The 'World's Tiniest Tequila Bar' Is a Dreamy Place to Drink

Located in San Miguel De Allende, the hidden Casa Dragones tasting room seats just five to six people.

Casa Dragones
Photo: Courtesy of Casa Dragones

The cobbled streets of San Miguel De Allende are awash with color and creativity. The allure of this UNESCO World Heritage site, nestled into a billowing valley of Guanajuato, is widely known, but no amount of social media-sourced excitement could prepare me for experiencing it myself.

The Bajio Mountains formed the slanted edge of the horizon, punctured in the foreground by a series of Neo-Gothic parish pinnacles. All of it was a stark contrast in scale from the 100-square-foot room I'd soon enter to taste tequila; the bar promised to be the world's smallest venue in which to do so. For such a tiny space, however, the Casa Dragones Tasting Room would carry more than enough liquid to sustain my interest for the better part of an afternoon.

I just had to find the place first. The sleek speakeasy enjoys a certain degree of anonymity, probably by design. Getting there entailed plinko-ing past the tourists and mariachis who revel in Jardín plaza during waking hours (and usually beyond). Down a small street a nondescript doorway opened to reveal a courtyard, housing galleries and boutiques along its edges. This was the Dôce 18 Concept House, a multi-use property faithfully restored to capture its 18th century origins — complete with walls of tattered plaster.

Casa Dragones
Courtesy of Casa Dragones

Even after I ambled through this artsy layer, it still wasn't obvious where to find the tequila. There was a traditional watering hole at the center of the indoor square, so I suspected that wasn't the tasting room I was looking for. That honor belonged to an extended cubby burrowed into the back corner of the property. Through its sliding glass door I could see a friendly face beckoning from behind the bar. This was hardly just any bartender. The visage belonged to Bertha González Nieves, the co-founder and CEO of Casa Dragones.

"We opened the Tasting Room in 2016 to showcase our love of — and commitment to — Mexican craftsmanship," she said, while filling a tulip glass with her blanco tequila. "The space we chose is extremely tiny. It only seats about five to six people. This makes it very private and personal and encourages questions and conversation. To this date, as far as we know, there is no smaller tequila bar in the world."

And there probably is no other as thematically intricate. The shape of the room is contoured to mimic the bottle design. The bar and shelving is clad in copper to evoke the stills. While admiring the crisp, earthy elements of my initial pour, I could see tiles of finely fashioned obsidian woven into the walls and ceiling. "Our dear friend and designer Gloria Cortina lent her expertise there," explained González Nieves. "We wanted to represent the terroir of tequila by utilizing the iconic Mexican volcanic stone that's found in the agave fields."

The soundtrack of the room echoes more of the same — literally. "You're hearing sounds of the jimadors slicing through the giant leaves of agave with their coas [blades]," González Nieves told me. "We designed the sound to transport you to our agave fields before you begin your tasting."

Casa Dragones
Courtesy of Casa Dragones

It's actually a portal 200 miles westward into the heart of Jalisco — the epicenter of tequila production and the state from which Casa Dragones sources its tequila. In fact, here in San Miguel you can't distill agave and actually call it tequila. Nevertheless, the brand makes perfect sense in its spiritual home. This is a town that has enticed artists for generations.

"Since we opened, we have hosted truly incredible talent for our residencies including Jim Meehan, Yana Volfson, José Luis Leon, Ulysses Vidal, Adam Baca … " González Nieves continued rattling off some of the biggest names in modern mixology as I sipped the vanilla-laden Añejo Barrel Blend. "They're always surprised and excited by the experience of being behind this bar and creating a ceremony of taste for our guests. We love being part of the fabric of San Miguel de Allende."

They're even a part of its color, too. Right up the road from here is La Casa Dragones — the brand's very own luxury boutique hotel, which reopens this fall after several years of renovation. My host showed me a picture of the refurbished digs. It's easily recognized by its fresh turquoise facade; the exact same hue which characterizes the packaging of the Joven Sipping Tequila directly in front of my face. No detail is too small, I thought. Which is a fitting realization when sitting in the world's tiniest tequila bar.

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