Unplugged Whisky Bar
From rockers to hipsters, good taste knows no bounds, and Unplugged surely has the most weird and wonderfully diverse crowd of customers. The decor is like a shrine to British pop culture, with photos of Adele, Union Jacks and the Rolling Stones logo covering every conceivable surface, but don’t judge a book by its cover. With excellent live rock music every night, as well as free bar Thursday’s for women and 2-for-1 deals on national beers, Unplugged is as inclusive as they come. On the off chance awesome live bands aren’t your thing, hide out by the Foosball tables.
Opening hours: Thu-Sat 9pm-4am
Address & telephone number: López Cotilla #2233, Colonia Arcos Vallarta, Guadalajara, +52 33 1410 1801
Gentlemen & Queens
For an American college bar vibe – at least according to the movies – in the heart of Guadalajara, head to the bar affectionately known by the locals as Gs & Qs. Boasting an ever changing roster of great drinks deals, and frequented by the subset of Guadalajara youth that look like they ought to be in the background of a rap video, walking eight blocks past Chapultepec won’t break the bank or your street cred. We highly recommend making your reservation early if you want a table on the busy Saturday hip hop night.
Opening hours: Thu-Sat 9pm-3am
Address & telephone number: Avenida México #2405, Colonia Ladrón de Guevara, Guadalajara, +52 33 1469 2267
Previously known as SPEAKeasy, Johnny Fear is currently finding its feet in the sea of the city’s bars. Women drink for free on Thursdays, but this tucked away gem also offers perhaps the best beer promotion of the entire list – 2 bottles for 25 pesos (about $1.50 US) until 11pm. With a mix of Spanish and English language music, but rarely from the Top 40, the vibe strikes a balance between cool and accessible, providing something for everyone. Cozy yet comfortable, head there to claim your position as an early adopter of up-and-coming Guadalajara nightlife.
Opening Hours: Thu-Sat 9pm-3am
Address & telephone number: López Cotilla #1961, Colonia Rancho Blanco, Guadalajara, +52 33 3148 2604
Always packed to the rafters, especially on the weekend, La Fichera rather paradoxically lets you live out the popular phrase “dance like nobody’s watching.” The skill with which some people whirl around is impressive given the limited floor space, but the crowd lets beginners off the hook. No one’s looking at your feet when they’re having such a good time in this quirkily decorated dance hotspot. Try the house twist on the classic Michelada, the Fichelada, and enjoy the friendly party vibe that pervades the place.
Opening hours: Thu-Sat 9pm-3am
Address & telephone number: Miguel de Cervantes #110, Colonia Cortijo del Valle, Guadalajara, +52 33 3972 8161
Occupying a prestigious location on Chapultepec Avenue, the heart of Guadalajara’s night life, Bananas has some of the cheapest drinks around. This spacious bar is always crammed to the rafters, but you must be seated at a table – preferably one upstairs with the view over Chapu – meaning that you never feel like a tinned sardine even on its busiest nights. It does mean that you may have to queue though. Should you feel like annoying your friends, order them the Bananas shot package which includes whistle blowing, flaming shots drunk through straws and then a head shake from the waiter.
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-1am, Fri-Sat 12pm-2am, Sun 4.30pm-1am
Address & telephone number: Avenida Chapultepec, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3615 4194
Aloha Sur is an “after-school,” meaning it gets going early and finishes in time for the train home. With a sand covered floor and a palapa style thatched roof, you’ll be reliving your last beach holiday in no time at this affordable spot, with its predominantly Spanish language music. Strictly speaking Aloha Sur is actually in Zapopan, but given that you can see the “Welcome to Zapopan” street sign from the bar, we think this just edges its way into our Guadalajara top ten. If you don’t fancy going all that way though, there are other branches more centrally located.
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 11am-1am, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 11am-2.30am
Address & telephone number: Periférico Sur 75, Zapopan, Mexico, +52 33 3694 2799
An excellent choice of bar to hang out at with friends any time of the afternoon or evening, especially if you’re feeling peckish because Pinta Negra also serves some excellent stone baked pizzas. If you get the option – sometimes the terrace is closed during the day – do go up and enjoy the view out onto Chapultepec from this pretty rooftop, strung with fairy lights and lined by tiny pots of homegrown herbs that are used in the kitchen. If you go on the right day, they very often offer tarros of beer for just 20 pesos (just over $1 US). Choose between clara (light) and oscura (dark).
Opening hours: Tue-Wed 2pm-1am, Thu-Sat 2pm-2.30am, Sun 2pm-10pm
Address & telephone number: Justo Sierra 1982, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3825 3768
Located on the tiny road which also houses the equally worthy of mention cumbia bar, Chacal, and classy live music-hosting El Salmon, El Rey completes the trifecta of hip hangouts, and we recommend visiting all three. Start at El Rey, the smallest of the bunch, which occupies a narrow little venue that makes it seem very full, very quickly. Once inside the dark and smoky venue, head straight for the bar and order the beer and mezcal combo before making your way to the back garden. Enjoy the music and drinks in the open air before moving to the next spot.
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 9pm-3am
Address & telephone number: Bernardo de Balbuena 126, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3973 0994
Darjeeling Tea Room
Making the smooth transition from relaxed tea room – an excellent find in Mexico to begin with – to quirky live music venue by night, the awesome atmosphere of Darjeeling Tea Room makes it a great place to relax with friends. They also serve pizza if you find yourself craving something to snack on while there. As well as great food and drinks, this hippie, Indian decor inspired spot has regular aforementioned live music events which are well worth dropping by for. Chill out on the terrace of this converted old house, or grab a sofa and enjoy.
Opening hours: Tue-Thu 1.30pm-12am, Fri 1.30pm-1am, Sat 2.30pm-1am, Sun 2.30pm-12am
Address & telephone number: Morelos 1491, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 32 3330 1512
If you want a more traditional Guadalajara drinking experience, you have to stop by La Pulkata and try the range of delicious pulques they have on offer in this wonderfully atmospheric bar. Pulque is a thick, foamy drink that comes from the agave plant – like mezcal and tequila – but generally has a more sour taste. Alone it doesn’t sound all that appealing, but it really comes into its own when you try the various different flavors of it that are offered in La Pulkata. From guava to mango, there’s one to suit everyone. Take the plunge and give it a go.
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12.30am
Address & telephone number: Pedro Loza 719, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 1738 5764