Guadalajara’s historic center has it all. Beautiful buildings, gorgeous plazas, handicrafts, delicious restaurant options, and bars. The centro histórico is not often associated with the amazing night life that Guadalajara as a whole has to offer, but the selection of bars in the area is one worth checking out the next time you’re in town.
Located right in the centro histórico, El Sonidero is one of the most popular bars in Guadalajara. As they themselves admit, they aren’t the only cumbia bar, but they are the best, and it’s hard to disagree. The atmosphere here is unrivaled, and even if you have no idea how to dance cumbia, there will almost certainly be someone on hand to try and teach you. If you do know how, well then buckle up, because this is the perfect place to show off.
This is a must-visit for the experience alone, as La Fuente is the oldest cantina in Guadalajara and therefore commands a certain respect. Although it may not look like much from the outside, its central location and perennial popularity should tell you a lot about how well-liked it is, as well as how worth a visit. It’s a spacious bar with a mysterious old bicycle hanging on the wall and scores of Mexicans singing along to the live music. Try not to feel too left out, and soak up the atmosphere instead.
Shots are your friend at Chupitería La Favorita, and they come in a wide range of flavors. This is not going to be the tequila chugging experience of your college days (unless you want it to be, that is). Aside from the breadth of the drinks on offer, La Chupitería is well-suited to any fan of electronic music, and there are often famous DJs playing here. Dance or take a seat at one of the tables for more of a relaxed evening experience, and enjoy mingling with the trendy, friendly crowd. Address & telephone number: Morelos 666, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3658 6057
Bar, Pub, Nightclub, Mexican, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, Pub Grub
Primer Piso | Courtesy of Primer Piso
La Lupita also markets itself as a cantina, but it is most definitely not a normal cantina. Perhaps ‘a cantina revamped’ would be the most appropriate way of putting it. A small spot located near Parque Juárez (Parque Rojo), this is a first floor bar with an attractive and colorful décor. Always full of people chugging their paper-bag-wrapped caguamas (1.2 liter bottles of beer), this crowded but atmospheric hot spot in Guadalajara’s historic center might make it difficult to execute a salsa spin, that’s not to say you shouldn’t try, though!
Not strictly speaking located in the historic center but a few blocks outside, Primer Piso is a local weekend favorite and plays some awesome live jazz music if you head there on the right day. Easy to miss as it’s on the first floor and entry is via a narrow stairway, it even sometimes has live poetry readings. The eclectic décor, combined with some refreshing gin mixers and comfortable seating make this the spot for a chilled out, and perhaps a little different, evening out with friends.
Located in the lovely Coronilla area of the historic center, which is worth a visit during the day, too, for its quaint cafés and lunch options, is Escarabajo Scratch. In fact, you could even pop by this quaint blues joint during the day and enjoy the food options offered, such as sandwiches, pizzas, and salads. But the evenings are when it really gets going at Escarabajo Scratch, as the blues, jazz, and rock groups start their sets. Try out the infamous Pink Elephant beer.
Another cantina that makes the list in the historic center of Guadalajara, La Mutualista offers a distinctly different experience from the two previously mentioned. More colorful, with walls that are lined with photo upon photo. Whether you want to watch a (national) soccer game or just enjoy some live rock music, La Mutualista is a fantastic option. On top of all this, they regularly have great drinks deals.
Guadalajara is well-known for being a gay friendly city and holiday destination in Mexico, and this reputation is reflected in the amount of gay bars that the center, and the city as a whole, has to offer. So it seems imprudent to write about historic center nightlife and not include at least one. Club YeYe is a show bar, featuring jaw-dropping drag acts and some equally impressive drinks deals.
The colonial, imposing, oldest hotel in the center of Guadalajara, Hotel Francés‘s lobby bar is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more tranquil drinking experience. With a selection of tables surrounding a central fountain, and dominated by an impressive chandelier, this bar has the typical colonial layout that never fails to impress. Don’t make this an all-night affair; instead we recommend stopping by for a quick pre-dinner drink before heading out to see what the rest of the historic center has to offer.
Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, Fast Food, Coffee, Tea , French, $$$
Last but not least on our list of the top ten centro histórico bars is Café Galeria Andre Breton. A bar-restaurant, it offers some lovely, simple French food so you can dine before kicking back and enjoying the live jazz in this café which boasts a distinctly bohemian vibe. Jazz seems to be very popular in Guadalajara’s historic center, and this is one of the best places to see it. Café Andre Breton is a basic and well-priced experience, whether you’re dining or drinking, and one in which the artistic spirit of the gallery pervades the whole place.