Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cha Cha Cha's

By Meredith Deliso

Since opening seven years ago, Cha Cha’s Coney Island Bar & Café has been there for every big Boardwalk moment, from the Mermaid Parade to the Siren Music Festival.

This past Memorial Day weekend, the spot returned for another season, with a full line-up of bands, burlesque, and rockabilly.

Coming up next at Cha Cha’s, the bar will have live music to help celebrate the annual Mermaid Parade, returning to Surf Avenue on June 20. The venue’s rooftop lounge will be open as well (where you can also get a nice view of the fireworks every Friday night this summer in Coney).

Throughout the rest of the month, there will also be a Latin jazz ensemble on June 21, featuring Friends of El Rey, Tito Puente and Mario Rivera (they also play July 12). On June 28, you can rock with the Rockinhams, a ‘60s and ‘70s rock cover band (who also play at Cha Cha’s on July 5 and 26, August 9 and 23, and September 13).

Kicking off July’s festivities, the classic rock cover band Back Pages takes to the stage July 3 (you can also check them out again on August 7). On July 10 it’s more rock and blues with Tom Kat & the Whiskey Rats. And on July 18, head to Cha Cha’s after the Siren Music Festival, where live music will continue into the night.

Every Saturday throughout the summer, Cha Cha’s presents Squidling Brothers Circus Side Show – Karnival of Kuriosities & Burlesque Side Show, with sword swallowers, glass eaters and, of course, dancers. “It’s your typical Coney Island sideshow,” says Cha Cha. On July 27, fans wouldn’t want to miss the Burlesque Rock-n-Roll Birthday bash, a night of rocking music and Brooklyn babes.

The festivities continue into September with the third annual Coney Island Rockabilly/Burlesque Festival from the 4th to the 7th, featuring more burlesque, as well as rockabilly bands, special guests Sasquatch on September 6, and a pin-up contest on September 7.

The next weekend, head down to Cha Cha’s for the Nassau Chain Saw Side Show Rock Revue on September 13.

Owner John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia splits his time between Coney Island and Little Italy, where he was born and raised and also operates Cha Cha’s Café on Mulberry Street. He recently launched his own wine, Grandpa Cha Cha’s Home Style Wine, a red developed from his grandfather’s secret family recipe, which he sells at Beer Island, his Coney Island bar, and the cafe in Little Italy.

In addition to operating those venues, Ciarcia is the part owner of the year-old Beer Island, located at Stillwell Avenue and the Boardwalk, and the new Chicken Shack, which opened last month at the corner of Surf Avenue and 10th Street, serving chicken, of course, as well as crab cakes, pizza, fried shrimp, fresh clams, Nathan’s hot dogs and other snacks & drinks.

“I’m trying to keep Coney Island going,” said Ciarcia from the set of his friend Danny DeVito’s show, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” where the TV and radio personality was filming a scene as a fruit vendor for an upcoming episode. “Coney Island is the Brooklyn Rivera. Where else are you going to go to get a great beach on the Atlantic Ocean for the price of a subway ride?”

Cha Cha’s of Coney Island is located on the Boardwalk between Stillwell Avenue and West 12th Street. It is open through the end of October. There is a $5 minimum in the evenings for shows and no cover charge unless noted for special events.

For more information, go to or or call 718-946-1305. For more on Grandpa Cha Cha’s Home Style Wine, go to


Anonymous,  June 18, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

i won't be able to make it out there this year, but i'm totally pulling for CHicago's own NATASHA MINSK!! She's a wonderful performer, and she's also competing in the pinup contest!

Good luck, Natasha!


Red Hot Annie

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