Mariel’s ambience might be compared to the New Year’s Eve scene in The Godfather: Part II in which the Corleones attend a lavish ball in Havana’s last hours before la Revolución. But rather than ending in dramatic fashion, the party at this lavish Cuban restaurant and cocktail lounge in Boston starts anew every night.
Whether seated at Mariel’s U-shaped bar or beneath the dining room’s Art Deco chandeliers, you might feel like a guest at an antique grand hotel that hasn’t yet lost its grandeur (but has gained a thumping soundtrack of everlasting bass). In a puritanical town, Mariel is sexy, dare we even say clubby—and there is in fact, a nightclub downstairs.
Whereas other going-out destinations might serve Mojitos with indifference, Mariel has a menu section devoted to the drink. The eponymous iteration, loaded with fresh mint and bright citrus but devoid of sticky syrups, might be the best you’ve ever had. And yes, there are cocktails that are head-turners—like the Daquiri Time Out (look for DTO on the menu) that balances four or more half-Daiquiris in a metal tree surrounded by flaming limes—and others that are quietly thoughtful, in the case of a Triple Rum Old Fashioned that blends a trinity of rums and bitters to sublime effect.
Whether you’re burning down the night or just seeking a well-made drink, Mariel is a fine place to spend the evening.
Located directly beneath the restaurant, Mariel Underground is open until 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and regularly hosts live DJ sets.
If you dig Mariel, there’s a lot more to love: it’s part of a restaurant group that also includes Yvonne’s, Ruka, and Lolita.
Mariel’s grandiose lobby, wide columns, and other palatial proportions owe to the space’s past history as a bank.