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Published April 30, 2012

Come One, Comal
A Sexy New Cantina in Berkeley

You’ve met Tequila.

Beautiful. Delicious. Sometimes kind of a bad influence.

Well, it’s time you met someone new: Tequila’s wilder, borderline illegal cousin. Goes by the name Bacanora.

And as with any illicit substance, you’re getting it from the old manager for Phish...

Welcome to Comal, the only place in the entire state to get bacanora, opening Friday in (where else) Berkeley.

First, some background. The distilling of this stuff has been legal in Mexico since 1992, but only now did someone here get around to serving it. (Apparently, everyone was too busy trying on and then regretting Hammer pants.) The taste: earthier than tequila, more herbaceous than mezcal and with a strong top nose of danger.

Where it’ll all go down: a concrete-walled space that just so happens to be owned by the former manager of Phish. (Which would explain the state-of-the-art sound system and the noise-dampeners disguised as paintings.)

To pair with your bacanora: tlayuda, a Mexican take on pizza, served up by a former Delfina chef. Instead of dough: tortillas. Instead of tomato sauce: bean paste. Instead of mozzarella and pepperoni: shrimp, avocado and sometimes carnitas.

In a few weeks, the outdoor bar and patio will open, decked out with industrial heat lamps, a concrete fire pit and lots of bamboo.

You never drink bacanora without bamboo.
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