MEXICO CITY IS HAVING a major moment in the food and design worlds, and we don’t have to hop onto a plane to get a taste. Bar Caló is a new all-day mezcal bar concept in the heart of Echo Park with a food and bev menu inspired by the vibrant culture of cosmopolitan Mexico. Come for the cocktails, stay for the delicious design, keep coming back for both.
The married duo behind Echo Park’s sweet and seasonal Ostrich Farm restaurant opened Bar Caló in an unassuming strip mall across Sunset Boulevard earlier this summer. Alongside a selection of seasonal cocktails made with ingredients like chile, Chamoy, cumin and fresh farmers market finds, you’ll also find a menu of shareable plates like roasted garlic guacamole, salt-roasted prawns and a raw veggie platter that’ll change your perspective on the concept of crudite.
WHAT WE ATE: Every cocktail on the Bar Caló menu, designed by the former Bestia bar manager, is thoughtfully crafted with perfect balance and restraint. Our favorite was the low-sugar Rolling Blackout Mezcal, a smokey savory blend that includes prickly pear spirit, fresh lime juice, cucumber, cilantro and mezcal, of course. Looking for a different kind of buzz? Try the iced coffee horchata with rum and the Dreamtigers — a mezcal blend with plantain-infused tequila, orgeat, fresh lemon juice, pineapple juice and mole bitters.If you’re the designated driver for the day, let the server know and they’ll bring you a free bottle of Topo Chico mineral water.
Seeking something light to pair with our cocktails, we ordered Bar Calo’s crudite plate which featured fresh market veggies and a killer dip trio that included guacamole, an herbal cheese-based dip called sikil pak, and a spicy aji amarillo (pro tip: ask for extra veggies and a side of their plantain chips for the perfect dip-to-crunch ratio). Hungry for more? Their mushroom taco is another must-try, loaded with pickled cabbage, avocado and a perfect peanut-chipotle sauce. Their seasonal ceviche is another light yet flavor option, featuring a fresh catch of the day, avocado and a creamy coconut-ginger leche de tigre.
WHY WE ATE IT: Both the food and beverages are inspired by Mexico, but beautifully influenced by other cultures, especially that of Southern California. Everything on the cocktail menu focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients, highlights independently owned and operated Mezcal and tequila producers, and even offers a selection of intriguing natural Mexican wines. The food menu is highly sharable and celebrates California produce and seafood as much as it does traditional Mexican cuisine.
WHY YOU NEED IT: The vibe is on point in all the right ways. Dy or night, Bar Caló is a chill spot that doesn’t feel too loud or too sceney, and is simply a perfect place to gather with friends. While the food and drinks are epic, the design is what really makes this tiny space shine. On a functional level, there’s pleny of space to lounge and liner. On an aesthetic level, your eyes and mind will innevitably be soothed by the perfect balance of modern concrete, cozy velvet, and a perfect palette of reds, peaches and planty greens. Swing by and swoon for yourself…
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