Today, the 1920s building which houses whiskey bar Seven Grand presents one-stop shopping for fans of both bourbon and tequila with the opening of Mas Malo, the new downtown branch of Malo Restaurant.
The historic 9,700-square-foot space, which formerly housed Clifton's Silver Spoon Cafeteria and Brock Jewelers, is owned by 213's Cedd Moses who, when he changed his mind about using the space himself, rented it out to Malo owners Jeff Ellermeyer and Mitchell Frank.
And the Mexican cantina makes good use of the sprawling three-level venue with a high-ceiling dining room, originally the jewelry store's showroom; a mezzanine which overlooks the dining room and contains a bar, lounge seating and tables; and a speakeasy-esque basement cantina complete with a tequila tasting vault (8 people max) and a staging area.
With about 260-plus tequilas (20 ultra premium, 35-plus mescals among them), 10 Mexican beers and some wine, a drinker will never go thirsty -- or probably leave sober. And if the line is too long at one bar, there are two others to choose from. Fifteen bartenders and six wells will keep the liquor flowing.
But this isn't just a tequila bar. Fortaleza Tequila distiller Guillermo Sauza, of the Sauza family behind Sauza Tequila and a fifth generation tequila producer, stopped by two weeks ago to train the staff on the differences between blanco, reposado and anejo tequilas as well as the flavor profiles and how tequila is made.
Bar manager Fred Warner (Osteria La Buca, Chateau Marmont) and Malo's bar manager Kevin Harper created drinks for the cocktail menu. Check out the new twists on classics, the Old Fashionista made with Kraken Black Rum and the Pinata Smash with Reposado and Serrano chile. Malo favorites Medicina Latina and the 100% Organic Puro Margarita are also available for those who want to stick to the familiar.
The food menu by executive chef Robert Luna is more extensive than that of the Silver Lake location, with 13 entrees as opposed to eight. New dishes include the Boyle Heights Picnic of roasted chicken; mole poblano; Mexican potato salad; and the Lobster Diablo, with lobster tails sautéed in garlic and red chile.
Mas Malo opens today.
From: Kevin Harper of Malo Silver Lake
Makes: 1 drink
1 ounce Maker's Mark
1 ounce Gusano Mezcal
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3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1. Pour ingredients over ice and shake.
2. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an orange twist.