DREAMS COME TRUE
'Little West Side gem" sparkles with summer grand opening
Some bar owners talk about community, but the all-woman trio behind new Prospect Hill spot Chiflada’s mean it. The team says the concept, celebrating its grand opening on June 2, wouldn’t have happened without it.
Family and friends turned out to support the bar months before it was ready for the build-out. They turned out again to help transform a vacant bungalow at 1804 West Martin St. into a comfortable and stylish lounge. When the ice machine went on the fritz during the May 27 soft opening, the bar’s supporters flexed their muscles to ensure the drinks remained cold.
Even the West Side neighborhood gave it a seal of approval. Natasha Riffle, who co-owns Chifladla’s with her mother, policewoman Veronica Riffle, and El Buho owner Melanie Martinez, says the team walked door to door to change the zoning, ensuring residential buy-in.
The result is a bar that is by and for the neighborhood. At the soft opening party, Marigolds swayed in the breeze under a pergola as congratulatory bouquets filled the bar’s shelves. Guests busily chattered as popular deejay Sunnyboy played oldies and conjunto hits.
“It feels like you’re at your abuelita’s backyard and hanging with your family,” Natasha Riffle says of the bar’s vibe.
The drinks honor that spirit, too, toeing the line between the neighborhood’s blue-collar roots and the team’s cocktail-making skills. Featured sippers include a punchy Mexican Martini, a melon Paloma, the Chif Peach, and the mezcal-based Smoke on the Water.
“It’s a place to get a nice cocktail, but also a place to get a beer and shot combo,” Natasha Riffle tells CultureMap about the high-low mix.
Ultimately, Chiflada’s feels like home — the type of place folks let loose after a long day at work, where multiple generations can get in on the party and where bartenders become close friends.
“We all lived [on the West Side] off and on,” says Riffle of the team, “and we’ve all worked with each other over the years. We are more of a family than we are co-workers — 100 percent.”