Who knew you could travel to Europe via St. Paul Street. Tapas 177 Lounge in downtown Rochester is a little taste of all the best things from Spain, Italy and the Mediterranean.
Tapas is in the heart of the St. Paul entertainment district, just down the street from high-energy nightclubs Venu and Liquid. Upstairs is a full bar with space to meet and greet friends. But head down the cellar-style staircase and you'll find a dining room whose dark, textured walls make the space seem like something right out of Venice. The mood lighting and booth seating create one of the most romantic dinner settings I have experienced in a long time.
Try the salsa
Tapas is one of Rochester's original venues for free salsa dance lessons. From 9 until 11 p.m. every Thursday, those with two left feet can take full advantage. On Saturdays, a live salsa band plays from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. (admission is free), so everyone can try out the moves they learned two days prior.
Though Tapas serves a full menu, which is frequently updated to reflect the season, my date and I went for the namesake when deciding on dinner — the tapas. This was a first for both of us, and we loved it. It's a fun way to infuse some creativity into a dinner date. Our favorite was the Mediterranean Tenderloin Tips ($14).
The first Tuesday of every month, Tapas hosts wine tastings with complimentary hors d'oeuvres.
Good to Know
What: A lounge and restaurant in the St. Paul quarter.
Where: 177 St. Paul St.
When: 4:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sundays.
Drink specials: Two full bars, featuring a selection of 23 martinis ($7 to $8) and a full wine menu ($7 a glass or $24 a bottle). Happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays, when complimentary food is served upstairs.
Food: Full-service restaurant. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. until midnight Monday through Thursday and until 12:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, dinner served until 10 p.m. Lighter fare is served at the bar until close on the weekends.
Music: Latin and modern jazz over the sound system and live salsa on Saturday nights.
Parking: On-street; valet service is available for $5 after 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Contact: 262-2090 or www.tapas177.com