Cantina OK operator opens Sydney Tequila bar

Australia’s Mucho Hospitality Group, which operates Cantina OK, has opened a Tequila bar in Sydney called Centro 86.

Centro 86 is the latest Sydney-based site from Mucho Hospitality Group, which operates award-winning agave spirits venue Cantina OK, Tequila bar Tio’s Cerveceria and Martini-focused Bar Planet.

Located at 86-88 Pitt Street in Sydney’s central business district, the group describes Centro 86 as the ‘centre of its new Tequila universe’.

The late-night space pays homage to old classic cantinas in Mexico City and is open every day from 4pm to 2am. The venue is also home to two popcorn machines offering a ‘secret spice’ popcorn and three ice shavers.

Mucho Hospitality Group said it has been ‘perfecting the Margarita for over 15 years’ across its venues and hopes to serve millions more.

Centro 86 will allow the group to bring Margaritas to more people, with space for 110 guests. Its other venue in the centre of Sydney, Cantina OK, is a 20-seat bar.

The new venue will ‘stretch the perception of what a Margarita is’ by offering five different house Margaritas and allowing drinkers to create their own.

The bar will be home to 100 Tequilas that range from AU$13 to AU$180 per serve. It will also offer agave spirits created outside of Mexico, including Australia-made Act of Treason.

The drinks will focus on using ice-cold glasses, hand-pressed lime juice, shaved-to-order ice and ingredients local to Sydney.

The bar will also be in capable hands as venue manager Ryan Bickley will depart Cantina OK to lead the team at Centro 86.

Centro 86 is not the only Tequila-focused bar to open in Sydney recently. The team behind Maybe Sammy and Australian hospitality group Public opened casual Mexican bar El Primo Sanchez in February 2023.

In other on-trade news, sales in Australia’s night-time sector surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2022 after reaching AU$146 billion (US$92.5bn), with bar and pub revenue increasing by 9%.

Meanwhile, Australian trade groups are calling on the government to freeze spirits duty for two years after it recently increased to a new rate.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers