404 Sixth Ave, 212-677-6097
Rating:L L L L L
A few months ago, the blogs were buzzing about a soon-to-open speakeasy-style bar. There was a lot of hope and a lot of hype: the only info leaked was that it would be above a taco restaurant in the West Village. Well, it’s here. It’s Su Casa. It’s a total disappointment.
The place looks like it has promise when you arrive. Up a flight of votive-lit stairs from the Qdoba on Sixth Avenue, the low-lit space has oxblood-red walls, santo candles burning in every corner, and framed black-and-white portraits of men wearing sombreros and looking serious. Lucha libre fight posters and old Mexican gossip pages line the stairway to the bathroom. The bar is not without style. Substance, though, it’s not big on.
After a low-key happy hour, the place becomes a hotbed of douchebag activity around 10 pm. Guys with crisp shirts and hair and girls with no irony to their sexiness infest the place, shouldering people off their bar stools to more effectively bark orders at the bar staff. The staff itself is a mix of charming nice guys and oily creeps. The model/med student bartender and the Uzbek-Russian bar back from Jersey are the kind of guys you want to invite to your house party. The manager is the kind of guy who leers at you when the place is empty and forces you off your chair when it gets a little crowded.
The bar specializes in Mexican-themed cocktails like the El Diablo, made with habanero peppers, hot sauce, fresh lime and anejo tequila (all cocktails, $14). Most are passable but by no means mixologist-level, and some are pretty dismal. The Su Casa Paloma combines (sometimes) fresh-made grapefruit soda, reposada tequila, and fresh lime. It’s got light hints of citrus and sweetness, but mostly you taste the big, smoky reposada. It could benefit from a large, single ice cube—the high-octane alcohol sends ice chips to their watery end almost instantly. El Pepino is Hendricks gin, muddled cucumber and ginger liquor. It’s hard to go wrong with Hendricks, and this drink is lovely, but the ginger flavor is all but imperceptible. A Herradura and Stormy promised more ginger bite but didn’t deliver, and the Satan’s Horse (anejo and raspberry liquor, fresh ginger and Red Bull) tastes like a pint glass of Red Bull. Tequilas range from $8-$15 a shot, a Bud is $7, and a Negro Modelo is $8. You can also get Mexican bar food for an incredible markup: $15 for a quesadilla sampler, $8 for guacamole. Hasta la vista, Su Casa. And by “la vista” I mean never, ever again.