Being the sort of person who walks out of the store in our new shoes, CC had to be at the redone Havana Hotel April 1 to see what Texas lifestyle queenpin Liz Lambert had done with the former Cohiba. `See “Havana social,” March 24.` The clubby basement bar was a favorite confiding/confession spot for local artists and politicos, and we all fretted that its speakeasy appeal might be stripped away with the old paint. Wasted angst, it turns out.
First impressions, once our eyes adjusted to the sexy deep-blue shadows, were excellent. Less clutter and the sapphire atmosphere highlights the enveloping furniture, and the remaining antique mirrors have regained their looking-glass magic. The bar offers greater variety now, too, including a taste of the mixology fetish that has infected Houston: sipping mezcal, plus a mezcal margarita (wonderfully smoky, but still too sweet; work on that one, please) and house takes on, e.g., the mojito. Being America’s original mixta metropolis, we don’t even mind the conflation of Cuban and Mexican culture — we’re just happy to have our favorite watering hole back, better than ever. — Elaine Wolff