Saturday, November 18, 2017

City feel nightlife in Cabarete

Leaf - A typical night at LeafA month ago a new beach lounge & restaurant opened in town, which looks and feels totally different from other places in Cabarete. With lounge music drifting from the palm trees on the beach as well as from the wooden roof that has been whitewashed, the grey, white and black colors throughout the place and the solemn green touch of the leaf, Leaf Cabarete has a distinct urban feel to it with a natural earthy touch. And it’s doing good business, with the place being full nearly every day and night. We went to check it out to see why it is so popular.



Leaf - Enjoying the sunsetThe concept
Flanked by palm trees and trendy man-sized floor lamps, the snazzy looking beach lounge area is both cozy and comfy. Even though the serious looking DJ booth located just inside the bar is not manned during the day, the choice of music remains definitely lounge and forms the perfect backdrop to a lazy afternoon chilling with a well-presented cocktail on one of the comfortable shaded couches while watching kiters doing their thing further down the bay. Stay long enough and you’ll be in one of the best spots of Cabarete to watch the sun set in all its glory.

Inside, just past the DJ booth the place is dominated by a huge bar, where a professional bartender mixes the most elaborate cocktails in town. His signature drink? A luscious strawberry mojito made from fresh strawberries. Further down is a totally new professional kitchen. Throughout the day and evening hungry punters can order anything ranging from beautifully presented tapas to gourmet re-inventions of the simple hamburger.

Leaf - making a cocktail is elaborate businessThat Monte Carlo feeling
Owner Christian Azar, who is also a well-known Dominican DJ with monthly gigs in top venues like the Oro Nightclub and the Imagine Club in Punta Cana, explains that he wanted to create a meeting place for both Cabarete expats and visitors where people can chill, listen to great music and still have a conversation, along with quality organic food, fantastic drinks and great service. “I want people to feel like they’re in Monte Carlo, not in Cabarete”, Christian underlines.

And he seems to have pulled it off. The food that passes by on well-arranged plates smells tantalizingly good and the beautiful cocktails poured by the pro bartender from Santiago are pieces of art. Luckily, unlike hip places in Monte Carlo, all this in Leaf Cabarete comes at a reasonable price.  

In the evening, when different DJs from around the country do their thing, the music stays quite loungy yet upbeat, sure to keep you wanting for more. When Christian plays at his own bar, usually the music will veer off into house with some dips into deep house depending on the crowd. But even at night time the volume will not go to the maximum. “Sometime people ask me to put the volume up because they really like the music and want to go crazy but that’s not what this place is about,” Christian elaborates.  “We’re a place with great beats where people can enjoy the music and their friends, because we don’t drown out any possibility of a conversation.”

Leaf - DJs at the opening party with owner Christian Azar on the leftLeaf - Opening partyOpening with a bang
“Our opening party on Saturday 2 May was incredible,” Christian gushes. “We had a stage on the beach with the resident DJ of Miami Mynt Lounge playing among others, and not only was our piece of the beach full, also the beaches of both our neighbors were chock full with people. On Sunday we got special permission to let 25 national DJs play non-stop from 11 in the morning until 3 in the morning. That weekend was totally amazing. The fact that my name is quite known probably helped a lot to get that many people to the parties, but I was still overwhelmed by the success. It was like a mini Semana Santa.”

Asked when he will organize another one of these parties he smiles and says soon.

Leaf - new beach lounge bar and restaurant in CabareteBrujeria or just good quality & service
Despite being open only since 30 April this year, the place has unanimously been accepted by local expats and visitors alike as a great place to have a drink or a bite to eat. “My neighbors sometimes joke that I have a brujo (a magician) somewhere because they’re amazed at the amount of people that come here,” Christian jokes. “I believe people like this place because we work very hard to provide both quality drinks and food as well as service.”

Originally from Santo Domingo, Christian is no stranger to the Cabarete hospitality industry and knowing what people like. He came to Cabarete fifteen years ago and, as so many others, fell in love with the place and decided to stay. In those fifteen years he deejayed in both Lax and Ojo Club and managed a number of places including Cabarete Blue, Emerald Beach Club and Kahuna. “Those experiences taught me that people in Cabarete will pay for quality and service if that’s what you give them on a consistent basis.”

Leaf - and these cocktails taste as good as they lookThe future is bright
All the hard work, the six months’ worth of renovations prior to opening, and the continuing efforts to take the service to the next level, seem to be paying off and Christian sees a bright future ahead. Once the concept is perfected he would like to see Leafs popping up all over the country and beyond. In the meantime he’s happy to continue playing his signature music several nights of the month in his own new bar and other nights in the most wanted DJ booths around the country.

Leaf Cabarete
Open: every day from 11am to 3am
Located in the center of Cabarete Beach
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Hot Deal in Cabarete!