(Pop-Up) Bar Review: The Casa Lolea Experience, New York
Casa Lolea sangria recently made a one-night appearance by taking over a swanky rooftop bar at the new The Dominick Hotel in New York City to feature is ready-to-drink line of frizzante sangrias. This ‘pop-up’ destination was adorned with neon, rosey-palette lights glistening over a wading pool, polka dot beanbags and balloons, a mix of faux and real arboreta, drink prep stations, and even a cotton candy machine — all designed to assist the guests with “choosing your Lolea experience.”
What is the Lolea experience? Per their website, and evidenced by their display of how one can create this experience, it’s however you use Lolea’s sangria products to “turn everyday moments into unique, fun, and enjoyable occasions.” When polka dots are their design mascot, you know they’re being serious.
Casa Lolea was clearly aiming to glam things up for selfies appearance on Instagram and TikTok. I, for one, am, and look destined to remain, a novice social media-ite. Yet even I dragged my husband around giddily to snap up fun and whimsical photoscapes. They weren’t half bad. It certainly does look like I am having a grand old time in the pictures.
As for the Lolea experience, they did not disappoint in jumpstarting the fun vibe, and our moods quickly followed suit.
Should you be wondering at this point, how is this actual sangria? They provided three varieties — No. 1, No. 2, and No. 5 (unfortunately I was too distracted by this urban Alice in Wonderland glow to ask what happened to No. 3 and No. 4). Lolea No. 1 is a red sangria that is “a delicious frizzante sangria crafted with Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, Mediterranean citrus, soft peach, and a touch of cinnamon.” Lolea No. 2 is a white sangria made with Macabeo and Airen frizzante white wine, again with the citrus, but now with a touch of vanilla. Lolea No. 5 is their new “sophisticated rose wine cocktail” using rose made with Grenache and Tempranillo grapes, hibiscus flower “scents,” and ginger.
There were three stations — the first to select your sangria, which was poured over a giant single ice cube, the second for selecting the fruit garnish, and the third to select your fresh-snipped herbal garnish. Was all this production necessary? Who knows, but the stations were gorgeous and it did spruce up the otherwise ordinary task of grabbing a drink at the bar.
As a start, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these ingredients if the end result is meant to be sangria or a wine cocktail. All of these are incredibly easy to drink. The alcohol is barely noticeable, although the signature character of the soft red, tart white, and effervescent rose does come through and helps differentiate the three cocktails. The sweetness never becomes overbearing, even after a few rounds. The drinks are rather light in body and flavor, and this is perhaps the point — to create a drink that can remain a constant companion that you can sip all night or all day long to kick back with friends, even if you’re not on an Instagrammable rooftop.
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