Bushwick garners a new haunt for rum-based cocktails and Nicaraguan snacks today, as Chicha Cafetín and Cocktails opens in a converted warehouse space in Bushwick.
It comes from Vanessa Palazio and Adam Schneider, the couple who gave the world the now-closed grilled cheeseries Little Muenster. With this project, they’re taking things up a notch in terms of fanciness and formality: Chicha’s cocktails draw on Caribbean tastes, and some feature a generous and intriguing mix of boozes. Take the “Agua-Caté-Dral,” with tequila, mezcal, pisco, and Bolivian liquor Singani 63, flash-blended with avocado, salt, and lime. Then there’s the “Nitro Cafecito” with cold brew, cherry liqueur, cacao, amaro, and nitrogen-laced Flor de Cana rum.
A lengthy rum list also means that tasting flights are available. There’s also an all-Spanish and South American wine list and Nicaraguan beers like pilsner-esque Panga. Frozen cocktails will eventually be served.
Despite the elaborate cocktail program headed up by Marshall Altier, it’s not the sole focus: a range of shareable plates draw on Palazio’s Nicaraguan heritage. The centerpiece is quesillos, a quesadilla-adjacent street food consisting of tortillas with quesilla cheese (Oaxacan-style string cheese), plantain vinegar-pickled onions, and crema — available in four mostly meaty variations.
There’s also a Nicaraguan take on rillettes with pulled short rib, smoked coconut, and cilantro jelly, and a seafood dish called conchas negras, coconut-poached clams with a pineapple mignonette. Check out the full menu below.
The 60-seat space itself is both colorful and woody. Tabletops come in millennial pink, contrasted by soft blue barstools and napkins. A geometric wooden wall sits above the banquettes, and the fixtures are partially sourced from a Nicaragua-based furniture maker. Palazio and Schneider have made good use of the high warehouse walls: the bar back extends 20 feet high, and a tropical mural at the back from local artist W3RC watches over the whole scene.
Chicha is open at 198 Randolph St., near Gardner Avenue from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday with the full food menu until 11 p.m., a late-night menu until 2 a.m., and bar service until 4 a.m.
Chicha menu by Anonymous sIxp2JcBp on Scribd