Music in Mexico means so many different things in so many different regions of the country. To really get the full range of styles you must travel the country listening to traditional, regional bands. Here’s a sampling of our favorite places across the republic where you can sit, have a drink or a meal, and hear some of the best sounds of Mexico.
A great place to hear all kinds of music in Oaxaca City, Praga has an incredible open-air patio for listening to music outside on those pleasant Oaxacan nights. There is live music every day of the week, ranging from modern to that which is traditional to the region. Their menu features Mexican classics like mole and quesadillas and the more international cordon bleu and hamburgers.
You can get a little bit of everything at this piano bar, including classic Mexican love songs that will break your heart. A bohemian bar in the heart of Mexico City, the place has a lot of old-school charm and offers a full bar as well as food for late-night munchies. The music ranges from the style of the 1940s to today and the ambiance will take you back in time.
Hit Tropicana on Sundays and dance to the rhythm of salsa, cumbia, and bachata. Live music featuring a talented Mexican and Cuban orchestra starts at midnight. Taste their famous Tropicana cocktail, a mixture of vodka, curazao, and a hint of peppermint. Don’t worry about the Cancun heat as Tropicana is air conditioned, so you can dance all night long without a care.
Guadalajara is the hometown of mariachi music and while you can easily hire your own band of mariachis to follow you around all night at the Plaza de Mariachis, you can also sit down to regional specialties and listen to the bands that wander the tables of Casa Bariachi. Casa Bariachi has been around for 2 decades (and counting!) and is always reliable to have mariachi music on offer, alongside dancing, typical regional cuisine, and an authentic Mexican atmosphere. You’ll hear classic songs as well as modern hits.
One of Mexico City’s oldest and most famous watering holes, Salon Tenampa is a classic Mexican cantina with Mexican cuisine, tequila and beer galore, and dozens of hovering bands of Mariachis. Right on Garibaldi Square (the place to hear mariachi music in Mexico City), this bar is a party from the moment it opens till it closes in the early morning hours. You may have to wait in line if you come at peak hours, but it’s worth it just to say you’ve been there (and that you took photos!).
Cheers Bar & Grill – where everyone will start to know your name if you go often enough – has all kinds of live music to go along with the drinks and food on their menu. However, it’s also a great spot to check out some nortena vibes – a musical style typical to northern Mexico which involves a lot of accordion, tube trumpet and other brass instruments. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss out on along the border.
One of Veracuz’s most famous restaurants and bars, Palacio sits right on the zocalo and is the perfect place to catch lots of traditional music. Marimba trios, merengue bands and whole bands of son jarocho singers and players wander the zocalo playing music for pesos. And even if you don’t want a personal serenade, you are bound to catch some of the action from a nearby table. Palacio is also known for getting livelier as the night goes on, so keep your dancing shoes on hand and keep drinking!
With regional specialities on the menu and plenty of alcohol to go around, Barrios de Jovel is a classic in a traditional neighborhood of San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. You can hear all kinds of traditional music here, including local marimba bands. It’s a family place with a lot of charm, and is perfect for enjoying a good menu accompanied by even better music.