La Taqueria co-owner Marcelo Ramirez Romero recently gave me a sneak peek inside the Mexican restaurant’s first location at 322 West Hastings, which has been closed for renovations since November after a non-stop eight year run. This was my first look at the changes.
The tiny, popular spot is still about two weeks away from officially reopening, but the main changes to the interior have been made. And if it looks to you like all they’ve done is painted the brick walls green, look closer. The tiled floor is completely new; the cinder block kitchen partition is new; the 10 seat ipe wood bar is new (and gorgeous); the banquette row of deuces is new; the unseen communal table is new; and – most important of all – the night time modus operandi is new.
Instead of just being a little pinche taqueria slinging tasty carnitas and al pastor (we can also expect a few new dishes), the new and improved La Taqueria will stay open late and run a cocktail list some 7-8 drinks deep. Think margaritas, palomas and the like, plus two beers on tap and a few more in bottles.
Hence the new bar, which is strikingly similar in size and design to the one at La Taqueria’s sister eatery in Gastown, La Mezcaleria. When it opens, the usual quick, counter-service mode that we’re used to will run from 11am to 5pm and then they’ll switch to the new cocktail-centric mode, which could see – possibly as an experiment to start – some limited table service. That’s how they’ll roll seven days a week, with a 2am shutdown on weekends.
It should be interesting. The address is between and away from the madding crowds of Gastown and Downtown, which could prove a plus to those who dig a “hideaway” sort of experience. “I like to think of it as Mexican version of The Keefer Bar.” Marcelo offered, adding that he thinks the changes are a natural evolution of the La Taqueria brand. “It’s a bit more mature but with a lot of the same elements that our guests are familiar with.” We’ll see how it takes shape. In the meantime, take a look inside…