From the school of Shady Pines Saloon, Tio's is the latest kid on the block in Surry Hills, though technically it's called a Cerveceria or brewery/beer house.
|Inside Tio's Cerveceria, Foster Street, Surry Hills|
Most seats are communal style, with rows of school-reminiscent benches on both sides of a table that would probably seat four or five on each side (though it's near impossible to get in or out in heels and a skirt).
|Tio's back bar|
With no beers on display, it's easier to pick from the house specials menu of cocktail and refrescos; handwritten and printed on the back of kitschy postcards that fit right into the theme. Only margaritas and Tommy's Margarita are listed beneath cocktails.
|El Roberto Especial|
My first pick is the evocative El Roberto Especial with tequila (of course), a mystical three herb elixir, freshly pulverised Granny Smith apple juice, lime and thick slice of cucumber for garnish.
My first sip through the sneakily thick red straw is mostly tequila (note: mix drinks first), though the drink eventually becomes quite refreshing if not a little sweet.
|Complimentary popcorn and Bloody Maria|
After sitting down with our first round drinks to the benches, we were hand-delivered a bulging brown paper bag of spiced popcorn, as if these guys knew they were serving a popcorn fiend (actually, complimentary popcorn is for all).
Freshly popped in an old-school popcorn machine and perfectly seasoned, Tio's has quickly weasled its way into my heart via its drinking snacks, beating out Shady Pines' peanuts and The Baxter Inn's pretzels.
Referring back to the refrescos menu, I have the girly pink Paloma, featuring tequila and a homemade pink grapefruit soda. There was an underlying bitterness to the drink courtesy of the citrus soda and even with a splash of sugar syrup.
|Coffee with condensed milk|
|Cafe con Leche|
|Tio's street neon sign|
Ordering is a simple affair, snacks are taken care of and there's plenty of space and seating. All you need is a few people open to the idea of enjoying tequila and Bob's your uncle - at Tio's.