In the window of a heritage Oxford Street pub is a shrine to a man known only as el primo Sanchez, for whom the pub is named. Coming from the group behind Maybe Sammy (named Australia’s best bar four years in a row by the World’s 50 Best Bars), it prompts the question: where has this man been all my life?

Despite what its owners tell you, El Primo Sanchez is not a man, but in fact a Mexican-inspired bar and diner designed for good times. Inside, orange tiles are abundant – from the walls to the DJ booth – as are Mexican film posters and long-stemmed red roses.

In the compact karaoke room, you should absolutely push the “push for tequila” button, and belt out your favourite tune beneath the disco ball. The ceiling lights can cycle through a plethora of colours, changing the mood of the place with the click of a button.

House cocktails, which were developed with input from the Maybe Group’s Mexican and Latin American staff, include a creamy, coconut-y Horchata Colada topped with roasted macadamia; and a Jaffa-esque Espresso Martini made with aged tequila and coffee liqueur. There’s also a list of agave-based spirits to sip neat, plus Mexican beers, lageritas and more.

The menu features recognisable Mexican dishes that often have a touch of the unconventional or unexpected. Think brussels sprouts tacos beside classic tacos al pastor, tuna tostadas with koji-habanero mayo and shiso, and dry-aged sirloin with Mexican-inspired jus.

But just when you thought this place couldn’t get any more fun, La Prima – the secret mezcal bar at the back of the venue – will call your name.

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Updated: October 13th, 2023

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