Latino parties sizzle on Mondays

The 80 per cent of the people who attend Latin nights are Latino, however many locals are beginning to visit the bars on Monday nights as well. Photo by Grevic Alvarado
The 80 per cent of the people who attend Latin nights are Latino, however many locals are beginning to visit the bars on Monday nights as well. Photo by Grevic Alvarado

Latino parties have become a Monday night sensation featuring a mix of music, dance and food.

The reopening of the bars and entertainment venues has brought renewed joy to patrons, and the traditional Latino party, which began to be celebrated here 25 years ago, has also seen some rejuvenation.

Manuel González, a 28-year-old Venezuelan who teamed up with two other people, one of them a Trinidadian, to reopen the old Tipsi Bar on Caroni Savannah Road in Chaguanas, told Newsday the Latino parties are loaded with the joy and the characteristic flavour of the Spanish-speaking countries.

Manuel González owner of Aura Bara at Caroni Savannah Road. Photo by Sureash Cholai

“Trinidad and Tobago is a country full of joy, music, culture, dance and gastronomy and that is why the idea of ​​investing in a bar here has attracted me for years,” he said.

The idea of ​​having Latino parties on Mondays has been around for more than two decades.

González has lived in TT for nine years, but he knows many people who attended the first Latin parties here.

“Latino Mondays have become a tradition as a result of the first Latinos who came to TT. They worked until Sundays and used Mondays to rest and obviously went out to party,” he said.

Latino Monday was started by the Sabor Latino bar located in Maraval more than 25 years ago. With the arrival of thousands of Venezuelans to TT, this tradition has expanded, and now about 20 per cent of the bars in TT have Latino parties. The main difference between a Latino night and a normal one is the music and the theme.

“For each party there is a different idea with the goal of making the community feel at home,” he said.

Eighty per cent of attendees are Latino. However, González said in recent weeks this figure has been changing with the presence of more locals, both men and women, who like to dance to the rhythm of bachatas, reggaeton, salsa or merengue.

Latin parties began at TT 25 years ago when the first workers arrived and enjoyed their Mondays off to the rhythm of Latin music and dance. Photo by Grevic Alverado 

“Trinidadians like Latino music too. They are interested in learning to dance, they even know the Spanish lyrics of some songs and that makes the cultural diversity mix in these party nights,” González said.

Now converted into Aura Bar, the old Tipsi is one of the most eye-catching places on Monday nights. Opened in mid-February, Aura Bar focused part of its strategy on Latino parties with the aim of capturing a different type of clientele than that of the Friday and Saturday crowd.

“We were thinking of reopening with a Latino night precisely, but in the end we decided to open on a Friday and the news spread throughout the community,” he said.

González promoted the bar through social media and that caught the attention of the Latino community.

Since the opening, there are two weekly Latino parties on Mondays and Fridays which include dance competitions and clothing contests based on the party’s theme. Although for now they are held only two days a week, the popularity of these parties could lead to a third night being on the cards.

“We want to show Trinidadians how to enjoy a Latino party, how to dance and how we share with friends,” González said.

He said at every Latino party security is paramount.

The staff at Aura Bar includes Stephanie Magallanes, left, Milly Cumana, Kibel Pineda and Dubrazka Barret. Photo by Sureash Cholai 

“We are attentive to any improper action within our spaces because the goal is to enjoy a fun night and healthy entertainment.”

He said arrangements have been put in place with the police to ensure safety in case of any emergency.

González also changes up the menu on the different nights. He believes that it is essential for customers to not only go to dance and have some drinks, but also to eat something from the Latino menu.

At the Aura Bar, the menu is based not only on Trinidadian food, but he offers customers Latino options such as empanadas, tequeños, cachapas, among others.

Manuel Gonzalez owner of Aura’s Bar with manager Kisbel Pineda. Photo by Sureash Cholai

Gonzalez also plans to set up other Aura Bar outlets across TT.

“We would like to go to the beach, bring music and gastronomy in the purest style of the night spots of Margarita and Venezuela,” he said.

For now, he invites everyone to enjoy Latin nights with sanity, respect and joy.


"Latino parties sizzle on Mondays"

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