The Watering Hole: The Cha Cha Lounge, 1013 East Pike St., 322-0703, CAPITOL HILL
The Atmosphere: Synonymous with Capitol Hill, Bimbos/the Cha Cha Lounge in its current Mexi-hipster incarnation at first glimpse seems a Disney version of the former lower Pine Street locale's trashy glory. Upon further inspection and down a flight of stairs to the basement, you'll discover a darkened den perfect for sinning: a vibe you either loathe or live for, depending on your age and tenure on the Hill.
The Barkeep : Thomas Wright has worked at "the Bim/Cha" since he was barely legal (think the second Clinton administration). Keeping up the fine Cha Cha tradition of musical employees, the likes of which have included Ben Bridwell, Kim Warnick and a few Murder City Devils, Wright's current band Spaceneedles (whose debut Olive Towers is out now) can often be heard playing on the club's subterranean stage.
The Drink: The Cadillac Margarita: Cazadores Reposado, Grand Marnier and a splash of OJ, is pure party/rocket fuel, as tasty as it is serious. Cazadores is the kind of premium tequila that will give you a fabulous flow without a regrettable hangover, making it a wise choice to dance with all night.
The Verdict: If you avoid the Cha Cha on the weekend when it is descended upon by looky-loos and vampiric, skinny-jeaned poseurs, you can still have a down(stairs) and dirty good time. Given the potency of the drinks; the blaring, naughty 90's Hip Hop all the kids are revisiting; and the nonexistent lighting; the Cha Cha remains the kind of place where all sorts of bad decisions are made--and celebrated.