Secret Cities: Mexico City

Tequila Queen Bertha González' Modern Guide to the Cultural Mecca

As cofounder of artisan joven tequila brand Casa Dragones, Bertha González is the ideal ambassador for modern Mexico City: emphatically of-the-moment while embracing time-honored traditions. Fifteen years of industry experience has earned her the distinction of being the first woman certified as a Maestra Tequilera by the Academia Mexicana de Catadores de Tequila, but it’s González' status as a fixture on the cultural circuit that makes her the ultimate insider. A native of the Pedregal de San Angel neighborhood, the entrepreneur describes the city as one that is “in constant transformation,” whose revitalization in the last decade has been evident in a burgeoning art scene—producing talents including Gabriel Orozco and Miguel Calderón—and up-and-coming neighborhoods like the café-dotted Condesa and foodie enclave Polanco. “An enormous push by the creative citizens makes the city a coveted, must-explore cultural destination of any world traveler,” says González. We asked her to detail her ultimate tour, with photographs by Douglas Friedman.

Chic By Accident
Emmanuel Picault sources unique artifacts from all over Mexico in this interior gallery and store, which give you a wider understanding of the country’s incredible design heritage. The last item I bought here was a gorgeous 1960s cut-crystal ashtray.
Alvaro Obregon 49, Col. Roma Norte

Friday is a good time to go to Contramar if you want to see and be seen. Everybody from Gabriel Orozco to the Mayor of the town is there, during the art fair especially, but the place is not pretentious. Remember it’s a lunch place only; you can’t go for dinner. My favorite thing on the menu is the tuna tostados. Sometimes, after my flight lands in Mexico City, I go straight there and hold my meetings in the restaurant because I crave it so much. 
Durango 200, Col. Roma Norte

Kurimanzutto Gallery
The gallery represents some of the most important Mexican artists but also some great international artists. Gabriel Orozco, Damian Ortega, Daniel Guzman and Dr Lakra all show there, as well as Rirkrit Tiravanija and Jimmie Durham, for example. 
Gob. Rafael Rebollar 94, Col. San Miguel Chapultepec

Dulce Patria
Martha Ortiz, the restaurant’s chef, has played a very important role in the new wave of Mexican cuisine; she is very poetic in her cooking, from the presentation to the history and complexity of the dishes, everything is spot on. Her ceviche is to die for and her tequila chaser sangritas are absolutely fantastic.
Anatole France 100, Col. Polanco

Galeria Daniel Liebsohn 
I discovered Daniel at a party, before I discovered his store; he is so elegant he can’t go unnoticed. In his gallery you find Mexican and European antiques mixed with Italian and American vintage furniture from the 20th century: you may see a 15th-century Flemish painting beside a lineal seat by Frank Kyle next to a 19th-century Napoleon III-style mirror. His house highlights his eye and the styles he combines.
Londres 161-49, Plaza del Ángel, Col.Juárez

Condesa DF
After touring the galleries in the Condesa neighborhood, stop by this hotel for a late afternoon drink: I would recommend the cucumber mezcal mojito made with mezcal blanco by Los Danzantes of Oaxaca. In spring, blooming jacaranda trees with stunning purple flowers surround the roof terrace.
Avenue Veracruz 102, Col. Condesa

Emmanuel Picault has also recently opened a new private club, M.N.Roy, named after the Indian revolutionary and founder of the communist parties in both Mexico and India. It’s mega cool and gorgeously designed; if you want to go for a drink or have a little dance, it’s somewhere you really have to visit.

Mérida 186, San Luis Potosi 

Museo Soumaya
My favorite piece in the collection is actually the museum itself: the architecture is beautiful. The Soumaya also has the largest collection of Rodin sculptures in Latin America. I would recommend a weekday afternoon when it is quietest.
Plaza Loreto, Avenida Revolución y Río Magdalena, Eje 10 sur, Col. Tizapán, San Angel

To get a taste of Casa Dragones, click here.

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