Lazare's Bar Hosts A Grand Opening, But Will Anyone Remember?

"Blame it on the a-a-alcohol...," DJ Christopher Tracy puts his spin on Jamie Foxx and T-Pain's rap song amidst a forest of black and red balloons.

Blame it on the alcohol, indeed. Or the 'any excuse to party' ethic that drives Uptown behavior. Lazare's "grand opening" on Saturday showcased the type of frozen concoction once served at Republic--a bar people flocked to then ignored, flocked to then ignored.

Jason Quiroga, bar manager at Lazare, tells me he's hoping the revamped bar will bring a new element to the West Village--probably the case, since he first developed the 'frozen drinks from good ingredients' idea for an area a few blocks away.

"It's not a bad start for a Saturday night," he says, examining the crowd. "What would you like to try?" he asks us.

"I'll try one of your frozen mojitos," I tell him. It seems the obvious reply since hyping these new drinks is the reason for tonight's party.

My friend and I soon cling to a couple of beautiful, brightly colored drinks--one a blueberry and the other a raspberry mojito, both crowned with mint leaves and garnished with a long stick of sugar cane.

The blueberry looks like a blue and white candy cane and I sip a little too hastily expecting that my taste buds will be met with a burst of sweet divinity. Not the case. I nearly choke on the Bacardi and the blueberry chunks as they collide head first with the mint. Call it a case of newbies and liquor, but the mojitos weren't exactly my cup of rum. But that's just me.

"Their frozen mojitos are really good!" says a short-haired brunette named Bianca as she sips her strawberry version. Give him credit, Quiroga knows how to bring out the best in a frozen cocktail. Still, I find the majority have settled on beers or vodka tonics (and probably a few vodka and Red Bulls) to match the casual-classy vibe.

Towards midnight, the crowd gets bigger and more boisterous. Couples canoodle near the bar while others prefer to take it to the main stage (aka, the walkway leading to kitchen, bathroom and bar).

This is what happens when a restaurant decides to showcase it's new cocktail selection with some grand party. Ostensibly, management wants the guests to sample and blurt something like 'wow, this is good--I'm going to come back, and often.' But as one group explains to me in ragged unison, "we're here to get drunk!"

When I took my leave at half past midnight, they were still lapping it up.

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