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La Descarga, Los Angeles, California

Evoking "Forbidden" Cuba in Hollywood
Alejandro Benes
Posted: May 2, 2013

(continued from page 1)

All the while, Bob Payne, the maker of the only cigar line sold at the club, is giving me different sizes to try. These Payne and Mason Cigars are new to me and they are well made, generally medium-bodied smokes. The cigars on the menu range from $15 for a robusto to $25 for a full-bodied double corona. You're welcome to bring your own cigars.

As is the case with any club in L.A., people watching is a great amusement, but the biggest attraction at La Descarga is the music. The house band starts playing around 10 p.m. and immediately gets the dance floor moving. On the night I was there, three dancers showcased their talents on the aforementioned catwalk. One of them incorporates fire eating into her number. When the next performer takes the stage, Johnny Houston tells me, "Her name is Dakota."

"Of course it is," I respond, as Dakota basically dances with the wall. Victor Cruz wishes he had these moves.

The challenges presented by La Descarga are few, but significant. Men are "encouraged" not to wear a shirt without a collar, so get your guayabera on. The place is small, maybe "officially" holding about 120 guests. Get there early or expect to wait. The best, and most crowded, nights are Thursday through Saturday.

Hearing a conversation is another difficulty, but not so much if you go intending to enjoy the music. And a cigar. And a rum from Venezuela. Then another cigar. Then a rum from Nicaragua. get the idea.

La Descarga
1159 N Western Ave
Hollywood, CA 90029
(323) 466-1324

Tuesday to Saturday: 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Bottle Service: Tables are reserved with bottle service Thursday through Saturday (the same days as the shows). Minimums are a bit lighter on Thursday. Friday and Saturday is about one bottle per five people seated.

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