Food & Drink » Nightlife

Cumbia Queens: Latest Hi-Tones DJ Night Is Ultimate Quinceañera Throwback

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The St. Mary's Strip's cheapest bar, Hi-Tones, also happens to have one of its most eclectic musical identities. The intimate, cozy but tiny joint has seen the likes of Flaco Jimenez and Eva Ybarra perform while also hosting folk bands, bring your own vinyl nights (RIP) and dance anthems spun by local DJs. That tradition continues with XV Wednesdays, a new addition to the nightly lineup, which kicked off in early January.

The premise is simple. Think of the rowdiest quince you've been to, add a dash of hip-hop, all the pre-requisite cumbias any legitimate party needs, a slew of girl power jams and get ready to dance. Led by Hi-Tones bartender Natasha Riffle, aka DJ Riffle Effect, 28, and Isaac Guitron, 25, DJ Isaac_TX, the XV night digs deep into the best part of any quinceañera.

It's best to go with friends, as with most things. I always feel extra bougie when ordering a round (with shots, of course) and making out like a bandit. Pony up the $2 for the signature pickle shots or the fruity paleta, a new-to-me concoction that's now a fave. Mexican cervezas your uncles love — Tecate, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca — are rotated as $2 specials while wells will set you back another deuce.

The most recent Wednesday excursion held a solid mix of songs you've not heard on the radio for a while but can't live without. Riffle and Guitron split DJing duties well, weaving between Selena (naturally), Mariah Carey, TLC, Spice Girls and "necio/necia" old school freestyle songs. While both vibing with the crowd, which varies both in gender and age, the set usually closes out with Fugees' "Killing Me Softly" to a chorus of drunken singers.

It'd be one thing for the evening to stop at great hip-swivel-inducing music (side note: Can someone teach me how to cumbia?), but it doesn't. Audience interaction is encouraged. The pair of DJs has been known to blow up real quince photos ("It looked like a museum," said Riffle) and toss out plastic tiaras.

You're 15 all over again, but can drink (legally) and your tias and tios aren't judging from the sidelines. Feel free to twerk it out.

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