Tomas Estes: La Capilla

In the doorway in the soft, Mexican early afternoon, sitting on the floor against the wall is a figure that in most other settings is a pariah. He is a Mexican man with down syndrome. In this place he is accepted, welcome as is everyone. I am again in La Capilla.

I have arrived with Francisco Soltero – the director general of the Mexican National Tequila Chamber – along with Miguel Cedeno - the Chamber’s master distiller- and Rodolfo Fernandez who Eduardo Orendain calls the walking library since he knows so much. Rodolfo is a university professor and an authority on agave culture, including tequila.

Eduardo Orendain of the venerable Tequilero family is the current president elect of the Chamber. We have gathered in Tequila Town to present to Don Javier Delgado Corona, the owner of La Capilla his recognition for having won 20th best bar in the world, according to the ‘Academy’ of Drinks International magazine's World's 50 Best Bars.

We are having a few of Don Javier’s signature drinks, stirred with his usual butcher knife. We are taking photos and enjoying the celebrity of La Capilla and its owner Don Javier. This is a matter of national pride, number 20th in the world.

The talk is characteristically lively and Eduardo Orendain makes a dramatic announcement. He tells the group that Don Javier has served four generations of Eduardo’s  family in La Capilla, his grandfather and father when they were both young, he himself and his son. This is over a period of more than 66 years during which time Don Javier has been a barkeeper. Think what the world was in 1945. When he began.

Jose Luis Partida is with us, he being the one who first brought me to La Capilla more than 25 years ago. He has often reminded me that we are all one family, something I have repeated and retold many times to others.

I tell the group that for me there are numerous significant levels to the award to La Capilla. One is recognition of Mexico itself another is to tequila since both are integral to the bar. The last and most important part of all the attention is that Don Javier is given appreciation for running a place that as he says, “Is about love” and all that entails. We are benefactors of this love, the family that has gathered here, including the man sitting in the doorway.