I had passed the faded sign countless times before: the words “Live Entertainment” next to a trumpet, cocktail glass, and music notes. It was a fabulous sign. In the window, neon likenesses of a mariachi band lit up the curb. This was Los Mariachis restaurant, on Coney Island Avenue near Dorchester, on the border of Ditmas Park and Kensington, and until last week I wondered what it was like inside. The interior decor looked to mirror the neon exterior — halogen lights of green and yellow cast a bright, harsh glare.
But last week, my superintendent, a kind man named Fernando who has lived on Ocean Avenue most of his life, told me that Los Mariachis is true to its name: every Friday night, a mariachi band plays. I went with a friend. The scene inside was warm and jovial: families make an occasion of it, the four musicians moved slowly around the low-ceilinged room, moving from table to table taking requests. I wish I knew more Mexican classics to suggest. The guitarrón player was particularly adept. Just playing that oversized guitar seems like a challenge. The food wasn’t anything to write home about, but the music and margaritas were. We left close to 11, but the band, playing for more than two hours, still had another hour to go.