink

World-spanning cocktails in Soho

World travellers often set off in hopes of finding themselves, only to have their great discoveries be that their fondness for alcohol transcends national borders, and that even when they are sober, they purchase kitsch like they are not. Taking that self-knowledge and running with it, the man behind Barrio Central.

Central's a two-floor joint from Barrio North's owner, whose wanderings inspired him to "surround himself with stuff he loves", namely globally inspired hooch and festive Mexican trappings ("Day of the Dead" sofa cushions, old movie posters, floral wallpaper, a Lucha Libre wrestling mural) interspersed with American low-culture: downstairs, a corner-booth Tiki shack and half-naked hula girl mural, and upstairs a bartop modeled after half an Airstream -- though thankfully not serving beers with half the calories.

Cocktails are organized by region, including Central America's "No Brainer" (two Herraduras, guava, pineapple, grapefruit, lime, bubbly, served in a Mexican Wrestler style "Barrio Man" Toby jug); North America's "Pacific Twitch" (Sailor Jerry, apple, ginger, falernum, Ting, in a mini-barrel); and, from "Europe and the East", the lychee-infused 42 Below/coconut/oriental orange "Thai Whisper", a subtle concoction you can almost hear saying, "Psst. We're going to dump thousands of liters of our own blood on the Government Building -- pass it on".

Further fermentation involves international beers (Argentina's Quilmes, Cuba's Palma Crystal, Louisiana hot-day staple Dixie), seven champagnes, and wines including Acacia Tree Chenin Blanc, Augustinos Syrah Rose, and Wandering Bear Merlot, an easy-drinker guaranteed to see you wandering bare too

A strong music vibe's furthered via a house record label, plus plans for acoustic nights, regular house band slots, even a brass-band/DJ battle; plus, each drink menu's sandwiched between two self-pressed 7'' records with "random 70s/80s music" on them -- kitsch so tempting, even if you are sober, you will steal like you are not.