El Bandito


El Bandito is a fun, hidden, pop up tequila and mezcal bar in Shoreditch.

El Bandito is located in the basement of the beautiful Drunken Monkey dim sum restaurant and cocktail bar on Shoreditch High Street.

El Bandito’s original and older brother is in Liverpool, and is also an underground tequila and mescal ba. El Bandito was started by John Ennis and Matt Farrell who own 6 Liverpool based bars.

There is a giant cactus in the window to show there is a hint of Mexico, hidden in amongst this dim-sum restaurant. Head towards the back of the Drunken Monkey and take the door that leads down to the basement, look out for the Mezcal City neon sign.  Head down the stairs and  you will find a small, fun, Mexican themed bar that has a 40 person capacity.

El Bandito is a perfect place to bring friends, or a date, as there’s a nice atmosphere and the cocktails are great.

We tried the spicy El Diablo and a TNT, which is large and refreshing. In fact, we only popped in for one but  enjoyed our drinks so much we ended up staying for another. My friend claimed that she didn’t like tequila, as it has a reputation for being a shot that’s forced on you during a night out, and was pleasantly surprised to how delicious our cocktails were.

The interior is filled with everything you’d expect in a Mexican themed bar with cactus, bright patterns and tiles but in a dimly lit basement with Mexican music playing. El Bandito is not an assault on the senses, like many Mexican themed bars, but manages a balance between classy and fun.  You can drink cocktails including frozen margaritas and even try flights of tequila.

El Bandito has 50 tequilas on offer and 25 different types of mezcal, some of these brands are not available anywhere else in the U.K. I had no idea what the difference between tequila and a mezcal is, so I did a little research.

Tequila, is apparently a type of mezcal but there are different production techniques used and different agaves. Tequila is made from a single type of agave and can only be produced in Jalisco and four other small areas. Mezcal can be produced in more states and using any of the 28 varieties of agave.


I loved El Bandito’s cocktails and atmosphere. The fact it is a small bar, hidden and is around for a limited time, makes it feel like an exciting place to visit. Trust me, tequila (and mescal) does make you happy indeed.

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