West end and Soho are usually equated with the quaint Chinese restaurants and the bustling clubs of London town. In the midst of this garden variety of nightly locations, stands Floridita, a Cuban flower opening its colourful petals to the busy bees of Londoners and 'Out of Towners' looking for a different kind of night out.
The location is central; off Oxford Street and a few minutes 'flying' distance from Oxford Circus for you busy bees worried about time and efficiency- as it has become our nature to do even on our nights out.
Greeted by the usual hunky hefty security, you slide into a relatively large entrance- red carpet treatment almost felt as you check in your outer layers of jacket, coats or even flat walking shoes for the aftermath of dancing frenzy-before starting your whirlwind night of Cuban passion.
Whether upstairs at the bustling bar or downstairs near the smooth playing band, you are guaranteed a good show all round.
If you decide to stay upstairs, you have a choice of seats by the windows where you can bask in a laid back atmosphere of relaxed conversation and warm smiles; an after work special with white low cushion type backless seats and hazy, blemish reducing lights.
At the upstairs bar, welcoming drinks await you, created lovingly by the shakers and makers of cocktails behind the bar. The music is less Cuban here and catering to a variety of tastes. To your right and as you glide by the bar area you find tables for those wishing to satisfy their after work/before dancing hunger pangs.
We decided to stay downstairs that night and we were not disappointed. The winding crystal-like staircase leads you down to the main restaurant, a large space surrounding the stage, fitted with cubicle like tables and white leather seats. Quite a treat if you decide to eat at Floridita judging by the size of the kitchen -which you can see upstairs reflected down at you with all its glory as you look up the winding staircase.
Crystal and white seem to be a popular theme at Flori as hanging crystals dangle down at you from the high ceilings winking at you to have a good time baby .')
For those who 'just ate before coming' you can 'lean' with the other 'leaners' at the bar where a menu of drinks and snacks keeps you busy till the band comes out to play. The olives and roasted almonds are not cheap, neither are the drinks but this did not surprise us as the place promises luxury with its size and classical furnishings.
The band, made up of a group of young budding artists, takes you to another time and place through hypnotic latin rhythms. Although the beat may seem somewhat repetitive, there is no danger of monotony because the instruments played are unusual for a band in London and the stage area is entertaining, packed to the rim with a number of young and old couples dancing the night away to the hot Cuban rhythms on offer at Floridita.
All in all a pleasant and entertaining club, safe and enjoyable if you hanker for a taste of Latin wonder.