Mezcal Tasting Room & Restaurant Coming To San Diego's Old Town | Tahona Will Feature Oaxacan Cuisine

September 3, 2018

San Diego will receive a mezcal infusion with the arrival of Tahona, an Oaxacan-inspired restaurant and bar opening as early as this fall next door to the historic Cemetery of El Campo Santo in Old Town.

Plans for Tahona include one of the country’s few proper mezcal tasting rooms, a full-service restaurant serving modern Mexican cuisine with Oaxacan influence, onsite events including art and spoken word nights and mezcal-centric group trips to Mexico’s Baja and Oaxaca regions - and rumor has it, a speakeasy by end of year.

Tahona is founded by a collection of mezcal enthusiasts including Amar Harrag, a native of Antibes in the South of France and a graduate of the University of San Diego. Harrag’s experience includes co-owning four locations of Matisse Bistro in San Diego and Irvine and running real estate brokerage Allied Green Realty. Harrag is the founder of the San Diego chapter of Corazon de Vida and sits on the board of directors for Create Purpose, non-profits aiding orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico.

Additional partners include beverage directors Carlo Bracci Devoti and Blair Marano - the latter Vice President of the United States Bartenders Guild - whose experiences span from London to San Francisco and will result in a cocktail program with sophisticated international flair. Leading Tahona’s mezcal tastings and events will be San Francisco’s Steven Sadri, a mezcal aficionado who has visited countless villages in Oaxaca during the past decade while researching mezcal. Emily Thompson of San Francisco will oversee the front of house, having previously managed Bay Area hotspots Nopalito and Cala. Tahona has been in the works since January 2018.

"My initial intention was to open a proper mezcal tasting room like I experienced in Oaxaca," said Tahona co-owner Amar Harrag. "Despite becoming a mainstream drink, there is little information out there about sustainability issues that surround mezcal. Our goal is to educate and give reverence to the complexity and beauty of the Mexican culture through its most iconic beverage and become an epicenter of mezcal culture in San Diego."

The 2,000 square foot space will seat up to 52 guests and is designed by JG Color Studios, a former finalist on the nationally-aired HGTV show Design Star. Tahona’s atmosphere will feature natural hues and textures throughout, imbueing a refined rustic appearance with authentic Oaxacan elements custom made for Tahona. Through oversized Spanish-style archways guests will access the tasting room while appreciating details such as hand painted tiles, rope seats from Mexico and massive rattan lights hanging overhead. Vintage furniture curated by Tahona’s founders and hand troweled clay walls will round out a wanderlust-inspired experience.

Within the space Tahona will host events with the intent of building a culture of mezcal in San Diego, to include tasting events, brand presentations, organized trips to Baja and Oaxaca, mezcal meditations, paint nights, spoken words nights and more. In time, Tahona intends to offer a mezcal club.

Among the future location’s drink offerings will be more than 120 varieties of mezcal from brands including Mexico’s Casta Tribal and Mezcal Animas, alongside creative and classic cocktails crafted by in-house mixologists. The menu will reflect modern Mexican cuisine with Oaxacan flair.

Tahona will be located at 2414 San Diego Avenue. For more information, visit