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Pork rinds now, shawarma later at Bakbuk

Tamarind, cucumber, and jamaica martinis as truth serum.
Tamarind, cucumber, and jamaica martinis as truth serum.
Place

Bakbuk

8323 Calle Sexta, Tijuana, BC

When it comes to nightlife, Tijuana’s Sexta has something for everyone — time-honored cantinas, craft-beer cinema bars, kitschy mezcalerías, jazz joints, after-hour dance clubs, ’til-dawn punk dives, and old-timey cumbia halls. Now, Bakbuk is bringing a craft-cocktail lounge to the block.

Their porch offers a rare street-side view of wild-weekend Sixth with the iconic Dandy del Sur cantina glowing across the avenue. Stepping in, hundreds of brown and green beer bottles dangle from the ceiling. Behind the bar, illuminated bottles explode in starry formations, hinting at an old Vegas disco engaged in heavy petting with an underground Detroit warehouse party. Settling into a stool, you notice the miniature chandeliers made from clusters of liquor shooters and, in the back of the bar, Hebrew writing covering one wall.

It all makes sense when co-owner Daniel Huerta explains that bakbuk is Hebrew for — you guessed it — bottle. The name and interior design (actualized by multimedia artist Alejandro Zacharias) are a tribute to Huerta’s cousin and co-owner Julian Plascencia’s son, Paz, who Plascencia recently had with his Israeli wife.

One block of Hebrew text reads, “When liquor enters your mouth, the truth comes out,” Huerta explains, and I test the theory with an assortment of martinis prepared alternately with sweet and tart tamarind, fresh juiced cucumber, and jamaica, from which you can eat candied hibiscus flowers when the sauce runs low.

Bartender Güero offers samples of his house sangrita before pouring a Vampiro — a clay jar of white tequila, sangrita (a spiced tomato-based mixer), and orange juice rimmed with chamoy and Tajin. Another innovation for the unconventional drinker is the Caguavaso, which chops the classic 32-ounce caguama bottle down to a cylindrical draft beer glass.

For now, bags of Lourdes’s pork rinds make up the whole of the menu. But, in another nod to the Fertile Crescent, Huerta and Plascencia (whose family has a hand in landmark eateries such as Caesar’s, Giuseppi’s, and Romesco) have plans to install a shawarma and kebab window on the patio, where the ancestor of the al pastor taco, the taco árabe, will be served in pita bread.

Beyond the booze, keep an eye out for regular events organized by Karlo Valle of San Diego’s Siesta Records. Valle has been in the game for nearly two decades and now picks fellow selectors of house, minimal techno, and jazz to set the vibe most weekends.

Prices: Cocktails $4.25; drafts $1.50, caguavasos $3

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 2pm-2am

Capacity: About 50

Food: Pork rinds now, shawarma later

Cards: Sí

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Tamarind, cucumber, and jamaica martinis as truth serum.
Tamarind, cucumber, and jamaica martinis as truth serum.
Place

Bakbuk

8323 Calle Sexta, Tijuana, BC

When it comes to nightlife, Tijuana’s Sexta has something for everyone — time-honored cantinas, craft-beer cinema bars, kitschy mezcalerías, jazz joints, after-hour dance clubs, ’til-dawn punk dives, and old-timey cumbia halls. Now, Bakbuk is bringing a craft-cocktail lounge to the block.

Their porch offers a rare street-side view of wild-weekend Sixth with the iconic Dandy del Sur cantina glowing across the avenue. Stepping in, hundreds of brown and green beer bottles dangle from the ceiling. Behind the bar, illuminated bottles explode in starry formations, hinting at an old Vegas disco engaged in heavy petting with an underground Detroit warehouse party. Settling into a stool, you notice the miniature chandeliers made from clusters of liquor shooters and, in the back of the bar, Hebrew writing covering one wall.

It all makes sense when co-owner Daniel Huerta explains that bakbuk is Hebrew for — you guessed it — bottle. The name and interior design (actualized by multimedia artist Alejandro Zacharias) are a tribute to Huerta’s cousin and co-owner Julian Plascencia’s son, Paz, who Plascencia recently had with his Israeli wife.

One block of Hebrew text reads, “When liquor enters your mouth, the truth comes out,” Huerta explains, and I test the theory with an assortment of martinis prepared alternately with sweet and tart tamarind, fresh juiced cucumber, and jamaica, from which you can eat candied hibiscus flowers when the sauce runs low.

Bartender Güero offers samples of his house sangrita before pouring a Vampiro — a clay jar of white tequila, sangrita (a spiced tomato-based mixer), and orange juice rimmed with chamoy and Tajin. Another innovation for the unconventional drinker is the Caguavaso, which chops the classic 32-ounce caguama bottle down to a cylindrical draft beer glass.

For now, bags of Lourdes’s pork rinds make up the whole of the menu. But, in another nod to the Fertile Crescent, Huerta and Plascencia (whose family has a hand in landmark eateries such as Caesar’s, Giuseppi’s, and Romesco) have plans to install a shawarma and kebab window on the patio, where the ancestor of the al pastor taco, the taco árabe, will be served in pita bread.

Beyond the booze, keep an eye out for regular events organized by Karlo Valle of San Diego’s Siesta Records. Valle has been in the game for nearly two decades and now picks fellow selectors of house, minimal techno, and jazz to set the vibe most weekends.

Prices: Cocktails $4.25; drafts $1.50, caguavasos $3

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 2pm-2am

Capacity: About 50

Food: Pork rinds now, shawarma later

Cards: Sí

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