We’re not too familiar with anything Puerto Rican beyond the Sharks in West Side Story and Jose Feliciano’s renditions of Christmas music. But we have had a few unfortunate run-ins with Puerto Rican rum, and let’s just say it wasn’t just island fever we were feeling. Luckily, we came upon RumBa, located in the Intercontinental Hotel on the waterfront, and our opinion of rum changed forever. Instead of long lines and velvet ropes, the Intercontinental is a welcoming hotel where people chat in the lobby, while only a yard over others are dancing the night away. The entire bar is centered around rum and its ties to the Caribbean and Latin America. Walk up to the horse shoe shaped bar area, and notice the collection of rums dangling from the U-shaped bar ready to be mixed at a moment’s notice. The bartenders are famously aloof, but their concoctions are truly delectable. Unlike most bars, if one asks for a cocktail with blueberry flavored liquor, there will be a handful of frozen blueberries tossed into your glass.
Special touches are what RumBa are all about. A chocolate fountain featuring everything from strawberries on sticks to gourmet chocolates is a feature mostly anyone could fall in love with. It’s kind of like a scaled down version of Augustus Gloop’s fantasy in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Steps away, luxurious couches provide guests with a place to sit in the beginning of the night. But by night’s end, it’s rare to find anyone still parked there. The DJ always has everyone dancing, and we mean everyone. The clientele ranges in age from young hipsters breakdancing on the hotel lobby floor to couples in their fifties looking for a good time. That’s what so refreshing about RumBa; it brings all types of people together to dance and enjoy themselves.