Restaurants and consumers alike are experimenting with more authentic and regional Mexican fare to further explore this popular cuisine. Three out of four consumers purchase Mexican fare away from home occasionally, according to Technomic’s recent Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report.
One result of Mexican experimentation is the growing number of tequila bars. What sets tequila bars apart is the Mexican influence combined with the overall atmosphere and specialization. Eager-to-learn consumers can get an education about this complicated spirit with menus that may list more than 100 tequila varieties. While these extensive lists may be daunting to some, others see a tequila bar as an information paradise where they can learn about the differences among blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas, and try private labels and limited-edition offerings.
But it’s not just tequila education that draws customers. Quality tequilas and accompanying foods are served in a stylish atmosphere that attracts a wide range of consumers. Tequila bars blend the contemporary and the traditional—a trendy and modern feel paired with rustic Mexican elements.
For example, The Matador is a rustic and alluring concept with seven outposts in the Northwest. It offers an extensive menu, and the Mexican theme is furthered by custom artwork and handmade décor. Barrio Tequila Bar & Cafe, a menu-driven concept with three locations and a food truck in the Minneapolis area, was developed out of its founders’ fondness for tequila and inspiration from street food. West Palm Beach, FL-based Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar is a trendy, upbeat chain of five restaurants that boasts a fun environment along with a menu of more than 225 tequilas. And, billing itself as a cevicheria and taqueria, Mercadito has achieved a wider geographic reach—two units each in New York and Miami and a fifth in Chicago—with an eclectic menu and upscale ambience.
These tequila-bar concepts, along with others, have identified a niche within full-service Mexican dining. With younger consumers growing more educated about adult beverages and older diners looking for a spot that allows them to enjoy better-quality offerings, tequila bars provide an ideal venue for a range of patrons to enjoy both interesting cuisine and exciting beverages.