A group of friends sit next to a boxing ring. There’s a mojito punch bowl in front of them. A salsa dance-off is happening outside. Everything’s the right kind of chaotic.
Welcome to Punch, a new bar in the Upper Eastside with a serious thing for throwback Cuban good timery that’s now open and looks like this.
This used to be News Lounge. It’s since been taken over by the El Patio crew and given a decidedly Cuban makeover. See, the owners took a trip to Havana and decided to rip a page out of their boxing museum’s playbook. Which probably explains the boxing gloves lining the walls, the blue lockers and the poster of Cuban boxer Kid Chocolate on the wall. The theme is strong with this one.
Inside, you’ve got a few options. There’s the Trophy Room, a solid spot for some rum and vaca frita sliders amongst a cadre of medals and championship belts. Then there’s the adjacent Ring Room with a private space in the back lined with punching bags.
But the patio is where you’ll find the bar. It’s a makeshift one fashioned out of 5,000 domino pieces and bottle-lined scaffolding. To keep you entertained: an outdoor billiards table and a stage for late-night salsa dance-offs.
You’ve been training for this your whole life.