More reasons Uptown is where it's at: Arka reopens alongside new restaurants

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Washington Heights continued to cement its position as center of the Latino world in New York City this past week.

Arka Lounge reopened after a few months of hiatus. The club, which opened in 2000, has been closed for renovations since September. The layout’s been heavily revised to make the club more spacious, the decoration’s been overhauled (we’re told it’s taken a minimalist approach) all throughout the club, and a stage has been added for performances. Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the fact that the place now has windows – you can see outside! The windows can even be opened in warm weather to allow patrons to enjoy a breeze while they dance and drink. We’re excited to hear about their new program of performances – so far, we just know that Latin Grammy Nominated Jose Alberto “El Canario” will be doing a benefit performance on December 15th. This past week, Los Hermanos Rosarios performed, as well as singer/songwriter Wason Brazoban, both to sizable turnouts.

The other major opening on Broadway was the grand opening of Arlezol Cafe, which you can check out in this pretty cheesy video.

I’m always impressed by Washington Heights’ boosterism.

In all seriousness, this place is kicking ass on Yelp – alright, it’s only got four reviews as of this posting, but they’re all glowing –¬†and I can’t wait to try it.

Now get this: both of these venues are on the same block as the by-now-well-established unofficial headquarters of the Uptown cultural revolution, Apt. 78. If Washington Heights is the new center of Latin Culture, then Broadway between 190th and Bennet Avenue is the center-of-the-center. I know if you live downtown or in Brooklyn, that seems like Canada, but making a trip out there is well worth it. We’re told there are other cafes and restaurants primed to open nearby, too…