Monday, July 19, 2010

Secrets, Glamour and History open in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica

Dining and drinking options are continuing to open with rapid pace in the city center of San Jose, Costa Rica. From Rome to underground tunnels, these featured options offer stories and beautiful surroundings in addition to food and drinks.

The Speakeasy Bar has been open a little over a month inside the also newly opened Secret Mansion. This bar is entered in a speakeasy fashion through a side entry and spreads over a portion of the bottom floor of a renovated mansion in Barrio Amon. This entire house was in the family of past president Oscar Arias until about 5 years ago when the new owners began renovations.

There are a few haunted ghost stories and underground tunnels at this 130 year old site. I highly recommend stopping in for a happy hour to imbibe in some wonderful urban history. In fact, we'll be adding this bar to our happy hour bar tour, which you can take for only $10!  Unfortunately, access to the rest of the mansion is reserved for private guests of this high-end hotel.

Roma Caffe is downtown's newest posh restaurant situated conveniently off the main road headed into San Pedro, just east of the National Museum. The restaurant's style is very sleek and incorporates original exposed brick walls with the warmth and delight of it's Italian menu. The chef is Italian and it was apparant upon my first visit. I enjoyed a prosciutto and provelone panini that was presented on bread made in house! The menu is large ranging from antipastos to sandwhiches to pastas and desert. This will quickly become a spot to meet with friends and enjoy dinner and early drinks before a night off to the theater or clubs/bars downtown. Cash only at the moment, free wi-fi, open from 7 a.m. to midnight, and till 2 Fri. and Sat. Closed Sundays.

Cafe Teatro Melico Salazar has opened on the bottom floor of this historic downtown theater. The building, constructed in the late 1920s and renovated in the 80's offers another special opportunity to step back in time and enjoy a more colonial San Jose. The cafe incorporates the natural colors and woods of the rest of the theater and uses the ceiling to display historic photos of San Jose, further setting the stage for a moment back in time. There is a small menu available as well as coffee. I highly recommend this as an afternoon getaway from our afternoon rain showers. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or later if there is a show.

Barrio Bird offers walking tours of San Jose. If you are a visitor or have lived here for some time, there is always a new way to see the city. View tours or make a reservation by emailing or calling 8926-9867

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