In Lorain, La Sala brings hope to a dying bar scene

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In recession-wracked Lorain, blue-collar saloons and upscale discos have come and gone on the main drag of Broadway Avenue. But there’s a new oasis near the corner of 9th Street that patrons say has a fighting chance to survive this flagging economy because of its target market: Lorain’s burgeoning Latino community. But you don’t have to be from south of the border to chill at the recently opened La Sala. ... The club – which, you’ll recall from tu clase de Espanol, translates to “the living room” – reserves its Tuesday nights to play tunes from your iPod. If fellow patrons like your playlist, the DJ will pop it into the sound system for everyone to hear. Meanwhile, you can drown yourself in $3 margaritas and mojitos that remind the regulars of their native Mexico and Puerto Rico. The fiesta doesn’t stop there. The club plates up beefy $2 tacos on Karaoke Thursdays, spins Latin house tunes every Friday night, and gives free salsa and merengue classes at 9 p.m. on Saturdays. Will Golden, who makes the trek from Elyria and whose name doesn’t sound particularly Hispanic, gives the spot a thumbs-up. “It’s homey enough for the shift workers at the steel plant and classy enough for those who want to get dressed up and go out clubbing. And you don’t have to be Spanish to fit in,” he says. “It’s something Lorain has needed for a long time.” La Sala is open at 5 p.m. daily at 939 Broadway Avenue in Lorain. Cover charge is $2 after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Call 440-242-2622 for more info. -- Cris Glaser

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