Late one night in October of 2012, Andrew and I stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Vienna for a drink. I’d read about the place a few weeks prior, but our visit was just a random answer to the question of what to do that evening. The bartender (who had been called “surly” in the review I’d read) was friendly and made good drinks, so we decided to come back again soon and have dinner.
Our next visit was equally enjoyable. The food was great and the atmosphere was lively and welcoming. We became regulars, stopping in at least once a week, and gradually came to know the staff and other frequent visitors. Fernando, the bartender and manager, became a good friend. Andrew had a dish in the restaurant’s computer named after him and I stopped having to ask for guacamole because it would appear shortly after my arrival, along with a glass of wine or tequila. We brought our family and friends to try the place and established friendships with many of the regulars. It was our version of Cheers and my favorite place to spend an evening.
When Andrew and I got married a year ago, we couldn’t think of a more fitting place to hold our post-wedding dinner than Alegria. We celebrated birthdays, stopped in on Christmas Eve, rang in several new years, and toasted our first wedding anniversary there. When the place transitioned into Bazin’s Next Door, we kept coming and found new dishes on the menu to love (not a hard task, considering the talented chef Yuri). We danced away the Salsa Nights and stayed well past last call on more than a few occasions. It felt like home, but with better food and drinks.
Then we got word a few weeks ago that the place was closing and would only be open for private events going forward. This past Saturday was the end, and we spent the entire night going out with a bang. So many friends gathered around the bar and shut the place down in style (so much style that I’m still recovering a few days later). We made plans to keep in touch, to meet at the restaurant next door, and to try to hang on to the spirit of our collective watering hole, but it was still sad to say goodbye. Alegria, although you were hell on my liver at times, I loved you and will miss everything you came to represent. Thanks to everybody for the wonderful memories.