New street-fusion restaurant boasts an inventive bar | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

New street-fusion restaurant boasts an inventive bar

At Downtown's täkō, the cocktail program is made to complement the food

No more waiting for Taco Tuesdays: Now it can be täkō time all the time, with the much-anticipated opening of Downtown's täkō. Joining the ranks of Butcher and the Rye and Meat & Potatoes, täkō is the new Latin- and Asian-influenced street-fusion venture from partners Tolga Sevdik and chef Richard DeShantz. Maggie Meskey, a driving force of Pittsburgh's cocktail renaissance, takes the helm as bar manager.

The bar's vibe is pirate ship meets dancehall. Bike-chain chandeliers throw rosy light on a mural of a giant octopus clutching a half-naked woman in one tentacle. A reproduction of Warhol's "The Last Supper" oversees high-top booths lining the wall as bartenders flow around each other like they've worked together for years. About half the size of neighboring Butcher and the Rye, with which it shares an inside door, it's a cozy, intimate party, with a DJ booth in the corner.

The drink list is equally inviting. Some 300 tequilas, 60 mezcals and 50 rums, handpicked by Meskey and Sevdik, make the drinker's possibilities endless. "The things we really enjoy are on the house drink list, and the menu is only going to grow," says Meskey. The cocktail program is tailor-made for DeShantz's food, carefully constructed to lend harmony to the flavors and to highlight the agave spirits at the heart of many of the drinks. Unique Mexican sodas, house-made syrups and a concise but varied wine and beer list fill out the libations. So, grab a beer with your taco, or for a herbaceous example of tequila's potential, try an Aloe & Elderflower, a floral and cooling drink that's sure to perk anyone up on a summer night.

Hours are currently Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m. Check back for extended hours as the team gets into the groove. Make a reservation to ensure you get a seat, and introduce yourself to your bartender.

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