Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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.

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