The epicenter of Mexico City’s hipster culture, quirky Roma is chock full of lovely tree-lined streets and up-and-coming restaurants. Due to its status as the coolest barrio in the city, it boasts a selection of excellent bars and nightlife options, which must be checked out if you want a true insight into Roma’s after-dark vibe. Here’s our round-up of the top ten must-visits.
Named for the infamous biblical figure Lilith, Lilit is a chilled-out bar with a cool clientele and laid-back vibe. Officially marketed as a gastropub, Lilit serves their outstanding cocktails in a very creative fashion, but perhaps just stick to the classics if you prefer your drinks without a side of controversy. Lilit offers the perfect microcosm of the Roma neighborhood: hipster, vintage, on-the-up, but with a healthy dose of self-awareness.
Another up-and-coming hot-spot in the saturated Roma neighborhood is La Naciónal. While the name might make you think of a traditional cantina aesthetic, La Naciónal is anything but. Sip your mezcal cocktails under the glow of Edison bulbs or settle down with a local microbrew. Beware that a hot-spot in Roma comes with an upscale price range to match, though. This is only one place to scope out if you’re feeling flush and want access to a wide selection of mezcals, as well as bragging rights for having stopped by one of Roma’s trendiest bars.
Roma’s worst-kept secret is Poe Speakeasy, the ‘underground’ night spot with an enigmatic vibe and an Edgar Allen Poe obsession. Under the dim lights of the interior, his words are printed across the wall in glowing letters, as in-the-know Mexico City youth gather for an exclusive night out. Entry times are hard to come by, and the Poe Speakeasy Facebook page is only littered with announcements of upcoming DJ sets to be played there. Dark and intense, like the man on whom this secret spot celebrates, Poe Speakeasy is an experience and a half in the Roma barrio.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Mexican, Cocktails, Wine, Beer, $$$
Having recently expanded to include a Polanco location, Roma is the birthplace of Licorería Limantour, the welcoming and inventive cocktail bar that’s at the heart of all the cultural action that this colonia has to offer – and one of the top 50 bars in Latin America. Popular not just with the locals, but also with a foreign crowd, there’s always a fantastic mix of clientele at Limantour. It was in fact one of the first in the wave of cocktail bars opening in the city, and its legendary reputation only continues to grow. Spread across multiple levels, this hip art deco house is the place to be.
Your surroundings are everything at Romita Comedor. Located in a high, glass-ceilinged greenhouse structure which faces out onto the street below, this is a bar that really deserves to be visited twice: once at night, when you can take in the glow of the moon shining through the glass panels, and once in the day when you really get to take advantage of the view. Enjoy the atmosphere with a suitably strong cocktail, but make sure you’ve still got your wits about you to take on the twisty spiral staircase that connects the two levels. Reservations are a must.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub, Mexican, Cocktails, Wine, Beer
High ceilings, brick walls and leafy plants make up the interior décor of exclusive Gin Gin in Colonia Roma. If you’re lucky enough to be let in – reservations are highly recommended – the first thing you’ll notice is the excellent, but mainly American, music and relatively diverse crowd. Of course, given the name, gin is one of their specialties and they have some fabulous gin cocktails on offer, alongside the standard mixology concoctions. This is the place to visit if you know what you like and have already paid some of the smaller, quirkier Roma offerings a visit.
Situated in Mercado Roma, Biergarten has a buzzing, vibrant atmosphere and an outstanding selection of – you guessed it – craft brews. Mexico tends to be dominated by the traditional branded beers, but craft brewing and artisan beers are on the rise, particularly in quirky, hipster spots like Roma. Claim your seat at the communal, long wooden tables of this rooftop bar with fairy lights strung overhead and try something a little different. Weekdays are your best bet if you’re going in a large group, as it tends to be a little quieter.
Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean, Fusion, Mexican, $$$
One of the city’s most famed cocktail bars is Puebla 109, which anyone looking for a great cocktail really should try out and has undoubtedly been recommended at one point or another during their time in Mexico. Seeking inspiration from traditional Mexican ingredients, the cocktails at Puebla 109 are truly to die for. All their added extras such as jams, syrups and juices are homemade, making for a decadent and unique cocktail experience. Puebla 109’s mixologist recommends the Umeboshi, a plum and pear jam mixed with Bombay gin, Japanese plum liquor, sake, cranberry juice and fresh dill.
Elusive Traspatio is a word-of-mouth phenomenon in Roma, with a limited social media presence, asides from its regularly updated Twitter account. You might feel a bit like you’re disappearing into a secret and magical world when you enter this casual and chilled-out little spot, just on the corner of Colima. An uninspiring grey steel door leads you through to the patio replete with a plethora of chairs and wooden tables, improvised lighting and the whiff of barbecued snacks. A truly unique and laid-back experience, it must be seen to be believed.
The final entry is both a bar and beer store specializing in selling various types of national and imported beer. An initiative started by the Minerva Brewing company in 2009, El Depósito has three branches in Mexico City, and three branches in Guadalajara, and has the philosophy that the consumer ought to have more choice in the beer that they drink, rather than being limited to the top brands. From sweet stouts to British bitters and Belgian ales, there is a wide selection at El Depósito.
Opening hours: Mon-Wed 1pm-12am, Thu-Sat 12pm-2am, Sun 1pm-10pm