This tiny shop has a big personality. Lively Cuban music splashes out to the patio; in fair weather, the window-front opens upward, creating an alfresco counter space for chatting. Munching diners sit on stools across from one another, inside and outside. The spirit is exuberant, the food is swell, and the prices right: croquettas (fritters filled with your choice of ham, chicken, or mushrooms gently blended with a bechamel sauce into a light concoction), two for $3.50; or the famous Cuban sandwich of ham, slow-roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and aioli on Cuban bread for $9.98. A dozen versions of coffee are on offer, from the Cubano (a shot of coffee sweetened with whipped sugar) to café con leche (a Cubano with hot steamed milk). And then there are the potent cocktails: daiquiris, pina coladas, mojitos, Cuba libres, and the like, each $8 to $10. Colada Shop turns this block of T Street into a party. But if you’re here just to enjoy your empanadas and pastelitos, head to the back of the shop toward the kitchen and hang a right to find the quieter back room, with leather sofas, wicker chairs, and stools at high tops. Or head to the lovely rooftop garden, open daily, weather permitting, for cocktails, Caribbean tunes, and Colada’s favorite bites. There’s another location with even more outdoor seating at the Wharf (10 Pearl St. SW; tel. 202/932-2980).