Habana’s Blast From the Past a Stylish Mixer

It was supposed to be like your parents’ cocktail parties in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but the crowd and martinis on display last Wednesday at Habana generated their own style.

The 250 mostly twentysomething guests, invited by that too-cool bar and restaurant in Costa Mesa, wore their version of chic wear: leopard Teddy Boy jackets, ruffled tux shirts and hourglass-figure dresses. Both sexes went for satin, velvet and vinyl in their search for that retro-glamour look.

Local designers Sandra Harvey showed up in a men’s velvet turtleneck, and Holly Sharp was wrapped in a cream-colored faux fur coat. Jack Martinez of Black Flys wore one of his few understated suits.

A few women sported bouffants and flip ‘dos (most were vintage wigs), painted their faces with liquid eyeliner and red- or frosty-colored lipstick and stomped around in stilettos or knee-high go-go boots.


The men favored loud red, blue or green sharkskin coats or two- or three-button plaid jackets with black rimmed specs.

The look was complemented by such trendy accessories as cigars and cigarette holders. And since this was a martini scene, the main props were real martini glasses held just so.

The bartenders concocted variations on the traditional brew by pairing gin with cranberry juice (“crantini”), Midori (“melontini”) and white- or milk-chocolate truffles and chocolate liqueurs (“chocolatini”)--which were vicious.

But they forged on: olive or onion juice splashed on gin became a “dirty martini,” and Absolut Citron vodka and a cube of sugar were dubbed a “lemontini.”

The group Blanc et Noire sang torch songs accompanied by piano, and DJ Craig Jackman spun space-age bachelor-pad tunes. The crowd responded by swing dancing.

Coming up next at Habana in its pre-Castro Cuban environ is a casino night.