Many of the bars on party street Call Lane merge into the same boozy, house music haze after a few drinks, but Neon Cactus always manages to stand out. The little bar-slash-Mexican restaurant serves some of the most authentic and delicious Central American-themed food in the city with its street food-style bites, including quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos and tostadas. The sharing boards (averaging £15) and ‘feast’ dishes (£10.95 per head) are ideal for early evening socialising and made complete with the most famous strawberry daiquiri in town.
The venue blends an appealing traditional Mexican cantina inspiration with a trendy, cosmopolitan Call Lane vibe, as well as a cheery atmosphere that’s all of its own. No Mexican venue would be complete without tequila, and indeed the devilish spirit plays a major part at Neon Cactus, with a ‘tequila of the month’ and a heavy presence in many of the cocktails. There are at least a hundred different varieties to choose from, with most priced between £3 and £7 for a measure served with complimentary sangrita.
Not only is the bar is one of the few in the city to stock mescal, it offers numerous brands for the adventurous to sample. Acknowledging that tequila is very much an acquired taste or a down-the-hatch job when blind drunk, the Cactus serves similarly Latin-inspired concoctions, such as a perfect summer sangria, minty mojitos and the obligatory caipirinha, priced at an average of £6.50. It’s more than a little sexist to have a separate ‘chick-quila’ cocktail menu aimed specifically at women, but a selection of fruit-heavy drinks to take the edge off the strong alcohol is well-intentioned.