5 bars or canteens you should visit in Mexico City
January 1, 1970
by Axel Lima
Are you visiting Mexico City? Doesn´t matter if you are for tourism or business; spend some time in these places to learn more about Mexico and its inhabitant’s culture. Some of these “cantinas” as they´re called locally, have more than 50 years old, even more. Others are modern and have a younger atmosphere. Avoid the “sophisticated” and tedious common places, you have a very wide offer to get new drinks and experiences. Make sure you visit at least one of these bars and canteens in Mexico City.
5 Portales de Tlaquepaque
Tlaquepaque portals get its name for the famous bar-zone in Jalisco, cradle of one of the most emblematic drinks in the country: tequila. It has traditional furniture and local music, like “banda”, “corridos” and other rhythms from the north of Mexico. Sometimes, there is a live singer that sings suggestion for 1 dollar. They serve national beer and drinks with very low prices. You can even have a good meal: “tortas”, “tacos” and the house specialty “Chamorro” (pork leg) with beans and avocado. If you spend more than 10 dollars in drinks, you can ask for the “botanas” (various local snacks). This includes shrimp soup, “sopes” (tortilla with meat and lettuce) and other Mexican dishes. Portales is located in Bolivar street #56, a few blocks away from Bellas Artes and the Zócalo (main plaza). A most-visit cantina in downton.
Average price: 2.5 U.S. dollars per drink.
Open 11 PM to 2 AM, Monday-Sunday.
4 La hija de los apaches
Apache´s daughter is a “pulquería”, a place where the beverage named “pulque” is served. Pulque is made of agave and was very popular in the decades of 1950-1970. The origins of pulque come from the prehispanic times (200 years B.C.) and even the Aztec royalty drank it. The original pulque is white and has a bitter taste. However, there is pulque “curado” with different flavors like: maracuyá, oat, strawberry, celery, pineapple and others. The pulque is served in buckets, so don´t be afraid, you won´t get sick. Now on, the pulque is very popular among younger people in the country. Also, several poets visited and write about La hija de los apaches in the 70´s, like the Spanish writer Roberto Bolaño and Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, one of the greatest exponents of infra-realism poetry in Mexico. This pulquería is located in Doctores, near metro Cuauhtémoc, Claudio Bernard street #149. You can assist to the Arena México, where the famous “lucha libre” (wrestling) takes place and drink pulque after a good fight, It´s only one block away.
Average price: 3 U.S. dollars per drink.
Open 4 PM to 11 PM, Tuesday-Saturday.
3 La coyoacana
Located in the district of Coyoacán, south of the city, La Coyoacana is a traditional canteen very popular among locals and foreign. As in Portales de Tlaquepaque, you can listen to popular and vernacular music. It´s a bigger place, but in the weekends it may be difficult to get a table. Even so, you can sit by the bar top and ask for a drink. In addition, you can visit Coyoacan´s downtown for a full experience. It´s a little far away from Mexico City downtown, but there are cabs that will take you there by 10 dollars or less (also you can ask for an Uber, available in the city). The menu includes tortas, salads and traditional desserts like the “chongos zamoranos” (curdled milk with cinnamon and sugar). It´s located in Higuera street #14, just two blocks away from the Jean Baptiste Church, also a great place to visit and see the colonial architecture.
Average price: 4 U.S. dollars per drink.
Open 12 PM to 3 AM, Tuesday-Sunday.
2 Mama Rumba
The perfect place for dancing (or learning) salsa and other afrocuban rhythms, very popular among Latin American countries. Also, you can order “mojitos” a drink from Cuba made with rum, sugar and mint leaves. There are salsa lessons every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, starting 9 PM. These lessons are free and for every dancing skills level (if you are a beginner its ideal for you). You will pay for accessing the bar though, Mama Rumba has a 5 dollar cover, but you can stay in the place after lessons and enjoy a Caribbean night. Also, this place is visited for many foreign people, so you can meet them (and dance with them). There is a live band Friday and Saturday with excellent musicians. Mama Rumba is located at the neighborhood of La Roma, in Querétaro street #230, near Parque Mexico.
Average price: 4.8 U.S. dollars per drink.
Open 8 PM to 3 AM, Wednesday-Saturday.
1 Pata Negra
Pata Negra means “Black Leg”. Its located in the exclusive neighborhood La Condesa in the center zone of the city. Pata Negra is known for its great design, atmosphere and as a forum for new local rock bands. Pata Negra offers salsa nights every Wednesday and live rock music in Saturday. Many emerging bands play here, so there is a good chance to listen at the new musical proposals in its very beginning. Not only rock, but progressive rock, garage, punk, funk and all kinds of genders. The bar serves beer (foreign and national) and all kinds of drinks (like whisky, rum, tequila, mezcal, vodka etc.). Getting to Pata Negra is really easy, its 2 miles away from downton and a similar distance from Avenida Reforma, where many hotels are. You also arrive by bike or metro (Chilpancingo station) and the zone has many cultural activities. The address is Tamaulipas street 30 near Parque España.
Average price: 5 U.S. dollars per drink.
Open 8 PM to 3 AM, Wednesday-Saturday.
Have a good time! These are the best bar or canteens in Mexico City. Drench yourself in the Mexican culture, drinks and gastronomy. Know the people, music and places, you won´t regret it. Whatever you´re looking for, Mexico City has it: popular cantinas, new and modern bars, traditional pulquerías, you name it!