As the living embodiment of “British man”, there is nothing I love more than grabbing a pint, or eight, in a British pub, so you can imagine my dismay when I heard that one of my favourites, the OXO in Meieki, was closing down. However, that dismay was flipped, turned upside down when I discovered that it was to reopen as a bar serving one of my favourite cuisines. I knew that, as fast as my British legs could carry me, I had to get down to Bar Mexigan.
Stepping through the familiar doors I was totally blown away by the transformation from British pub to nu-Mexican bar. Gone are the heavy woods and dark blues, and instead it’s like, BLAM! Immediately you are struck by the post-modern dayglo chandeliers and shocking neons. It gives the décor an air of irony and innocence that kind of tells you ‘you want a nice drink and a bite? That’s cool. But, if you want to party, if you want to dance, we are sooo down for that.’
Having perused the drinks menu, It’s not surprising that people are dancing. For a start, every day until 7pm it’s ‘Amigo Hour’ during which selected cocktails are between ¥295 and ¥215. As if that wasn’t good enough, at all other times there are special discounts, with Japanese women and foreign men getting five per cent off of any order, and women from overseas getting a whopping ten per cent off!
Now, far be it from me to tell another person how to take advantage of their discounts, but you can’t go wrong with one of their famous margaritas if you want to stay Mexican. However I’d have to go for one of their eight mojitos, all of which are made in the traditional way, by hand, with fresh mint and limes. If neither of these float your boat the menu is packed with other drinks, yet should nothing take your fancy, just tell the English speaking bar staff – all cocktail connoisseurs – what you want, and they will happily mix you a drink to perfection. The only restriction on what you can order is your imagination, and whether they have the ingredients on hand. Mind you, if you order something with tequila, that shouldn’t be a problem, as they claim to have the biggest tequila selection in the city, with over 50 different bottles of the stuff. If that doesn’t get you dancing, I don’t know what will.
As well as great drinks, it’s Bar Mexigan’s food too that brings all the chicos to la yarda, their tacos in particular. Now, some Mexican places might have a handful of tacos on their menu, and that’s fine, I suppose. But if you want real choice, it’s got to be Bar Mexigan where you can mix-and-match with two types of tortilla, four kinds of filling, and a further four choices of salsa, creating an astonishing 32 combinations. My choice would probably be the corn tortilla with original ground meat topped with hot salsa. But then again the flour tortilla with seafood and garlic mayonnaise is pretty special. Or actually the corn with grilled beef and chili con carne, or… Is there such a thing as too much choice? Well, one choice with which you can’t go wrong is the nachos. The Chili Cheese Nachos are particularly popular, but I’m more tempted by Fresh Guacamole Nachos, particularly as the guacamole is made to order, meaning it is really, well, fresh. Not just a clever name.
Okay, so far, so “Mexican restaurant,” right? Well there is something that really sets Bar Mexigan apart from the other great restaurants in the city, and that’s the live events. Three Fridays a month they open up their stage for performers to entertain you. The first Friday of the month sees Nagoya’s premier belly dancer Luna shaking her stuff, every second Friday sees the incredible pole dancing talents of Kumi, and every third Friday is live music which has already seen NAGMAG favourite Xandra Corpora on stage, and this month will feature singer songwriter Daiki Yamaguchi. If you can’t make it down for Fridays, then you should really head for Saturdays which sees regular OXO favourite DJ TA spinning anything from house to hip hop to sing-along pop.
So, what’s left to say? Surely the choice is obvious. Get out there, grab some mates, choose a load of tacos and a bunch of drinks, and whether it’s an event night, or a school night, go have some great food, a tonne of fun, and if the mood takes you, have yourselves a party!