It’s happened. King Street’s La Hacienda has closed. Eater reported the news earlier today, but the depth of my despair has just sunk in. Could this week get any crappier? Sure I haven’t eaten at La Ha in roughly 11 years, but that doesn’t change the memories. The drunken afternoons skipping Logistics class to down free chips and salsa in the dank booths. The hungover lunches spent spinning over a plate of refried beans. The pre-gaming at noon on a Tuesday. Oh college, why did you have to end?
During my four years at CofC, La Ha’s crusty vinyl seats were like a cozy, albeit sticky, hug. I’d meet friends from speech team and tuck into a booth, not too close to the entrance but not too close to the ever fragrant bathrooms either. The staff was always warm and inviting, and generous with the chips of which I made an entire meal out of more than once.
But it was the pitchers of margaritas that keep me coming back. Neon yellow, they had the super saccharine flavor of a water-logged pack of lemon Sweet Tarts, just the way I liked it. Years away from my Manhattan fixation, my cocktail vocabulary extended little beyond Whiskey Sour, but at La Ha that didn’t matter. No one judged me for ordering a pitcher of margs or two. In fact, that was the point. Sure we’d feel ill in the morning, but in that moment, at a table with friends, howling over some late night exploit with my frosty amber chalice in hand, all was right in the world.
Today, not so much. La Hacienda King Street, may you live on in hazy memories forever.