Salsa Dancing in the Bay Area

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Cana SF
ages: 21+

3.42 / 5 stars out of 6 reviews
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Overview:

Salsa dancing every Friday night at the Mint Leaf restaurant (“Casa De La Musica”) in Berkeley, playing the best salsa and timba Cubana spun by DJ Antonio. Smooth floor, full bar, and late night dining menu.

Details:

Event: Salsa Dance Party Salsa Dancers
Date: Every Friday
Time: 10:00pm - 1:45am
Cost: $5
Instructors: N/A
Address: Mint Leaf Restaurant
1513 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
Get Directions via Google MapsGoogle Map
Contact: (510) 510-7800
www.mintleafberkeley.com
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Our Review:

says:
Rating:  
Salsa dancing in an Indian restaurant? Only in the Bay Area!

The Mint Leaf is a nice little Indian bistro located on the outskirts of downtown Berkeley. Parking wasn't as bad as I expected, with plenty of street parking available right around the block.

The restaurant itself is very nice, with great decor and a solid floor for dancing. There is a bar right by the front entrance, and the alcohol prices were fairly reasonable, which for me is a big plus!

The actual dance floor itself is pretty tight, but most of the dancers were experienced enough that there were few crashes. The primary style of dancing here is Cuban, and I only found a couple of girls who followed slot dancing. The music was mostly Cuban salsa with a pinch of bachata, kizomba, and romantica.

Overall, Mint Leaf has a great atmosphere and it's a nice spot to check out on a Friday night if you enjoy Cuban salsa.

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User Reviews:


May 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

8 people found this review helpful
Rating

So I found it to be surprisingly hard to find information on the quality of salsa dancing at Mint Leaf, but now that I finally went, I can help others who like myself don’t know what to expect. Overall it was a really great experience! I will definitely be going back (even possibly make it a weekly thing). It’s $5 at the door, and I was really hesitant to pay since when I arrived, around 10:30pm it was empty. I was really incredulous and kept asking the guy if it would actually fill up or if it was going to be just one couple all night long…the guy was right, it fills up. So people start coming in around 11:30pm (which according to my Salsa standards is really late), but the music gets louder and the space packs up. A lot of the East Bay salseros drop by, and it’s a very friendly vibe (no snobbery you get from places where people mainly dance on-2). Overall, fun place, kind of small, good music, and good people. Worth the $5. Oh, do bring your own water! They don’t provide salseros with free water and so you have to pay for bottled water. Just FYI.

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Sep 11, 2013 at 11:45 am

4 people found this review helpful
Rating

I will never go to the Mint Leaf again. The owner is out of control.

The owner (Depak?) bartends, and is typically incredibly rude – but last weekend he went too far when he purposely sprayed my friend and me with soda water.

My friend ordered a drink. The owner put the glass on the bar, poured the drink, then attempted to spray soda water into the glass, but instead sprayed the bar and us. When we complained, he aimed the soda water spout AT US, and PURPOSELY sprayed us with it – we were dripping wet. He then threw my friend’s drink (glass and all) in the garbage can and eventually told her that she was “86-ed out of there”. All – for no reason.

The salsa crowd is a nice community; typically friendly, peaceful, and fun (we’re not the obnoxious, drunk, or rowdy type of crowd – we really just like to dance to good music).

I don’t drink alcohol when I dance (just water or diet soda). I always leave a tip at the bar (whether I buy anything or not), and always leave a tip when I order something. Earlier that night, I’d ordered a diet soda (“Can I a diet coke, please” – with a smile), and the owner was rude in the way he demanded payment, and tossed my change at me across the bar. I left him a tip anyway (I left $1 tip for a $2 drink…). The owner doesn’t even realize that I actually eat at his restaurant, too (no more).

The Mint Leaf charges a $5 cover charge, doesn’t provide free water (all of the other places provide tap water over ice in a pitcher and plastic cups), and the owner is always rude (not just to us… it seems that he’s rude to most people who show up on Friday nights. There are so many other venues to attend where we’re appreciated, wanted, and welcome. I adore DJ Antonio, but I will NEVER go to the Mint Leaf again. Don’t support them.

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Jun 29, 2013 at 7:53 am

2 people found this review helpful
Rating

I was pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of the dancers. I got to dance with someone I knew and then others asked though I did have to resort to asking guys to dance as it got fuller, once I did they were friendly Lots of Berkeley locals. I got there a little before 11 and people where still eating dinner. by 11:15 there were a few people dancing and the DJ was great. A dancer told me it was a slow night because of another event happening in SF so there was lots of room to dance. It is a small space but worth going if you live near by. The biggest problem besides the fact that it is a restaurant space is that the floor is cement. it is smooth so you can turn but not the best on feet and joints. But it is close by and I will definitely be going back at least once a month.

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Jun 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Rating

You know what I love about Cuban Style clubs? NO SNOBBERY such as what you find in On2 dance venues. Such is the case with The Mint Leaf…friendly dancers with intermediate to advance skills who don’t mind mixing it up with strangers. THIS is what Salsa dancing should be about. This venue is small but the overall atmosphere is quite friendly. The music is mostly Cuban or Timba oriented and the dancers make the most of it.

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Mar 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Rating

Had a fabulous time dancing here last night! Great crowd, solid intermediate to advanced dancers without a lot of beginners cluttering up the floor. Mix of line and cuban salsa, but folks were patient with my dancing on the 2 and tried to accommodate, one even taught me the cuban salsa steps. Cons include a small cement dance floor and lots of bachata (not my favorite). The DJ was excellent. Salseros are here to dance, not try and pick up girls, which was refreshing. I was only asked for my name twice and not a single one of them tried to hit on me, a definite plus for a married girl out dancing on her own! I will definitely be back!

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