From the outside, Bar Salsa doesn’t look like much. As with many hotspots these days, you can only spot it by the queue of well-dressed revelers standing by the glass doors. They’re all there to dance, mingle, and savor Latin American tapas — and when you follow the crowd down to the spacious basement below, you’ll understand what makes the place so special.
Even though you arrived at night, it still takes your eyes a moment to adjust to the dimly lit room. When it all comes into focus, you find yourself surrounded by lively patrons of all backgrounds, laughing and flirting, cocktail glasses in hand as they move among the tropical decor. The dance floor is a centre of motion, and a Latin beat pervades the scene and instantly gives you an urge to dance. In an instant, you feel like you’ve traveled miles from London to some sweaty dance hall in a warm, Latin American country, and you’re loving every moment.
If you’re new to salsa (or don’t have a date), don’t fret. Have your friends meet you early in the evening, when a dance instructor teaches the basic steps before you’re paired off with a partner. It’s a keen, welcoming crowd all united by the desire to dance, so learning is half the fun — if you stumble over your feet once or twice, it’s easy to share a laugh with your new friend and try all over again.
You’ll need some light bites to keep you fueled for all the dancing, and Salsa offers up familiar favorites from Latin America and Spain. You and your friends eagerly fall upon plates of hearty, spicy chimichangas and patatas bravas, paired wonderfully with cool, lightly sweet raspberry mojitos. As with the food, Salsa sticks to classics on the drinks menu — plenty of tequila and rum drinks to go around.
As you huddle around your tapas, the bongos give a sharp rattle and the band dives into a particularly sizzling number. The party has begun in earnest, and soon the dance floor is packed with dancing couples. Don’t think twice when a stranger invites you to throw a few shapes on the dance floor. Dancing is addictive here, with the first dance inevitably followed by a second, and then a whole night’s worth. Whether you are a beginner or the hottest salsa dancer, no one really cares as long as you’re dancing. So, grab a partner and go salsa, London-style.