What is smooth? Well, if you ask me, it’s a lot like a perfectly cold and creamy cone of gelato on a sunny Vallarta afternoon. It’s a leisurely sip of red wine under a tree in a hammock or chair with both feet in the air. It’s the almost intimidatingly luxurious feel of rich, velvety suede. I share with you some of my favorite things to let you know it’s not a word I generally just throw around…I use it with confidence to describe my recent visit to an often overlooked local lounge known as El Patio de Mi Casa.
The Vibe: As the venue’s hospitable name suggests, El Patio offers an atmosphere that is both inviting and intimate from the moment guests arrive. The main dining area also houses a performance stage for live music and is backed by the bar, which offers a wine list and a selection of a local craft beer along with the standard spirits. Bartenders at this establishment also know the enchanting secrets of the Ginger Verde, a stellar specialty drink that lit up the night—and the faces of curious nearby drinkers—with its glowing green color.
Fridays and Saturdays are performance nights at El Patio de Mi Casa, giving the local community of slap bassists and jazz flute players a place to showcase their skills. The mellow international sound selection that accompanies a night’s unfolding most of the week is scheduled to give way to the eclectic stylings of Moruno, a three-piece outfit practicing a brand of musical alchemy they like to call “Gipsy Jazz.” The savvy assembled fill the air with warm chatter in anticipation of showtime…it’s going to be a fun night.
The Vices: Okay fine, to be fair, the vast majority of my nights are fun. Still, this one was made into a memory when the Ginger Verde made its way into my life for the first time. A serendipitous meeting it was, as well…it wasn’t until I was walking to The Patio that evening that I happened to cross paths with a good friend and veteran barman—a man who has probably had more libations spilled into his beard than I have ever consumed in my 29 years. His fully qualified advice upon learning of my plans that evening was simple: “Get the Ginger Verde.”
I took his advice, and now I pass it on to you.
The refreshingly verdant drink was a nicely balanced blend of bright citrus and sharp ginger, rendered perfectly into sparkling green crystals that melted away ethereally as the cocktail made its introduction. The frozen delight was an impossible conundrum…a drink that demanded to be savored, but gave the drinker just a fleeting moment in time to enjoy it to its fullest.
My enjoyment of the drink was apparently so evident that it attracted the attention of a group of visitors seated elsewhere who just had to know what was in the cup I was marveling at like stemware from the Last Supper. I was only too happy to join them at their table for raised glasses and shared stories in between songs…it is, after all, my job.
As the lively sound continued to permeate the evening, one of the group was so inspired by the infectious melodies (and perhaps a bit of white wine) to join the group onstage as a surprise guest dancer…not a practice I’d recommend, but sometimes you can roll the dice if the feeling is right.
The band quite literally played it off by honoring one of her requests—a French-language classic by the name of “La Vie en Rose.” The velvety arrangement bathed the room in its’ dulcet tones…a celebration of ecstasy in a life well lived. Not understated nor overstated…but stated, and clearly done. Ever so smooth.
The Verdict: It’s no secret to the staff at El Patio de Mi Casa that I find their confines particularly friendly, and my official visit was representative of my fondest experiences with this charming lounge on Guerrero 311, just inland from the Los Arcos Ampitheater along the Malecon. When I’m in the mood for a night of good company with inspired cocktails set to an eminently sociable soundtrack, El Patio de Mi Casa is my home away from home. Maybe I’ll catch you there.