Walk down the back hallway of Miami's Tacocraft (7200 SW 58th Ave., South Miami), and you'll soon find yourself at the doors to a new bar its creators call one of the area's only mezcalerias.
JEY Hospitality cofounder Marc Falsetto says he's excited to debut Mercado Negro, the ninth concept to join his restaurant group's growing roster of South Florida establishments that includes Fort Lauderdale-based Rok:Brgr, Tacocraft, Pizzacraft, and Himmarshee Public House.
According to Falsetto, the "hidden" bar at the back of Tacocraft was first envisioned as a way for him and business partner Chuck Hazlett to manage the surplus of patrons they've experienced since opening the first outpost of their taqueria off SW 58th Avenue in South Miami in June.
"We've been blessed. It's been so busy we just don't have the space for everyone. [Tacocraft] has a small bar, so we decided to incorporate a hidden-speakeasy theme again with the restaurant. How Apothecary is to Pizzacraft [in Fort Lauderdale], Mercado Negro will be to Tacocraft."
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When it opens in December, Mercado Negro, Spanish for "black market," will feature a bar program that highlights the oldest and finest of Mexican spirits — mezcal — served alongside craft cocktails.
Expect to find more than 50 types of mezcal, a spirit distilled from a mash made from the steamed hearts of various species of agave. Unlike tequila, mezcal can be produced from more than 30 kinds of agave, and its trademark smoky flavor is produced by fire-roasting the agave hearts in giant earthen pits before distillation.
Measuring just over 1,000 square feet, the 14-seat bar will be open Thursday through Saturday to absorb Tacocraft's overflow. Unlike the restaurant, which features lime-green accents and colorful wall murals, Mercado Negro will instead offer a darker decor, with purple damask wallpaper, metal accents, and a concrete bar. A lounge-style seating area with sofas will also give guests a semiprivate vibe.