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www.mezcalerialasflores.com

With the curtains drawn, lights turned down and votive candles lit, just before opening at 5 p.m., the turquoise walls of Mezcaleria Las Flores in Logan Square were softened and the ambiance was set.

Not too long after, patrons started wandering in. One group in full Blackhawks gear posted up at the bar and soon were earnestly asking questions about the menu. On the other side, a couple who seemed to know what they were doing ordered. Next to them, an elderly gentleman came looking to order soup and was soon brought a steaming bowl from Johnny’s Grill next door.

Mazcaleria-25Whether you’ve been enjoying mezcal for years or your knowledge based around agave spirits begins with Jose and ends with Cuervo, Mezcaleria Las Flores in Logan Square is a cocktail bar where all can convene happily, experienced or not.

Mazcaleria-15.Mezcaleria Las Flores creator and owner Jay Schroeder definitely falls in the experienced category, most recently being in charge of the drink program for Rick Bayless’ restaurants. Schroeder’s time at Mercadito before that gave him the opportunity to work exclusively with agave spirits, and his experience there was where he cemented his passion for mezcal, but he attributes the two programs as an even split of influence in what he is doing now.

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In creating the cocktail menu, he approached it with a respect and knowledge of Mexican culture gleaned from extensive research and travel, and the bar itself is full of authentic touches. The menu was a product of “total reverse engineering,” according to Schroeder, with an emphasis on the visual presentation. One cocktail is wrapped in a banana leaf, another is served in clay pots that Schroeder brought back for Oaxaca himself.  

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“I want people to be excited about their drink before they ever taste it. I want them to already like it before they have it. I want to win that psychological battle up front, and then we’re able to, I think, just show people how to have a good time with these things,” Schroeder said.

Mazcaleria-10And it seems like people are excited about it. With the biggest problem so far being it’s popularity from the get-go, Schroeder said they have been “crushingly busy.”

Mazcaleria-12.Besides the cocktail presentation, it doesn’t hurt that the drinks taste great too, the staff is friendly and there is a penchant for ‘90s R&B to play on the soundtrack.

Mazcaleria-8.Basedworld Paradise, made with Mayalen Wild Cupreata mezcal and Victoria beer with pineapple, lemongrass, Dolin Genepy, fresh lime and served in a Victoria beer bottle with a rim of chile Tajin, is as refreshing as Lil B’s freestyles. It’s not the only cocktail with a hip-hop reference; there’s Unknown Death and Shook Ones Pt 1. All of the names are highly entertaining, and that’s just another part of what Schroeder wanted MLF to encapsulate.

Mazcaleria-19.“Yes, it’s a deep dive into my subconscious, but at the same time, one of the cornerstones of the concept here is that I want it to be fun, no matter what. Everything about it. I want it to be light, I want it to be chill, I want people to feel comfortable here,” Schroeder said.

Mazcaleria-24.Mezcaleria Las Flores seems to be executing just that.

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www.mezcalerialasflores.com

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