Food & Drink

Mexican eats in Universal City

America might be obsessed with The New, but that shouldn't diminish the comfort and joy to be had from the classics -- sure, Vanilla Sky's disjointedness is thought provoking, but when it comes down to it, it's Legend that's forever lodged in your VHS player. Get plastered in timeless pseudo-Mexican style, at El Bar.From the guy behind The Fifth and in the former The Bridge space, El's a red-lit boozer's hacienda: candlelit recesses, floral-embossed leather barstools, south-of-the-border paintings of topless ladies and proud matadors, and a bull's head mounted over the bar. Festive hooch includes two sangrias (traditional red; sparkling berry), 40+ tequilas (from Mad Bull Reposado to a $35 shot of Casino Azul Anejo), and their signature shot, The Bull: Cuervo Platino, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice, simple syrup, and Sprite (an easy-drinking concoction more aptly called The Calf?). Both bar food and sports are only available during the 5-9p happy hour, the latter on six flatscreens, the former actually made by the pizza spot next door, with on-point options (spinach & mushroom quesadillas; jalapeno poppers), standard deviations (fries; rings; fried zucchini), and outliers that leave you wondering if that pizza spot just doesn't know from Mexican (meatball subs).Since the pseudo-Mex of yore involved precious little Latin music, the jukebox sprinkles expected nods (Santana, Gypsy Kings) amongst not-Latin artists from Longwave to Elvis Costello to Journey -- because the only thing that can trump America's obsession with newness is her obsession with Steve Perry.