Surrounded by weathered picnic tables, dilapidated metal chairs, and graffitied concrete slabs, the bohemian vibe of Viva Tacoland (a reincarnation of the legendary punk venue) makes itself immediately apparent.
The ground is covered in gravel and the patrons in tattoos, and wherever you look there is something to catch your eye. Where the original “I Love
You Tacos” tag once rested, a holy site that at one time attracted hordes of pious Instagram pilgrims, a cartoonish Spurs Coyote now stands. Inside the cinderblock border of the bar, a giant oak tree stands lined in white Christmas lights, surrounded by cornhole ramps and oversized Jenga blocks waiting for drinks to knock over.
In the southernmost corner of the outdoor area, a stage welcomes musicians, poets, and occasionally videogame fanatics. Next to it stands a shed that doubles as a bar and kitchen, the building from which the bar’s food emerges.
Though occasionally host to a food trailer, the bar’s best fare is its own. Choose between five selections of mini tacos, ranging from $8 to $9.50 for three, and make sure to pair your meal with their chips and guacamole ($6.00). Though their pollo pibil may be pricy at $8.50, these tacos are worth it. Braised achiote-laced chicken, shredded and couched in corn tortillas alongside queso fresco, cilantro, raw tomatillo salsa, and lime, will transport you from the Pearl straight to the streets of D.F. Their thick, copper tortilla chips and luscious, creamy guacamole are the perfect accompaniment, though all the sides are big enough to share.
Come between 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday for Happy Hour and you’ll find cheap drinks to wash down your succulent tacos. With $1 off draft beer, $1 off wine, $5 wells, and $5 margaritas, every option is in play. Do you go with one of the bar’s more than 30 draft beers, such as locals like Alamo, Busted Sandal, Freetail, and Branchline? Or do you, like me, jump at the mere mention of a strong, fresh $5 marg on a hot day?