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Last week, Gothamist watched everyone and their brother clamor to get into the bar/restaurant and-maybe-speakeasy under The Corner on the corner of Kenmare and Lafayettes Streets. We read how happy they were to bash the antiquated system of getting in. But no one was actually going in and getting drunk. Clearly, it was time for us to step in. We drank and present the first interior photos.

We played by the rules, as outlined originally by Daily Candy below,

1. Enter through the newly renovated corner deli. Ignore the tacos and look for the door marked "employees only."

2. Head downstairs and walk through the kitchen. Stop when you see the lovely hostess.

3. Said hostess gives you a phone number. Head back upstairs and call to see when you can get a reservation to eat, drink, moonlight, scheme, and make merry deep into the night. If you’re lucky, they'll invite you back down right away.

We were able to be sat pretty quickly after having a glass of white sangria ($7) at the bar with the candelabras on top. Our friend was awestruck at the tequila list- over forty varieties- and the men who would rather drink Coronas when given these choices.

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The white sangria was good with cut grapes and citrus but contemplating a move to red, our waitress jumped to get us a sample and that sample was the size of a meager pour at many other bars. The red was more luscious, with alcohol-soaked berries and more of a kick so we switched.

The menu is equal to the list of liquors, both one side of an oversized page and telling just enough. We shared two small plates, crabmeat, avocado and chipotle tostados ($9 for three) and cerviche served in a large parfait glass (also $9) and a salad ($6.50) and mussels in spicy tomato broth and onions ($13). Though stuffed, we also shared a desert- a molten dark chocolate cake with Mexican coffee and ice cream, served in a soup bowl (desert menu not yet printed). Happily satiated, we looked around from the exposed pipes to the crucifixes and the spikes lattice gates to the sliding doors of the bathrooms and back to the comfortable booths.

Even with all the hoops we had to jump through, the place lacked a feeling of real exclusivity. All the seating is good and the only area that could be construed as set aside is a small anteroom to the left of the main bar area and the that room is filled will the least comfortable seating akin to picnic tables. Enjoy La Esquina and order a fine tequila for the presentation (beautifully done on a tiny tray) because no matter how much press they get speakeasies, real or not, are about the drinking.


La Esquina
106 Kenmare Street at Lafayette Street
telephone number available from the hostess