Our dream for Brooklyn is to have a taco truck on every corner, and perhaps, covert agave bars tucked behind various storefronts too.
Felipe Mendez has more than done his part regarding our first mission—having launched Williamsburg’s worshiped La Superior in 2008, followed by Cerveceria Havemeyer in 2013. And he’s well on his way to helping us realize the second with La Milagrosa (The Miraculous): two distinct concepts occupying one clandestine space.
Situated directly next door to his ceviche spot (itself largely unmarked, save for “Bernie 2016” posters), you’re likely not to notice it at all, unless your heart is set on doing a load of laundry. Signage notwithstanding, the previous tenant’s washing machines and soap dispensers have been replaced with shelves of Abuelita hot chocolate, Tajin seasoning, chamoy candy and Crujitos chips, and crates of shishito peppers, cambray onions, avocados and cilantro.
In short, it’s the upscale bodega that Mendez has long imagined opening; supplementing hard-to-find Mexican products with housemade items from La Superior (look for a signature line of chorizo, salsas and moles). You’ll also find fresh juices—such as mango, guava, watermelon and prickly pear—which staff occasionally shuttles through an innocuous freezer door.
A corded red phone affixed directly next to it is the only hint—this is, in fact, the portal to Mendez’ call-in only agave bar. And advance reservations—not to mention knowledge of its very existence—are strictly required, in order to access “New Fashioneds” made with Xicaru silver mezcal, fruit-infused margaritas, catch-of-the-day ceviches, and fiery agua chile featuring cucumber, red onion and shrimp.
Yet this is still only part of the draw—also billed as a “listening room,” the speakeasy showcases Mendez’s other lifelong passion: music. A drum player, bass player and avid collector (having amassed over 15,000 records from the age of 15), he designed and built the bunker with optimal acoustics in mind, inserting floor-to-ceiling wood paneling to best absorb the music, which plays from a top-of-the-line, high fidelity sound system boasting a McIntosh receiver and Klipsch speakers. And when DJ’s or performers aren’t in residence, patrons can request coins from the bartender in order to operate a vintage jukebox, stocked with a sizable selection of classic 45’s.
How miraculous Brooklyn is, settled by residents intent on disseminating culture, art and entertainment in even the unlikeliest of places.
149 Havemeyer St., 718-599-1499
Photos by Max Branigan