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Monday, November 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 37.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
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Hot Middleton nights: Pachuco's
Luz de Luna/Pachuco's wants to be the kind of high-end Latino venue you'd find in Chicago and New York.
Luz de Luna/Pachuco's wants to be the kind of high-end Latino venue you'd find in Chicago and New York.
Credit:Sharon Vanorny

If you're too fond of personal space to frequent the Glass Nickel, or you're too Republican for leather-filled gay bars, suburbia might be your answer. Luz de Luna/Pachuco's restaurant and nightclub opened in February in the former Tallard's Station in Middleton, touting itself as Madison's answer to the high-end Latino venues of Chicago and New York.

But wait. Don't "Middleton" and "nightclub" sound oxymoronic to you? Indeed, the deserted business park where Pachuco's sits seems more apropos for driving practice or white-collar crime. My suspicions of the place only increased when one of the six cars in the Pachuco's parking lot was a large white van. Sans windows. It was pretty creepy.

I told my sister that if we found a serial killer inside, we wouldn't have to stay the whole night. The pressure was on to show her a good time; it was, after all, her first trip out after having a baby. And if we timed it right, she could even drink a beer or two before having to nurse again.

Maybe Pachuco's did have a sad-looking man with a cowboy hat monopolizing the karaoke machine and a woman reading a book at the bar and a lot (and I mean, a lot) of Formica and ketchup and mustard at every table, and blond women in skirts whose lengths were inversely proportional to their owners' age. And maybe the location is bad and the drinks are so-so and the fog machine brings up too many bad memories of performing jazz squares in community theater musicals.

The thing is, it's never where you go at night, it's who you're with that makes or breaks it. We're plucky, my sister and me, so we wrenched the microphone away from Doc Karaoke and sang Abba and James Taylor and Regina Spektor. Then we drank more piña coladas and sang (I am not kidding) Avril Lavigne and Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman." There may have even been dance routines. As a reward we received rounds of applause from the sparse patrons and convinced the old blond girls to sing some tunes, too.

To be fair, Pablo the bartender says that Saturday nights are the best ("Crazy!" he proclaims), and those who love Latin music and dancing are surely happy to have a venue for it. So, dancing queens, if you have gas money and free time, you might as well give it a shot with your best friends. As with any of these offbeat nightlife spots, the worst that can come of it is a decent story to tell.

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