Julian Downing and Geoff Machirus first bonded over a bottle of tequila. It was a gateway liquor that led them to a greater love: mezcal – tequila’s smokier, more rustic cousin. Seventy bottles sit on the back bar at Bodega Underground, alongside 20 tequilas.
The two spirits can be found in various cocktails and tasting flights, or you can just shoot them. Adventurous drinkers can also garnish their drink with salts made from worm and grasshopper. And there’s an ample beer and wine list, and Mexican cocktails such as the Michelada.
A well-developed taco list covers all bases. The pork and pineapple carnitas are spicy-sweet, and the octopus taco is tangy and refreshing. The vegetarian offering is also sizeable; sweet potato, potato and mushroom tacos are all available. There’s also a range of quesadillas and snacks, such as totopos (tortilla chips) and street corn with chipotle mayo.
Downing and Machirus fitted Bodega out themselves with trinkets accumulated from many trips to Mexico. The wallpaper consists of scanned posters from Mexican cinema; religious screen-prints are hung about; and static-riddled TVs sit in the corners.