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The exterior of Diablitos Cantina doesn't call a lot of attention to itself. The building sits away from the street, just a few blocks off busy Lindell and Grand boulevards. But inside, it's a different story.

I spent a good portion of my visit to Diablitos studying the details of the space. We were greeted by a colorful dining area canopied by dozens of twinkling, jeweled metal stars. Wooden accents and oversize candelabras complement the building's rugged beams and exposed brick. And a trio of mirrored skulls rotates above the bar, reflecting flashing colored lights, accompanying an eclectic mix of club music.

It's the perfect blend of traditional and unexpected, which also is reflected in the menus.

An impressive drink list doesn't stop at the requisite margaritas; there's also a selection of house-infused-tequila cocktails and tequila flights, and beers range in price from $2.50 to $5. A number of the craft beers are from St. Louis' Cathedral Square Brewery, which is owned by the same people as Diablitos.

The menu calls the Margarita de Casa ($6) the best in Missouri — "or maybe the world." Infused with cucumber ($7), it was summery and refreshing; with jalapeño ($7), it had subtle pepper flavor but wasn't too spicy to enjoy.

Sandia y Menta ($8), Diablitos' version of a mojito, had big flavor from watermelon and lavender syrup, rounded out with crispness from muddled mint. And Pancho's Pistol ($8) was fruity and bold from mango-infused tequila, OJ and grenadine. 

For our meal, we ordered a selection of shareable appetizers. For $2, a salsa bar offers at least six varieties, including watermelon and mango. Deviled Legs ($9) was a pound of meaty chicken wings tossed in a rich, spicy sauce. Our onion rings ($6), however, while well spiced and made with flavorful red onions, were more soggy than crispy. 

Our server was attentive and helpful, and the bartender even stopped by our table a few times to check in and make suggestions.

Another pleasant surprise at Diablitos Cantina: The prices are quite affordable — especially with daily specials and happy hour discounts. 


DIABLITOS CANTINA

Where 3761 Laclede Avenue • More info 314-644-4430, diablitoscantina.comSmoking No • Hours 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Gabe Hartwig is the deputy features editor for the Post-Dispatch's Go! Magazine and STL Life section.