Tuesday, September 15, 2009
SIGNONSANDIEGO STAFF WRITER
If Pedro Almodovar, king of controversial, kitschy Spanish cinema, were to open a bar devoted solely to Oaxacan mescal, it'd probably look a lot like the narrow concrete box that houses La Mezcalera. He'd hang psychedelic Catholic iconography on the radioactive turquoise walls and top the tables with fiber-optic flowers. He'd opt for cheese graters instead of chandeliers and pin up nudie girls and guys in the bathrooms. He'd stock the jukebox with Depeche Mode and Daft Punk and fill the chairs with well-trimmed hipsters, grizzled lushes and tired townie hookers, all united by their thirst for tequila's dirty cousin.
The 18 varieties of mescal on tap include the pure (the raw, earthy stuff abuelos hoist to toast their granddaughters on their quinceañeras), the flavored (coffee, blackberry, mango) and the creamy (piña colada, caramel, melon). Shots (sippers, not chuggers) go for 25 pesos ($2) a piece or 60 to 70 ($5-$6) for a lineup of six. Double doses of the flavored and creamy brands come on the rocks or a la raspado (Mexican slushy).
Shortly after opening, the bar converted its rear storage space into a small club -- complete with a second bar and Simons on the walls -- that plays hosts to bands, DJs and a dancefloor full of scenesters. It's safe to call it the unofficial Studio 54 of Tijuana, at least for now.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Locals have resurrected a loop of all-but-forgotten bars that reside along Sixth Street between Revolucion and Madero avenues, collectively branding the cluster as "La Sexta" (The Sixth). A band of vintage dives that fall into the same category as Nunu's, Pac Shores or the Alibi, it's quickly risen to that of the Sunset Boulevard of Tijuana.
Who's to say whether it was the arrival of American Apparel at the far end of the block, which unleashed a steady supply of deep V-necks and neon tights, or La Mezcalera's move to convert its rear storage space into a small club -- complete with a second bar and Simons on the walls. Either way, it's an altogether alternate reality compared to the nonstop frat-boys-in-flops circus of yesteryear.
La Mezcalera co-owner Sergio calls it the only neighborhood that maintains the true essence of Tijuana, a place that locals can call their own.
"You can see the typical alcoholic, the stereotypical prostitute and at the same time you can see a girl with a Chanel purse," he says. "That's Tijuana. It's a place where everything could be mixed in the same place."
Thursday, September 10, 2009