Spirit Cruises 2019 Leaderboard

Time for Tequila: La Calaca Feliz Opens in Fairmount

Partners Brian Sirhal and Tim Spinner have been friends since high school, but it was working together at Jose Garces’ West Philly Distrito that gave them the incentive to branch out on their own. In January of 2010, the pair opened Fort Washington’s Cantina Feliz, a short regional rail ride west of the city. Now, almost exactly one year later, they’ve launched their second offering.

“We always knew we wanted to open in the city proper,” Sirhal told us, “we just didn’t expect it would be so soon after our first launch. Fairmount is our favorite neighborhood, and this space was just too good to pass up.”

The name La Calaca Feliz – it translates as “the happy skeleton” – might seem to be an oxymoron, but in Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a celebration of life. With tuquoise, fuchsia and violet walls, brightly colored murals by artist Alison Dilworth and a huge variety of tequilas, this is a perfect place for a south-of-the-border style party. Happy hour runs 5–7 PM on weekdays and from 10 PM–midnight Friday and Saturday nights, where $2 is knocked off the price of all drafts, margaritas, specialty cocktails and wines.

Nearly 50 different tequilas are the highlight of the beverage options, spanning blancos, reposados and anejos. Try them in one of several signature margaritas, starting at $7.50 for the house traditional and topping out at $15 for one that uses the high-end (and sublime) El Tesoro brand and Patron Citronage. Or sample several in a tequila flight, showcasing three different tastes of the agave spirit.

Specialty cocktails include creative combinations featuring house-infused spirits. The Scarlett Begonias mixes hibiscus-infused gin with combier, lime and bitters, the China Cat is a take on a capirinha using green tea-infused cachaca and lemon grass, and the King Bee sees Espolon tequila infused with chamomile and served with honey, lemon and basil (all $7–$9).

Also on the menu is that Mexican favorite, the Michelada beer cocktail, here made with Dos Equis Amber, lime and tomato juices and spices. You don’t have to wait for brunch to try the Morning Dew, which brings a shot of Espolon blanco backed up with a can of retro Mountain Dew (Vodka Red Bull, watch your back).

Mexi-brew standbys Tecate, Negra Modelo, Pacifico and Corona are available in cans and bottles, abetted by craft beers from around the U.S. on half a dozen taps. Wines hail from Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina, with five reds and five whites available by the glass, carafe or bottle, all very reasonably priced (starting at $7, $15 and $25, respectively, with no bottles over $32).

Chef Spinner’s menu holds a huge array of eats that will complement your libations well, from jazzed up standards like guacamole, tacos, enchiladas and fundido to more adventurous options like octopus skewers over potato puree, vegetable posole sparked with red chile and duck confit-stuffed poblano peppers with a walnut sauce. Small plates run $6–$15, and a few larger entrees are priced $22 and under.

The long bar at the front of the space has room for a dozen, and leads back to dining room seating for 60 more. Come springtime, a greenhouse patio out back will hold an additional 30 spots. La Calaca Feliz is currently open at 4 PM daily, weekend brunch is coming soon.

Photos by Danya Henninger

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Sixth Annual Philly Wine Week Kicks Off With Opening Corks Gala at XIX at the Bellevue, March 31

Sixth Annual Philly Wine Week Kicks Off With Opening Corks Gala at XIX at the Bellevue, March 31

Philly Wine Week, which is now in its sixth year, begins on Sunday, March 31 and ends on Sunday, April 7, and ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 18, 2019
Philadelphia's Top Irish Bars

Philadelphia's Top Irish Bars

Grab a perfectly poured pint of Guinness or sip on some Irish whiskey at Philadelphia's top Irish bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 13, 2019
SPONSORED
Philadelphia Distilling Has Released Vigo, Their First Amaro, and It's Available Now

Philadelphia Distilling Has Released Vigo, Their First Amaro, and It's Available Now

Philadelphia Distilling's newest product, Vigo Amaro, is now available on its own or in cocktails at the Fisht...read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 7, 2019
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2019 in Philadelphia

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day 2019 in Philadelphia

These are the best events and drink specials going on for St. Patrick's Day 2019 in Philadelphia....read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Mar 7, 2019
Craft Hall is Now Open on Delaware Avenue With Local Beer, Fresh Bread, a Playground, & More

Craft Hall is Now Open on Delaware Avenue With Local Beer, Fresh Bread, a Playground, & More

Craft Hall, the newest concept from FCM Hospitality, is now open at 901 N. Delaware Ave....read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 7, 2019
Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

Behind the Bar: Tory Pratt of Pratt Standard

In this edition of Behind the Bar, we chatted with Tory Pratt, the founder of Pratt Standard....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Mar 7, 2019
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day All Week with These High-End Irish Whiskey Specials, March 11-17

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day All Week with These High-End Irish Whiskey Specials, March 11-17

Get into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day with some high-end Irish whiskey specials running throughout the week...read more ›

by Drink Philly Mar 5, 2019
Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Whether it's for the holidays or you have a special birthday coming up, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to event spaces. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 26, 2018
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close