Nopalito, the Mexican-inspired spinoff of Divisadero's ever-popular Nopa, has almost everything its big sister has: a loyal following, tasty food, great reviews...but for the past year, only Nopa has had access to a full bar. Thanks to the ABC, however, Nopalito is no longer the Skipper to Nopa's Barbie: its full liquor offering began yesterday, and unsurprisingly for a Mexican joint, it's almost entirely focused on tequila. Nopa's renowned bartender Neyah White has curated a small but powerful menu of five tasty drinks, including the delicious Diablo ($9), a mix of tequila, ginger beer, and creme de cassis. Fans of Tommy's margaritas are also in for a happy surprise: White has secured the permission of Tommy's owner to serve the restaurant's signature margarita recipe, with your choice of tequila.
If you prefer your spirits straight, Nopalito has taken a unique approach to tequila shots, serving them in one-ounce pours so that agave aspirants can get to know their blancos, anejos, and reposados without breaking the bank (or a limb). White's also planning to stock Nopalito with one of the country's best selections of mezcal, even keeping ground agave worm (a traditional accompaniment) available behind the bar for the brave. If your tastes don't run to worms, try a mezcal shot with another classic pairing, chile salt and orange slices.
The one issue with Nopalito's bar is that there really isn't any bar to speak of; the "bar" seating overlooks the kitchen, so you won't be able to chat up your mixologist as they make a margarita. As at Nopa, however, you can count on well-educated servers to guide you through the mezcal and tequila selection to find the perfect pairing for your carnitas. Salud!