Baja Cafe

201 NW First Ave., Boca Raton, 561-394-5449

I'm usually a beer drinker. I'll drink Belgian imports in places where I've got to put on one of those fancy shirts with buttons, or I'll chug Buds elbow to elbow with seedy guys at dives. Either way, a good time will be had. It's a rare occasion when I point at a bottle of hard liquor and ask for a shot. The heavy stuff tears up my stomach, but some Mayan god declared mercy on me and allowed my system to process the drink everyone loves to hate, tequila. When I decide enough is enough and I need to do some serious tequila drinking, I want it to be as authentic as possible, and as weird as it is, the best place for that is in Boca. Hidden away in a mini-industrial section behind the Boca Police Department is a brightly painted tin shack called the Baja Cafe. Pass by the toilet filled with sand and cigarette butts and through the brightly painted tin front door and you wind up thousands of miles away in a Tijuana bar. Inside, it looks like an elementary-school class went insane with finger paints and scrawled jokes and names of Mexican cities all over the place in primary colors. Like everything else in Boca, it seems real at first, but the air conditioning and high-quality food spoil the illusion. When the first train goes barreling by, 20 feet from the patio, and you hear the sirens in the background, it all comes together and you forget you're drinking $50 worth of tequila a few blocks from Mizner Park.

 
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