Tahona tasting room partners
Tahona partners Amar Harrag (left), Blair Marano, Carlo Bracci Devoti and Steven Sadri at the tasting room site.

A mezcal tasting room and restaurant inspired by the Oaxaca tradition is coming San Diego’s historic Old Town neighborhood this fall.

Mezcal is a strong alcoholic drink made from agave like the better-known tequila. It has a smoky flavor and is generally consumed straight.

Tahona is set to open early in the fall next to the Cemetery of El Campo Santo. The 2,000-square-foot venue will seat 52 guests and feature rustic Oaxacan design and vintage furniture. More than 120 varieties of mezal will be offered.

The venture is the work of  four mezcal enthusiasts including Amar Harrag, co-owner of Matisse Bistro, along with Carlo Bracci Devoti, Blair Marano and Steven Sadri.

“My initial intention was to open a proper mezcal tasting room like I experienced in Oaxaca. Despite becoming a mainstream drink, there is little information out there about sustainability issues that surround mezcal,” said Harrag. “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 Tahona partners plan to host events with the intent of building a mezcal culture in San Diego, including brand presentations, meditations, spoken words nights and organized trips to Baja and Oaxaca.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.