The bar may be a demure 700 square feet, but it boasts over 326 different bottles of tequila, mezcal, and sotol (a spirit distilled from the dessert spoon evergreen shrub) combined. Available by the glass (1.5 oz) or carafe (5 oz), the tequilas come with a shot of house made sangrita and an escabeche "pickle-back."
The menu is organized by spirit type, with tequila, the largest category, getting further subdivided by age (blanco, reposado, añejo) and by region (lowlands, highlands, and Tamaulipas/Guanajuato--areas outside of Jalisco legally allowed to call their product tequila). Besides being a large list, it's impressively curated and organized, with the largest collection of sotol we've seen anywhere.
The cocktail menu is designed to be straightforward, with all the drinks using fresh juice and house made syrups and sodas. Two margaritas grace the menu: the house El Mosto ($9, El Jimador Reposado, agave nectar, lime juice, served on the rocks) and the Margarita Contramar ($9, Pueblo Viejo Blanco, agave syrup, lime juice, served blended), made the way the famed Mexico City restaurant serves them.
The classic and maligned Tequila Sunrise ($9, Corralejo Reposado, house-made grenadine, orange juice) makes a comeback, and Ferro's Lil' Devil ($9, Don Julio Blanco, Massenez Cassis, lime juice, house-made ginger beer) is refreshing with ginger bite. The timeless Paloma ($9, El Jimador Blanco, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, Jarrito's Toronja) gets a slight update with elderflower liqueur and drinks way too easy.
The food is designed to be tasty and bite-sized to help keep you upright. It'll be hard to ignore the Taco Al Pastor ($1.50, Mexico City style with grilled pineapple) roasting on the spit on the way in, but the Taco de Nopal y Queso ($1.50, pickled cactus paddle with Oaxaca cheese) wowed with crispy cheese. Ms. Reyes Tamale ($3 chicken, potatoes, green beans) isn't Mexican, but Salvadorian style tamale wrapped in a banana leaf.
The space is long and narrow, with 3600 mason jars attached to the ceiling, that give it an organic quality. Designed in part to reflect the light from the bulbs, the jars also contain tokens placed inside by the 600 plus people who were involved with the project. The dark colors set it apart from the bright and colorful sibling next door but it manages to feel comfortable and not brooding--perfect for some bites and a few shots.
Mosto, 741 Valencia (at 18th)