Now Open: Chef Jose Garces Opens Nacional 56, An Underground Bar And Lounge Beneath Rosa Blanca In Washington Square West

Rosa Blanca
Ready for a fresh taste of Cuban nightlife? The Garces Group has opened a new bar and lounge beneath Rosa Blanca in Washington Square West. (Photo courtesy Rosa Blanca)

Celebrity chef Jose Garces has always had a knack for reinventing Philly’s dining scene, and with his latest offering, the just-opened Nacional 56 lounge, he’s done it again.

After all, the only thing missing from his eminently accessible and high-spirited Rosa Blanca Diner was the dancing.

A joint production between Garces Group and Pena Productions LLC, Nacional 56 is named for Havana’s midcentury hotspot Hotel Nacional, and located beneath Rosa Blanca, though it will take over the restaurant’s main space during weekend late nights.

The new lounge, Garces’ first venture into proper nightclub territory, is open Wednesday through Saturday, and boasts a thoughtful selection of Cuban cocktails and sharable snacks.

There’s the Smoked Hemingway (caliche rum, smoked grapefruit, lime) and the Rum Old Fashioned (Mount Gay Black Rum, Angostura bitters and lemon), plus classic mojitos, Latin and Spanish wines, sangria and beer.

On the edible side: adobe-spiced popcorn with pork rinds; fried yucca; smoked corn with spinach and cheese; empanadas; and croquetas.

Count on live music and DJs downstairs until midnight—and upstairs as well on weekend nights from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m.

With no cover charge and happy hour specials, it looks like Philly’s Latin-themed nightlife has a new home.

Now Open: Nacional 56 Lounge
When: Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 5 p.m.
Where: 707 Chestnut Street
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.rosablancadiner.com

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