Let’s be honest here people. Contrary to popular belief, Calle 8 is not a hotbed of modern culture. Sure they’ve got some historical mainstays (i.e. Versailles), artistic activities (i.e. Viernes Cultural) and even some up-and-coming hotspots (i.e. Azucar Ice Cream Company), but those are few and far between compared to the joyerias, check cashing stores and peluquerías. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Calle 8 (and don’t want any hate mail), but the perceived hub of Latin society in our city could use an upgrade.
Enter Lekoké Wine & Bites, a family-owned boutique wine bar and café. Located smack on 8th Street (between SW 12th and 13th Avenues), once you walk inside you’ll forget you were ever on Calle 8. In fact, it is the mission of husband and wife owners Ronald “Koko” Torres and Laura Espinosa to instantly transport their guests into a different world. They’ve done just that by creating a very warm and welcoming environment that’s cozy, casual and elegant, resembling an old-school speakeasy with antique grandfather clocks, a huge wooden bar and shelves upon shelves of wine.
Now that we brought it up, let’s talk about the wines. That’s what this place is really all about and they pride themselves on having one of the city’s best selection of wines from both the Old World and New World. Even if you’re not a connoisseur, Koko is always around to provide some tips, recommendations and even offer up a taste of what he’s drinking on any given night. Additionally, they offer a menu of simple yet sophisticated snacks available to share tapas style, always served with a smile and a laugh from Laura. And, to top it all off, their prices are more than reasonable. I guess being on Calle 8 has its perks after all…
Mitch’s recommendation: Lekoké is a great spot for a quiet date night or just a casual night out with friends. February marked their one-year anniversary and I’ve been frequenting since the beginning. Since day one Koko and Laura have treated my friends and me like family, always hospitable and gracious. For me, that’s reason enough to recommend this place, but their wines and food are actually really good too. What more could you ask for?
Piquillo & Mozzarella
Shrimp al Ajillo with Baked Tostones
Seared Tuna and Avocado Salad
Molten Chocolate Cake