Little Water Cantina
Description: A sleek and charming Mexican restaurant and lounge in Eastlake. It occupies a ground-floor retail space in yet another stock apartment building, but the layout stays engaging: The cinder-block walls somehow manage to be elegant, and fun collections of stuff are scattered here and there.
About that: A wall is embedded with tequila bottles for a gleaming-with-cave-jewels effect. There's a collage of vintage postcards, with messages so careful and restrictive that the blandness seems deliberate and fascinating. And over the bar hovers a row of antique gramophone speakers—fanciful, weird, representing the thoughts of the customers seated below.
Bonus: A huge back patio overlooks the water and is stocked with picnic tables so new you can smell the fresh-cut wood.
Happy hours: Tues–Thurs 4–6 pm.
Happy-hour drink specials: $4 drafts (Lagunitas, Trumer Pils), $5 margaritas (their recipe uses orange liqueur), $5 wines.
Happy-hour food specials: Fancy small plates featuring many house-made ingredients, including the sour cream, tortillas, and queso: $5 empanadas (potato and chorizo, veggie), $9 taco of the hour (fish, slow-roasted pork), and a $6 side of guacamole (said to be freakishly delicious).