It’s time to break out those weathered maps of NYC you have stashed away from your first few months living here: your hunt for Pulqueria will test just how well you navigate the winding streets of Chinatown. The Tierney siblings’ latest Doyers Street venture does offer one convenient point of reference: it’s tucked away just two doors down from their famed cocktail chemistry lab, Apotheke.
A secret Aztec subterranean den that provides a double dose of atmosphere, both bar and restaurant, Pulqueria dishes out authentic Mexican cuisine with unique milky-white Pulque cocktails that pay homage to the restaurant’s Yucatan origins. (Pulque, for the uninitiated, is the indigenous cousin of tequila and mezcal: produced from fermented agave sap. An Aztec myth has it that pulque was discovered by the god Tlacuache, who so enjoyed it that he became unable to carve a straight river—and that’s why streams meander.) Descending the staircase into an abandoned Vietnamese eatery is a uniquely New York experience in cultural vertigo. To the left, a sprawling bar and cozy lounge tables are ideal for sipping agave and watermelon-infused traditional pulque over late-night live music, while to the right, a candlelit dining room featuring a woven canopy ceiling, copper-topped tables, and vibrant feathered light fixtures. From chef Nacxitl Gaxiola, the menu is comprised of genuine Mexican fare with entrée standouts including the fish tacos and chicken enchiladas verdes and the seasonal pumpkin seed and sundried tomato dip appetizer. With Mexican flare, inspired design flourishes, and fantastic service, Pulqueria will be on every New Yorker’s exotic getaway list for winter—only a hop, skip, and a cab away to Chinatown.