It’s small, it’s hot and it gets very sweaty at weekends. No, we’re not talking about Amanda Harrington’s muff, but the city’s latest must-visit venue.

We all love Santa Chupitos. Good service, nice crowd, expert drinks. No messing. All the stuff that makes going out at night better than working at your desk during the day.

So imagine our delight when head bar honcho Dan McNeill (pic l) told us he’d scuttled downstairs to open up the city’s first Tequileria (that’s a tequila bar with all the nasty stag and hen additives carefully filtered out).

Sound the Bar Ca Va klaxon. There’s another place in the city where the optics pour pure amber nectar. Of the Latin variety.

“I’ve always loved small, intimate cocktail bars, of the sort they have so many of in New York,” Dan tells SevenStreets (while offering us a can of Coke. Can you believe it? The nerve of the man).

“Last time I was there, I fell in love with this little neighbourhood bar in the East Village and just knew that’s what Liverpool needed,” he says.

He was right. Despite our unadulterated love for all things Santa Chupitos we find it staggering that no-one else has added to the city’s small, in-the-know, chilled-out bar map (Aloha aside). Two bars do not a scene make. We need more. And Dan’s leading the charge.

“It had to be a tequila bar,” Dan says, “because it’s the most misunderstood drink out there. And I’m on a mission to re-educate the masses.”

Well, not masses exactly. The bar comfortably holds 30. It probably uncomfortably holds more, but you don’t want to risk someone spilling your Reposado, do you?

Talking of which, in such a small space, how are they planning to keep the Gringos at bay, we wonder?

“The Ropewalks has been getting a bit ridiculous of late,” Dan’s right-hand man Tony Rowlands chips in. “But, thankfully, Concert Square acts as kind of a buffer zone. And if we see anyone who just doesn’t seem to get it, we’ll politely point them in the direction of Walkabout.”

“Not that we’re sniffy about who we let in,” says Dan. “We’re here to give everyone a good time. We’re hoping the sort of atmosphere you’ll get down here will be self selecting. Scallies just won’t get it.”

The ‘down here’ Dan’s talking about used to be a subterranean newsagents – but now, with a few judiciously placed Moorish touches, a jazz/funk/Motown soundtrack and a gleaming back-bar stacked with various concoctions of fermented Agave nectar, the place is positively straight outta Chihuahua. It’s the Ropewalks, but not as we know it.

“Good tequila isn’t what you’re used to drinking if Bar Ca Va or a jug of marqueritas at Chiquitos is the sum of your experiences,” says Dan, who buys straight from a London merchants’ specialising in Mexico’s national drink, and tops up his knowledge with regular tastings down Mexico way.

“It’s as complex and rewarding as any premium spirit, and this is the place to experience it.”

We’re having some of that. And next time, Dan, hold the Coke.

Seven Shots of Tequila

Tequila is the fermented juice of the Agave – a plant similar to a yucca, and native to Latin America. It’s not, as is commonly thought, obtained from cactus juice. Idiots.

The spirit comes in three types. Blanco, the cheapest, is matured for 60 days, creating a raw base for cocktails. Reposado has been matured in oak barrels for 2-4 years and is the perfect choice for a cheeky shot, while Anejo is the aged, finer variety.

Tequila can only be produced in Mexico. Not necessarily in Tequila. But close enough.

Forget the worm. It’s just a marketing gimmick introduced in the 1940s, and doesn’t denote a premium brand. It denotes a tourist with money to burn.

Beer and tequila are best mates. This is a fact. Having them together is the very definition of ‘drinking responsibly’.

Stuck on what to try? Go for Dan’s Butterfinger cocktail. Slides down a treat. Tastes like Snickers. But careful, it may make you nuts.

Herradura – Dan’s preferred brand – is 100% estate botted, 100% Blue Agave. Accept no substitute: Jose Cuervo, for example, isn’t a pure tequila, but adds sugar to the mix for a cheaper, inferior blend.

Bandito Tequila
Slater Street

(It’s the blue door, just round the corner from Santa’s entrance, down towards Duke Street)

  • ArtistJV

    @7streets @banditotequila Great place, great review, absolutely fantastic opening sentence.

  • 7streets

    @ArtistJV @banditotequila haha. Sorry about that (d)

  • natersp

    @JamesHCherry Always in pairs. Always.

  • JamesHCherry

    @natersp I’m surprised they don’t open a bar called ‘Noah’s Ark’

  • natersp

    @JamesHCherry Hurrah Hurrah!

  • ex_tu

    @ellieq Interesting. But yeah, Santa Chupito’s gets on my tits.

  • LiverpoolRR

    @7streets @banditotequila Great article, loved the Amanda Harrington’s muff line, I look forward to trying this place.

  • TresMaritza

    @7streets you like tequila?

  • 7streets

    @TresMaritza of course!

  • Braden1986

    @carlscottdavies @jamesmensforth @gsmith815 @catherine_eaton @estellesmith23 @curlyredbrick let the drinking commence!

  • 1GirlWhoWrites

    @richymtfc21 I want to go now! I love the name ‘Mexican Caterpillar’ 😀

  • Terry Hindle

    No need for the first sentence, tut, tut.

  • Fenton Bell

    RopeWalks is so much better than L1, and this kind of place proves it! Good stuff.

  • Sevenstreets

    There’s no need for any of it, Terry, really. But it brought a smile to my face. That was enough for me (D)

  • Maria Gornell

    Will we get to eat the worm?

  • Joe Forrest

    Sounds brilliant! But you didn’t make it clear where it is… is it underneath santas?

  • Sevenstreets

    Ah, yeah. Sorry Joe. Lemme sort that. It’s a blue door, on Slater Street itself. There’s no real address or website yet.

  • Joe Forrest

    Random blue door, no real address, sounds great!

  • Kev_The_Beard

    @michaeltraff Cheers bloke.

  • Ellis

    Went after the Everisland show at the Kazimier last week, great place. Their take on the Desperado is unbelievable, i’m a convert to tequila.

  • Jo Hayes

    Ah so that’s what it is. I’ve been calling it Secret Santa’s.

  • TresMaritza

    @7streets I have a Jose Cuervo, you want it?

  • 7streets

    @TresMaritza no thanks. Have you read our feature? It’s not supposed to be proper tequila!

  • TresMaritza

    @7streets always the way… I lived in Mexico for 26 years you know? (I’m Mexicana!) You want nice tequila? Ask for ‘Don Julio’!!!

  • TresMaritza

    @7streets I’ll check the place out tomorrow night and share my verdict 😉

  • 7streets

    @TresMaritza great. Let’s know what you think!

  • TresMaritza

    @7streets you shall! & I’ll get you proper tequila next time somebody visits from Mx, no marqueritas though!

  • TresMaritza

    @7streets which should be margaritas – you’ll drink it straight 😉 or ‘derecho’ like we say over there

  • Matt Thomas

    This place sounds awesome, always had a soft spot for Tequila, I need an education.