Three elements define Calexico, Larry Hodes’ newly reimagined spot at Joburg’s 44 Stanley in Milpark. “Music first, booze second, and then food,” co-owner Hodes says. “Not that food is last or anything — but we’re all about real music.”
Real music, according to Hodes, is none of that “doof-doof techno nonsense” or anything pop-centric you’re likely to hear on the radio. And the droves of people who come to sip drinks and snack on Calexico’s now famous sticky-sweet ribs agree with him.
Calexico was born out of the gutted ashes of Hodes’ previously popular spot, the Stanley Beer Yard. Hodes and his co-owner, Mike Vacy-Lyle, felt the space needed reinvigoration, and transformed it into a lighter and brighter imagining that gives off 1970s Californian vibes with Mexican touches as a nod to the small US border town of the same name. “It’s also the name of one of my and Mike’s favourite bands,” Hodes says.