First things first: the name of Andy Freeman’s soon-to-open tequila bar at the old 1907 site? It’s pronounced “cha-ba-YEE-tos” and is Spanish for “little horses”. The name is as much a tip of the hat to the giant black stallion that used to greet guests at the restaurant as it is a statement of intent about what Caballitos stands for.

“It’s going to be a very accessible place,” says Freeman. “It’s genuinely a place you’re going to come to and dance to Bruce Springsteen and George Benson, drink some great drinks and have a good time.”

Yet for all of this talk of horsing around, the publican’s newest venture on Queen Street – Freeman also owns The Flour Factory – has plenty of substance to go with its good-times Mexican style. The basement bar will house 200 tequilas, mezcals and other Mexican spirits as well as serve its own lager. Jamie Passmore, experienced drinks-slinger and manager of Freeman’s American whisky stronghold, Varnish on King, will be moving to Caballitos and overseeing its cocktail and beverage offerings.

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The food, meanwhile, falls on the shoulders of Danny Sanchez, executive chef across Freeman’s suite of venues. As those that follow Sanchez on Instagram will attest, our man has a thing for painterly, almost-too-pretty-to-eat plates, but for Caballitos he’s keeping things simple: think good guacamole, quesadillas and tacos made using house-made tortillas, all cooked to order in the bar.

“It’s basically going to be a taqueria but with Flour Factory standards,” says the Peruvian-born chef. “It’s all simple stuff you’d find in Mexico. While living in Mexico for six months, I learned a lot about the cuisine and how flavourful it can be. I really identify with Mexican cuisine and enjoy cooking it.”

While Caballitos is taking over the former 1907 basement, the ground-floor restaurant is being run as a function space.

Caballitos opens early August.

Basement, 26 Queen Street, Perth

Mon to Sat 4pm–12am