The word "lounge" in the name of a bar usually implies sleek bottle service places with dress codes and the kind of patrons that necessitate large, frightening doormen. But step into Azucar Lounge and the arrangement of sofas and coffee tables parceled out like little living rooms clarifies that here, "lounge" is a what you're expected to do.
Owned and run by Jon Ojinaga and Edgar Tamayo, the pair features fresh produce driven cocktails with a Mexican spirits focus using fresh produce to inspire the bar.
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Despite the allure of the fresh fruit and vegetable centric cocktail menu, it was the entirely spirit driven Lobos Mexicanos ($9, Montelobos Mezcal, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Cinzano Bianco Vermouth, orange bitters), a drink designed to be a mezcal Manhattan playing off the spirit's affinity for orange that best suited the night. Perhaps it was the full moon or simply the mezcal's trance that turned me feral the second someone tried to taste my drink. Good thing they also had grub to tame my appetite.
The food has a south of the border feel as well with street food style tacos and variations on the bacon-wrapped hot dog. The Perros Calientes section of the menu, showcases the usual peppers and cheese toppings, but the Colombian ($6, bacon wrapped hot dog, pineapple salsa, slaw, potato chips) with pineapple salsa was a combination that added both heat and tropical sweetness without seeming excessive.
The bar also hosts weekly Taco Tuesdays where for $10 you get all-you-can-eat tacos and drink specials all night. The relaxing space, great drinks and food make it a terrific place to bring your pack.
1 ½ oz. Montelobos Mezcal
½ oz. Cinzano Bianco Vermouth
½ oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 Dashes Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until cold and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Azucar Lounge, 299 9th St. (at Folsom), 255-2982