This more “newsy” article first published as That’s Rum Way to Do It on Technorati.
Note for Annapolis locals — Paladar is now open across from Gordon Biersch in the Annapolis Towne Center. We’ve been twice – the food isn’t bad (and has a Caribbean slant which is new for around here) and the decor is pretty neat if you’re looking for some place new to check out!
You’ve been to 1000 brewery/restaurants. Someone noticed you were getting bored.
Welcome to the rise of the rum bar. While vodka is the top selling alcohol in the United States, and Scotch tops world-wide, rum has the funky personality around which you can build a restaurant brand. And with the embargo against Cuba as close to being repealed as it has been in quite some time, restaurants like Cuba Libre and the latest addition, Paladar, might be in prime position to ride a wave of Cuban resurgence.
Cuba Libre opened in Philadelphia in 2000, with restaurants in Orlando, Atlantic City and soon, Washington, DC following. Paladar, which is literally the name for a small, family-run, private-owned restaurant in Cuba, opened in Cleveland, OH in 2009 and Annapolis, Maryland in September of 2010. Both feature Cuban favorites like skirt-steak and seafood and sides featuring plantains and black beans and rice. Both add a nice twist to a Spanish food neophyte’s idea of Spanish food, which very well may start at “taco” and end at “bell.”
Oh, and rum. Did we mention rum? Both expand the average bar’s standard rum menu tenfold, offering both classic rum drinks like the Mojito, Caipirinha and Dark and Stormy; as well as high-end rum brands from all over the Caribbean, which allow you to taste and compare from Barbados to Bermuda.
Add to these burgeoning chains a host of single restaurant rum joints like Rum Bar in Philadelphia (featuring a broader Caribbean range of food such as Bajan soup and Jamaican jerk) and Cienfuegos in New York and maybe you don’t have to go as far as Florida to get your share of stateside rum cocktails.
With the economy the way it is, save the flight fare to the Caribbean and hole up in the a rum joint near you. You might be a bit paler at the end of your vacation, but at least the hangover should make you feel warm and fuzzy.