One tequila, two tequila, three tequila … and then it all gets a bit hazy, but we’re told Neon Cactus is home to well over 70 types of this beautiful spirit. The vibrant-themed joint not only specialises in Mexico’s infamous liquor but also brings the nation’s love for traditional street food, upbeat vibes and late-night partying to Leeds’ Call Lane.
With a drinks menu stating “I don’t like tequila … I love it”, it’s no surprise that the list is tequila heavy. You’re spoilt for choice whether you like it straight up or in cocktail form. Chick-Quila cocktails such as the hibiscus- and passionfruit-flavoured Rose Mallo are served sweet and beautifully garnished, whereas if you want a stronger kick go for a Cabrones-style cocktail like the chilli-infused Donkey Punch. New to tequila? Just ask your expert bartender for a suitable match or if you’re a connoisseur, you’ll be satisfied with a unique pick of rare and special sips. There’s also a good selection of rum-based classics for those who haven’t quite made friends with tequila just yet.
Inspired by the traditional canteens and old town vendors of Mexico, the kitchen serves up street-inspired small plates, making the bar ideal for early evening dates and weekday catch-ups. However, as the night goes on and the DJ appears from a 15-foot-high booth playing all sorts of dancefloor-filling electro, throwback hip hop, R&B and the latest chart remixes, you’ll find bar bites are god-sent party fuel.
Best Bars tip: Ask for a tequila shot and you’re in for a treat. Not to give away any surprises but at Neon Cactus they’re served up the good ol’Mexican way. ¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’ dentro amigos!
— Mieke-Kyra Smith, @mieke_chu