photo credit: Copal
College parties in the basement of the student union were probably fun. Copal, the subterranean River North bar underneath Mercadito, is fun too, but with fancier cocktails and furniture. It’s only open for 18 hours each week (6pm to 12am, Thursday through Saturday) and six of those hours are pretty dead. No one is coming here for the food, which includes things like dry cochinita pibil bao buns, and anything off the Mercadito menu.
But after 8pm, the lights darken, the thumping 90s hip hop gets louder, and the mood shifts. Groups take over every table in the small space, ordering drinks with ingredients like dragon fruit and bell pepper flavored ice, and ooh-ing over the occasional appearance of a sparkler. It’s a little over the top, especially when a watery $22 cocktail involves cotton candy being set aflame in front of you only to dissipate into nothingness. But you’re not hanging out at Copal to be fiscally responsible. You’re here to take a chance on getting a decent drink and for a club-lite experience before the next stop in your night.