CAMBRIDGE — Sort of a hidden gem in this historic city, La Raza, a tapas bar with live music and disc jockeys almost every night, is the ideal place to chill with a significant other, not so much for men or women on the prowl.

This basement bar is kept dark with candles flickering at all tables, which also are adorned with flowers. The setting is cozy, with brown leather sofas dominating the bar’s seating arrangement.

Couples often can be seen at this bar on its mellow weekdays and more intense weekends. This could be because of the bar’s small size that offers a unique ambience, in contrast to the larger bars and clubs nearby.

As part of its allure, La Raza is somewhat hidden along Rose Crescent, a sleepy street at night that starts from the city’s market square.

Once the street is tracked down, keep an eye out for a tiny sign above a doorway that opens to a flight of stairs leading down to the bar.

On a recent weekday night, the place was a little empty, even as a DJ spun old-school hip-hop tracks from a booth at the back.

The venue’s only bar can be found to the right. On slower nights, drinks can be ordered at your table.

Hungry customers will be pleased with the bar’s selection of tapas, including cold, hot, salad, seafood and meat dishes.

A few picks from its menu are marinated sardines on an olive tapenade crostini; a couscous with roasted Mediterranean vegetables; and a fresh seafood paella of mussels, clams, tiger prawns and calamari. All tapas dishes range from 2.45 to 11.95 pounds each. Ciabatta sandwiches also are served at lunchtime for about 7 pounds.

As for drinks, the bar has a good selection of spirits, said the bar’s general manager, who goes by Mister G.

The bar stockpiles 10 different rums and 12 kinds of vodka, including Snow Queen Vodka from Kazakhstan, he said.

There is also a two-for-one cocktail special Sunday through Friday, from 8 to 10 p.m., which can help patrons get into the spirit of things or mellow out to the music.

“It’s a safe, laid-back place,” said Mister G.

“We’re a bit more refined. Since we sometimes charge a cover, a lot of your rowdy types don’t come here.”

See previous After Hours reviews here.


Location: Along Rose Crescent, which starts from the city’s market square.

Food: Strictly tapas.

Drink: A good selection of spirits and a two-for-one cocktail special Sunday through Friday, from 8 to 10 p.m.

Ambience: Live DJs and music five days a week. Some nights have a cover charge that can range from 3 to 6 pounds.

Hours: Open until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.


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