Traveling to Cuba has gotten immeasurably easier, but if you've already burned all your vacation days for the year, there's a new Cuban inspired rooftop bar that can take you at least partially there. Azul On The Rooftop has opened inside Hotel Hugo in Hudson Square, also known as "the area around the Holland Tunnel." But you'll be far above the honking gridlock on the top floor, where design firm Stonehill & Taylor has installed plush-looking white banquettes, plant life and a protective glass railing to enjoy the 360 degree views of downtown skyscrapers and the wilds of New Jersey to the west.
Besides the views, they've got a touch of Cuba's atavistic vibe, with vintage 1950s-style posters and just enough graffiti to keep it gritty. Recent Cuban traveler Lauren Evans didn't see any "white couches and fairy lights" on her visit to the island, but like all good fantasies, there's always room for embellishment. Bottom line: needs more metal.
After a few cocktails you won't be so concerned with authenticity, especially if those cocktails are made with Kelvin Slush, who have setup their first remote slushy machine at the bar. Try it out in the Frozen Passionfruit Mojito ($16) with Bacardi, fresh mint and passionfruit puree. In keeping with rooftop tradition, drinks here are not—by any stretch of the imagination—reasonably-priced, but you can "get away" with a draft of Pacifico Clara for $9.
Same goes for the bocaditos like chips and guac ($9) and a Cuban Sandwich ($15). Inexplicably, there are also tacos. Tacos filled with seasoned ground beef and tacos filled with Organic Rotisserie Pulled Chicken. Tacos that are $16 for two. Perhaps its we who are the Taco Terrorists.
Azul is located inside Hotel Hugo at 525 Greenwich Street in Hudson Square; website