Casita is one of my favourite bars of all time, possibly the favourite but I feel like it would be necessary to recall every single bar before making that affirmation and let’s face it that would be easier if they didn’t all serve alcohol. There are many, many reasons why I love it but I will have to focus on just a few or we would be here all day. But if I only had to give one reason it would be tequila con verdita (technically two reasons but they go hand in hand surely).
Like any good love story this one started with an interesting first meet. I was with some friends and we had a plan to cover a number of different drinking establishments in the area. A mini pub crawl of sorts (but not just pubs). So the itinerary was set and we visited a couple of places, probably had some sort of herbal tea who can remember, and then as a sidestep out of the plans someone suggested why don’t we add in Casita. So as I was a passive attendee on this route (there was plans for me to arrange one in my area but it never happened, as one of this select crew is now living abroad I think I am off the hook) I didn’t question but just followed.
My crush started the moment we arrived outside as in an area of places that can be quite trendy I could see a really friendly, unassuming looking place which immediately made me feel welcome. Casita is not the largest of spaces, which to me only serves to heighten it’s charm as it doesn’t take long to feel part of the family, and with the most consistently friendly and amazing people behind the bar it doesn’t matter when you go this is always the case. So first look = crush, then I entered and was immediately infatuated by what I found. The eclectic decor, great and varied music, the range of interesting spirits, the availability of um bongo- the list goes on. I am aware that as I write this there is a refurb going on which I won’t get to see til I return from holiday however I have no doubt it will be the same casita, just a little shinier. These guys have great taste.
What really turned the lust into love however was the aforementioned tequila con verdita. Now when your friend who hates tequila, and I mean someone who avoids it all costs, suggests we have tequila then I’m sure we can all agree there is no option but to agree. And so suddenly 2 shot glasses for each of us appeared from nowhere and I was told the correct order was tequila and then verdita. Now although I am fluent in Spanish I don’t think you need to be to know that verdita means green and so I was a little apprehensive about what it may be. But I was hooked from the first taste, it is a winning combination. For me tequila can often be hit or miss but of the many, many friends I have introduced to Casita not one of them have found the tequila here to be a miss. (Which is lucky as if a friend forced me to chose between them I’m not sure I am confident about who I would pick, I mean friends come and go but Casita is for life). Now the truth is that what is in the verdita is not strictly a secret – I have known it to be shared mad on such occasions I have no recourse but to stick my fingers in my ears and loudly sing about how I am not listening. I personally really don’t want to know, the mystery is part of the attraction. I know of one friend who got told the ingredients and tried to make it at home and it just wasn’t the same. And I think that is probably because there is something special that happens when it is made in the bar, that can’t be replicated. So instead of telling you what it is made of I’m just going to tell you that it tastes great, is the perfect pairing with the tequila and needs to be tasted to really get it.
Over time I have introduced a lot of friends, including most of the bunch, to Casita. And it has become a firm favourite. There are great cocktails on the menu and consistently everyone working there knows their stuff and so anyone who wants something different can usually just ask and get a bespoke and tasty offering. But really my advice would be to go green. I even once had an amazing green cocktail when the Casita 2 pop up was happening.
The first time I took Andrew there there was a group of us who had planned to be somewhere else nearby and had a terrible experience there, so bad that we needed an emergency alternative venue. And so I suggested Casita. I could see that he wasn’t sure when we walked in, maybe because we were enough people to take over half of the space however he was won over by the verdita and then when he found out that he had been served by gin monkey herself I could see that he had also become a Casita obsessive. The funniest moment was probably when he ordered a round of shots and I heard him say huh green, no I think we are ok. I turned and did a slow motion nooooooooo as I physically tried to get there in time for there to be green all round. Luckily my run (to put this wild exaggeration into context as I mentioned it’s not huge, and the music is played at a good volume so it means you can be heard well anyway) led to me intervening just in time and saving the day. If there was a category for this in the olympics I would definitely be a contender for the gold.
Since then I have introduced many others to Casita, partly to share the love but mostly so that if I have plans with them they will be amenable to a diversion, and know that once there we are usually there for the night. Because who wants to miss hearing million dollars?
Casita I love you, I hope this is not unrequited but if it is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’ll keep going in the vain hope that you will change. Will, Emma and the rest of the crew I apologise on behalf of the Boozy Bunch for some of our post brunch visits, and for at least once drinking you out of tequila. It’s only because we love you though, and feel like family can forgive all??
5A Ravey Street, EC2A 4QW