Cuba Libre: A Taste of Cuba in Washington, DC

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Cuba Libre offers diners a culiary passport to Cuba’s intriguing flavors and culture.

Why We Came:
Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar is preparing a fresh menu with new cocktails for the summer. The D.C. location is one of four in the U.S. and has been in city since 2010, combining Cuban dishes with a flare of Spanish, Creole, African, and Asian flavors. 

Who's in Charge:
Cube Libra is an affiliate of GuestCounts Hospitality, which operates a wide range of restaurants from Orlando to D.C.  In the kitchen, award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot and executive chef Matt Zagorski bring diners the tastes that reflect Cuba culinary style with a modern twist. Chef Pernot is well known for travelling to Cuba and updates his menu to reflect the current trends in Cuban culinary cooking.

The Look:  Upon entering, the restaurant’s unique interior greets you with an tropical ambiance as you notice balconies, arched entranceways, ornamental salvaged doors, 20-foot-tall ceilings complimented and an assortment of exotic plants and palm trees. 

The Vibe: Cuba Libre gets very busy during Happy Hour but the hostess and servers do everything they can get you taken care of.  A majority of the patrons are local enjoying signature cocktails.  During tourist season, the restaurant is also a popular place to escape the outdoor elements and enjoy a novel interior.  There won’t be much room at the bar and you may be left standing if you don’t arrive early enough.

The Peeps:  Cuba Libre is in D.C.’s Chinatown and a wide array of diners can be found from business to casual.  With a popular happy hour and fantastic cocktails, tends to draw a large crowd even on a Monday. On select nights, Cuba Libre clears a portion of the dining area to make room for people to dance to salsa, meringue, and bachata music. 

Service: Service is attentive even with a large crowd that can gather for happy hour and dinner. It is a sight to see how Cuba Libre servers are on their top game ensuring as much as they can that diners receive their best experience.  If you ask the servers questions about the specific particulars of a dish they may not have the answer but they will be sure to return to you with an answer. 

What to Drink: Cuba Libre has an impressive rum menu with over 95 premium and flavored varieties.  The novelty, though, of Cuba Libre is that they create their own brand of rum using fresh ingredients.  To really experience the Cuba Libre Cuban experience it is recommended to try their mojitos.  They have an array from original to fruit flavored mojitos using fresh fruit.  If a mojito isn’t your drink, then perhaps try a simple rum and Coke. At Cuba Libre, guests can enjoy three variations of a classic cocktail that include the original, cherry and coconut.