The Watering Hole: Cha Cha Lounge, 1013 E. Pike St., 322-0703, CAPITOL HILL
You either loathe him or live for him.
The Atmosphere: Synonymous with Capitol Hill, Bimbos/Cha Cha Lounge in its current Mexi-hipster incarnation seems at first glimpse merely 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 Cha Cha's fine tradition of musical employees—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 weekends, when it's 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 '90s 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.