Yale students looking for a spicy night on the town now have a new option to explore. Congas Latin Lounge, a Miami Beach themed nightclub that opened last month, brings a fresh mix of Latin music and salsa dancing to the Elm City.
Located on the intersection of Chapel and Orange streets, Congas caters to those seeking a “classy alternative” to the New Haven club scene, owner Patrick Fahy said. A sensual but tasteful Latin flavor is part of the Congas attitude, he said. To help create the “right” atmosphere, Fahy said, a dress code is enforced at the door, while a window signs tells visitors: “The better you look, the better we feel.”
“You’re getting cleaned up to go out,” Fahy said.
The club features two bars, a dance floor and a stage for live music. Decorated with life sized pictures of South Beach, Congas also includes an alcove equipped with an entertainment system and white couches.
Lisa Edelson ’05, who recently went to Congas during a recent return visit to the Elm City, said she found the nightclub to be more sophisticated and consistent than the New Haven salsa clubs she frequented as an undergraduate.
“It’s classier than Club Spice,” she said. “The drink prices are reasonable and it’s a lot of fun.”
Fahy said a personal passion for salsa music and its fans influenced his decision to open a venue based on the dance form.
“We’ve got the place, now we’ve got to fill it with the people, fill it with the energy,” he said.
Daniella Berman ’07, who dances salsa on the Yale ballroom dance team, said she is excited to hear about a new club dedicated to salsa but thinks the club’s age restriction — only people over the age of 21 are allowed into Congas — is unnecessary.
“I don’t need to drink if I’m out salsa dancing, so not being able to get in because I am not 21 is a huge inconvenience,” Berman said.
As the club is equipped with a full kitchen, Fahy said he hopes to provide a regular menu of various Spanish and Latin themed specialties. Eventually, Congas will utilize the kitchen and additional space within the nightclub to cater and host events, ranging from corporate cocktails to bachelor parties, Fahy said.
Congas also schedules regular events such as “!Que Viva Salsa!,” a night of lessons, contests and three-dollar Coronas, and “South Beach College Night” on Thursdays. Fahy said he is also interested in starting a jazz night on Mondays.