One of the biggest metropolitan hubs in the world, Mexico City boasts one of the most vibrant and varied nightlife scenes in the world. From gay bars, to mezcal, to beer and botana, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. The historic center of Mexico City is perhaps its most well-trodden area, dominated as it is by the ruins of the Templo Mayor and the impressive Gothic-inspired cathedral. For one of the best nights out in Mexico, check out the top ten bars in this cultural haven.
Tucked away between a hotel and a 7-Eleven, the unmarked entrance of this popular yet elusive spot is easily missed. This cool hangout, utterly devoid of a social media presence, is doused in a green glow, giving it an almost ethereal feeling which combines well with the eclectic but well put together playlist. Bósforo isn’t one of the best mezcalerías in Mexico City for nothing: it offers an impressive range of mezcal from each of the seven mezcal producing Mexican states. Accompany your drinks with their signature blue-tortilla quesadilla.
This swanky spot, located on Calle Regina, the designated ‘cultural corridor’ of the historic center, is a restaurant as well as a bar and is infused with culture. As well as being a hip hangout, Cultubar Hostería La Bota has also teamed with an Art and Culture foundation which aims to maintain high quality artistic output with the support of private and public companies.
Mexico is not known for its spectacular skylines in the same way the New York and European cities are; however Mexico City is a vast, sprawling metropolis that really has to be seen from up high to be believed. For this reason, Miralto is one of the best bars in the historic center. Situated in the Torre LatinoAmericana, on the 41st floor, this swanky bar offers beers and cocktails at pretty reasonable prices considering both the view and the location. Try to grab one of the tables that lines the full length glass windows of the building and head there for sunset to watch the city light up.
Situated on the ground floor of a converted tenement house, Al Andar has been described as a very Brooklynite kind of bar – hipster, chic, and all about the mood lighting, yet with the distinct advantage of not charging Brooklyn prices. Enjoy a shot of potent mezcal, accompanied – as is now the tradition – by an orange wedge.
If you like your drinks accompanied by some smooth and funky jazz, then Zinco Jazz Bar is the perfect place. Taking up residence in a converted basement of an old Mexican bank, it may make you feel a bit like you’re Harry Potter going to the Gringotts vaults for the first time. With live jazz Wednesday to Saturday, acts can range from national musicians to better known international guests. The atmosphere is as vibrant as the music.
Enjoy the wonderful view this popular spot offers over some lunch, dinner, or even the lovely weekend brunch. Alternatively, come by after dark for some drinks, as that’s when the sparkling lights of Mexico City really demonstrate just how vast a metropolis it is. Located on the 4th floor of the Gran Hotel de la Ciuded de México, the view is impressive. Gaze out onto the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Templo Mayor ruins, and the Zócalo as you enjoy a cocktail.
Reputedly still bearing bullet holes from Pancho Villa in the ceiling, Bar La Ópera is a bar with stories to tell. First opened as a restaurant in 1876, it maintains its popularity to this day, and as it’s located conveniently near to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The interior decor is as impressive as the history and rumors surrounding this place: hand carved, antique wooden benches and booths, decadent, gold-coloured cornice work on the ceilings, and rather regal looking portraits adorning the walls.
For something a little more upbeat, Marrakech Salón is an excellent choice. Described rather complexly as a cabaret-gallery-gay-kitsch-retro hangout, Marrakech Salón hosts drag queens, strippers, and all manner of live entertainment. Always thriving with late night revelers, there’s no cover charged here, and the prices are very reasonable for beers, shots and cocktails. One of the most popular and refreshing cocktails is El Mayate – mint liquor with mineral water.
Situated in a magnificent 17th-century building, DOWNTOWN is actually a hotel bar but welcomes non-guests too. Their rooftop hangout has become known as one of the coolest places to stop by in Mexico City’s historic center for a casual drink with friends, day or night, due to the friendly and chilled out vibe and the spectacular view. After you ascend to the top in a rather rickety looking lift, comfortable khaki sofas huddled round low tables greet you on the terrace, all of which are topped by a glass ceiling.
Pile into this popular pre-night out pulque spot, which has been open and run by the same family for almost 80 years just off Plaza Garibaldi. It has become a cult hangout of Mexican youths and travelers clamoring to experience one of the most traditional Mexican drinks, pulque, a thick Aztec concoction. La Hermosa Hortensia is a must-visit, not least because of its inclusion in the Museos Vivos project which celebrates everyday locations with cultural and historic significance.