Cocktails & Spirits

Coyo Taco's Secret Bar: 50 Tequilas and PaletaRitas

Wynwood's Coyo Taco is pretty straightforward: a fast-casual place to get tacos, guacamole, and Jarritos. But step beyond the small dining area and past the bathrooms, and you'll find a secret lounge. There, more than 50 bottles of tequila and mezcal glow by the light of novena candles. It's a strange and lovely mix of saints and spirits.

The bar, open daily beginning at 5 p.m., has no name, though Coyo partner Anna Robbins says people have been calling it the "secret bar" or, as Urban Daddy dubs it, "tequila wonderland." But what's in a name when you have a cool hidden bar with a secret back entrance and a tequila-forward menu of drinks?

See also: Coyo Taco Now Serves Breakfast

Before you order, just remember this: Cocktails can go to the front restaurant (so you can enjoy a few tacos), but tacos can't be taken to the bar. Robbins explains that the space is small and intimate and meant for drinking. "Back here, we sip our tequila."

With that one rule in mind, you're ready to drink. Robbins herself mixed a few of her favorites, although you're likely to have your cocktails crafted by bartender Luna Rozas.

The bananna margarita ($12) has an extra letter to match Robbins' nickname, Anna Bananna. It's made with Don Julio tequila, fresh lime, agave, and Banane du Brasil, made with macerated bananas. The glass is rimmed with sal de gusano, which is worm salt, made with ground gusano rojo worms, usually found in the bottom of your mezcal bottle. Speaking of mezcal, substitute that and you've got a smoky bananna. Craving a healthier libation? A chia margarita ($12) is made with chia-infused lime juice. As Robbins says: "You've got some superfood in this cocktail."

The breakout hit, however, is the PaletaRita ($13), made with one of Coyo's fresh paletas. Robbins got the idea for this labor-intensive cocktail when experimenting at the bar. "You can either use fresh fruit, which can go bad very quickly, or you can buy these frozen purées. So I got an idea to use the locally made paletas in the drinks."

The corners are cut off the paletas and used in the drink. The remaining pop is then placed inside the margarita. Garnish? Treat? Again, why put a name to anything so refreshing? The PaletaRita comes in flavors like cocopassion (made with cocoa tequila and a passionfruit paleta) and chili cucumber, rimmed with chili salt.

If you find yourself enjoying cocktails well into the night, Coyo chef Scott Linquist will cook a big pot of pozole on the weekends and serve complimentary cups of the fortifying Mexican stew to anyone who asks. Sure beats trying to find some 24-hour diner.

Coyo Taco's secret bar is open Sunday through Wednesday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., but there are plans for the bar to remain open longer. From 5 to 7 p.m., enjoy 50 percent off well drinks during Coyo's happy hour.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss