Guadalajara’s famed Chapultepec Avenue is a visitor’s best and most obvious bet for a great night out in the capital of Jalisco. However, the city doesn’t struggle for quality bars when you go farther afield, and doing just that can be the best way to get an insight into a quirkier after-hours scene. Here are some of the best bars in Guadalajara, both on Chapu and beyond.
Bar, Mexican, Cocktails, Wine, Beer
Courtesy of Chupitería La Favorita
Located in the city’s historic center, La Fuente is an attraction worthy of any sightseeing itinerary. Step inside to find a spacious bar filled with sticky tables, rickety chairs and a loyal crowd of regulars. In short, this is everything you could hope for from a traditional cantina. If you’re wondering about the bike above the bar, a drunken patron reportedly left it behind one night in the 1950s. The man never came back to claim it, so the bar staff mounted it against the wall in anticipation of his return.
A short walk from Guadalajara’s cathedral, Escarabajo Scratch is a laid-back bar decorated with striking murals and paintings of blues singers – from Robert Johnson to Tom Waits. The colorful venue hosts performers covering a range of genres, but rock and blues are the mainstays. It even doubles as a cultural center, offering film workshops and book talks. With cheap beer and an excellent menu, Escarabajo Scratch covers all the bases.
As the capital of Jalisco state, the birthplace of tequila, Guadalajara is synonymous with Mexico’s national spirit. But Pare de Sufrir is a legendary mezcal bar that has been serving tequila’s smoky cousin since 2009. The bar’s name means “Stop Suffering” – a playful nod to a controversial evangelical church that uses the same slogan. The project is a labor of love for owner Pedro Jiménez, who works closely with artisanal producers to bring the best bottles to the bar. Many of these spirits originate in the southern state of Oaxaca, but others are local tipples. Ask for a shot of raicilla if you want to sample a fruity, Jalisco-made mezcal.
If you’re in the mood for something dark and atmospheric, Chango Vudú is the place. Located in a windowless basement, the surreal venue blends speakeasy decor with fluorescent lighting and graffiti. Along one wall, there’s a low-lit bar, where you can order beers or a range of cocktails. Since opening in 2018, Chango Vudú has established a reputation as one of the city’s most impressive live music venues. The spacious bar hosts an eclectic range of live music acts, with a focus on jazz and electro. The regular underground hip-hop night is particularly popular.
Located on the outskirts of Guadalajara, La Taberna Minerva is worth the trip for any true craft-beer fanatic. The bar leads into the factory that produces Minerva, a local company that has become one of Mexico’s major craft-beer enterprises. In fact, you can see the looming steel brewing kettles through the window that faces the adjacent facility. La Taberna stocks the full range of Minerva’s year-round fixtures, along with numerous rotating special-edition beers. A tour of the plant starts here at 2pm on Thursdays and Saturdays, but make sure to book at least 24 hours in advance via Minerva’s website.
Without doubt one of the classiest places in the city to sip a mezcal cocktail, Guilty is run by a team with a true passion for mixology. With its brown leather seats, dim lighting and vintage bar counter, the venue has a sophisticated speakeasy vibe. Guilty offers casual but delicious food, craft beers and wine. However, the real draw is the cocktail list. The expert waitstaff will enthusiastically guide you on your selections.
Named after the Parisian red-light district, Pigalle is another option for those on the hunt for great cocktails. With an interior bathed in scarlet light, and jazz or blues emanating from the speakers, Pigalle has a moody feel. It’s essentially a speakeasy, but with a distinct Parisian cabaret twist. If you’re unsure what to order, we recommend the French Intervention cocktail – an exciting blend of tequila, wine tonic and yellow chartreuse liqueur.
This vibrant bar is never far from the top of any local’s recommendation list. Owned by Louisiana native Braden LaGrone, De La O Cantina offers incredible cocktails and pre-Hispanic beverages. We recommend sampling the ice-cold tepache. This refreshing fermented pineapple drink tastes great alone and blends beautifully with tequila blanco. As one of the few first-rate venues open before 1pm, De La O is a great place to visit for afternoon drinks with friends.
You might feel a touch of déjà vu when entering Patan Ale House, which boasts the hanging lightbulbs and white-tiled walls found in hipster hangouts across the globe. But the extensive craft-beer selection more than makes up for the less-than-original decor. You’ll also find welcoming and knowledgeable staff who will happily guide you through the menu. Check the bar’s Facebook Events page before visiting. Patan Ale House boasts a rooftop terrace and regularly hosts famous live bands and DJs – playing everything from techno to bluegrass.
If you want a more traditional Guadalajara drinking experience, you have to stop into the wonderfully atmospheric La Pulkata bar and sample from the range of delicious pulques on offer. This thick, foamy drink comes from the agave plant – like mezcal and tequila – but generally has a bitter taste. Alone, it doesn’t sound all that appealing, but it comes into its own when you try the various flavors on offer in La Pulkata. From guava to mango, there’s something for everyone here.
For hip-hop and dancing in the heart of Guadalajara, head to Trap House. It’s a lively, crowded venue, with fluorescent lights and graffiti-lined walls. In contrast to most of Guadalajara’s hipster hangouts, this venue is popular with a slightly younger crowd. The bar hosts DJs with a reggaeton or Mexican rap focus. There are cheaper places to drink, but if you’re looking for thudding beats and dancing until last call, this is the bar for you.