It's true: speakeasy-themed bars are booming once again in NYC and, to some, every next one might just be ubiquitous but, to others, they're still the coolest concept around.
Take the Cactus Shop in Williamsburg, for example. A plant store by day, the space turns into a Mexican speakeasy cantina by night, complete with a lovely outdoor courtyard perfect for the spring-ish nights that have graced New York in the past week. It's clearly not a speakeasy in the most authentic sense of the word, but it certainly boasts that same sort of vibe.
Inside, patrons will revel in heartwarming yet vibrant decor that is actually sourced directly from Mexico alongside the just-as-authentic drink ware (think black clay and hand blown glasses). Pay particular attention to the skeletons and sugar skulls that are placed just so all over the destination and call out to Mexico's Day of the Dead celebrations (did you know that, in Mexican culture, the skulls represent both death and rebirth?).
The menu is prepared by chef Eduardo Dominguez. He's actually from Sinaloa, one of Mexico's 31 states, so you can expect the food to be stellar. The offerings are organized by categories: para empezar (starters like guacamole and plantain chips and elotes, grilled Mexican street corn), flautas (fried, rolled up tortillas), gorditas (stuffed tortillas), quesadillas ("we only have one type because it's that good"), tacos and desserts.
Cocktail-wise, a handful of margaritas make up the bulk of the menu (duh), complemented by a slew of specialty drinks like the Hoja Santa Spritz (martini Fiero, Italicus liqueur, pineapple, Parés Baltà Cava) and the Toro by Devocion (mezcal Unión, Santa Tereza 1796 rum, Devoción Toro coffe, Rosso, Campari).
Perhaps unlike any other speakeasy of yore, a section of the menu is dedicated to mocktails, a trend that seems to have really found a footing in recent months.
Below, check out some photos from inside the space:
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