Tonteria Launch Party – the Mexican tapas and tequila bar
The brightest and best of London’s young and up-and-coming were out in full force on Wednesday night for the launch of Tonteria, the new Mexican tapas and tequila cocktail bar and club. We were invited to join them for a night of celebratory tacos and tequila.
Located on the exclusive Sloane Square strip between the Sloane Square Hotel and The Botanist, Tonteria is a basement venue neatly hidden behind unprepossessing black doors. According to the website, we’re supposed to be “transported to an authentic local bar in the heart of Mexico” upon arrival. Stairs descend into a cavern-like space of faux stonewalls, wooden rafters and dim orange light.
The bar is made of hand-painted Mexican tiles, the floor of parquet, and bottles of spirits are housed in open wooden crates. The level of fakery is more or less akin to that of a theme park ride: like most such places, there’s little to see that’s particularly Mexican, beyond the co-opting of a watered-down cultural aesthetic. However, the point is not authenticity but novelty ways of drinking and clubbing, and Tonteria delivers in spades.
There’s a train on tracks running around the bar to deliver shots to seated customers; some hammocks for when it’s quieter, and a photo booth dressed up as confession box. A selection of sharing cocktails on the menu was brought to the table in la calaca skulls or vessels shaped like the masks of Mexican lucha libre wrestlers. There are Piñatas for birthday guests and tapas based on popular Mexican favourites.
Tonteria is packed to the rafters when we arrive. The seating around the edge of the room is taken and the u-shaped area curving around the bar is stacked with young professionals jostling for free drinks. After a long wait, someone hands us a pair of margarita glasses wafting the scent of tequila and garnished with a wedge of lime.
Waiters with yellow braces circulate with plates of miniature basket-shaped tacos but by the time we’ve managed to get our drinks we’re too late for the food – so sadly we can’t tell you whether it was any good. We can confirm that it was very attractive, as only mini-tortilla shells and basket-shaped tacos filled with fresh ingredients can be.
While it’s hard to get a sense of what a typical night at Tonteria might be like, with everything pared-back for the launch party, it’s clearly a place with potential. The seating arrangement is perfect for both bar and club functions, and the DJ booth is situated neatly in the middle of the dancefloor. And while the decor may not be wildly authentic, something else is: the many varieties of Tequila imported direct from Mexico.
For further information or to make a reservation visit Tonteria’s official website.