Tucked just above the long-loved La Perla is agaveria El Nivel — courtesy of industry legend Tomas Estes and his son Jesse. A departure from the 17 other Estes venues, this is a slightly more upscale venture with draped curtains, colourful Mexican artwork and Latin retro vibes. The bright and sunny room may be small, but the bar is big on service – and will bring you an intimate and elegant drinking experience every time.
The short cocktail menu features standout drinks like the Mezcal Fix: a fresh and gently smoky mix with QuiQuiRiQui mezcal, roasted pineapple syrup, Cynar and saltwater spray. For a longer sweeter libation, try the Horchata with rice water, condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla mixed with Ocho Reposado tequila. Boozy and easy all wrapped into one. Don’t skip over the antojitos (small plates), as the food isn’t sticking solely to traditional Mexican fare. Try the twist on guacamole “Yim Fun Ho” – an avocado relish with strawberries, mango, jicama, topped with pomegranate seeds and served on an edible Shiso leaf with a side of Chinese pancakes. For a satisfying and homey dish, try the Arroz Con – rice Mexican-style with creamy sundried tomato sauce – reads simply, tastes divine.
Cafe Pacifico and La Perla devotees will be thrilled at the long-awaited opening of this spot, but it’s great for anyone looking for a sophisticated and easy introduction to agave spirits.
Best Bars tip: Pull up a seat at the gleaming wooden bar so you can get the most out of your evening in the justifiably self-proclaimed agaveria. With an enviable number of tequilas and mezcals, there’s enough to work through to keep you coming back time and time again.
— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips