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First Sip: La Cava

Jan 13, 2014 | 17:28 Mon
A large sort-of Spanish place opened a few weeks ago on Yongjia Lu. Here's the listing. We passed by late last week and found a decent happy hour for those who want a bar that's a little more chilled and roomy than the nearby Yongkang Lu.

The venue used to be a photography studio and when you first walk in the door it feels a little pokey, like the space hasn't been put to best use. There's a long bar but only a couple of tables off to one side. However, upstairs there's a large area with a vaulted ceiling and lots of blonde wood. A central bar dispenses drinks to

sofas grouped around low tables. We were in a party of about eight and they dragged up a couple of tables so we could all sit around together. A separate room feels like it's more for dining, with upright chairs and small tables.

The service is really warm and friendly and the drink prices are excellent. They run a daily happy hour from 6-9pm when beer, wine and mixers are two-for-one. Pints of Carlsberg are only 35rmb so two-for-one on those works out at excellent value. The bar manager you might recognize: She used to run the floor at Cantina Agave and she's all smiles.

Thursday is ladies' night, which means girls get free cocktails from 8pm. The cocktail they were pouring didn't look like anything you'd haul ass over here just to try, but a nice bonus for girls, all the same. The food menu looks like a work in progress: they offer some tapas plates from 35rmb, plus an assortment of western easy-cook staples like pasta and salads.

Anyway, for those living down there around Yongjia Lu, it's a pleasant new neighborhood bar with enough space to accommodate large groups and friendly staff. Despite the name, we didn't see much evidence of Spanish sparkling wine on the menu, just glasses going from 40rmb, though there's a Saturday special that gets you free-flow cava all afternoon for 150rmb. Find the full listing here.