New Jersey Bar Named One of the Best Bars in America

La Otra, the cocktail room from buzzy Aberdeen restaurant Lita, is getting major praise on a national level.

La Otra
La Otra is one of Esquire's best bars in America. Photo courtesy of La Otra

Lita, chef David Viana’s buzzy Aberdeen restaurant, has been getting a lot of accolades since opening in 2023, including a 3-star review in New Jersey Monthly. Now, its cocktail room, La Otra, is deservedly getting some substantial praise of its own.

Esquire recently named La Otra one of the best bars in America—the only Garden State establishment on the national magazine’s prestigious list.

With beverage director Ricardo Rodriguez at the helm, La Otra features a cocktail program that is “a bit more free-wheeling” than Lita’s, as Esquire describes it. “But like the best bars attached to restaurants, the drinks are on the culinary side, such as the Tzatziki, which uses vodka, aquavit, cucumber, dill and yogurt….”

Rodriguez tells New Jersey Monthly that what makes La Otra stand out is that “we are constantly changing things up.” “Every other week, we change our drinks and add new ones,” Rodriguez says. “The menu you saw a couple of weeks ago might be completely different this week. It keeps things fresh and allows for more creativity.”

La Otra serves cocktails, wine, beer and a variety of snacks and other dishes, including a fantastic burger and a garlic shrimp po’boy.

“The space is a vibe and is curated, but the atmosphere is laidback,” Rodriguez notes. Expect to hear ’90s hip-hop tunes.

Rodriguez also leads cocktail classes.

La Otra

La Otra serves inventive cocktails and small plates. Photo courtesy of La Otra

Lita is so well regarded that it made New Jersey Monthly’s best new restaurants of 2023 list. Esquire also put Lita on its list of the best new restaurants in the country for 2023. Lita, run by Viana, managing director Neilly Robinson and director of operations and hospitality Danny McGill, serves sophisticated Iberian cuisine.

Lita is Viana and Robinson’s third project. Viana, a Top Chef alum, joined Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, founded by Robinson, in 2016. Then in 2022, the duo opened the doors at Heirloom at the St. Laurent in Asbury Park.

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