The Best Bars in San José del Cabo, Mexico

Coloured houses in a stunning golden hours time at the beach. San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur. Mexico
Coloured houses in a stunning golden hours time at the beach. San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur. Mexico | © Pascopix / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alex Robinson
27 September 2021

The hippest city on the Baja California Peninsula shakes things up with a late-night scene that serves crafts cocktails, mezcal, tequila and, of course, margaritas.

As the artsiest and most distinctly Mexican of the purpose-built tourist cities that fringe Baja California’s southern cape, San José del Cabo feels like a city people live in – rather than visit on their annual vacation. It has the best local shopping, restaurants and by far the greatest variety of bars. There are oceanside perches slinging mezcal-based cocktails with a sunset view, low-lit urban designer speakeasies and breezy, rural ranch-house bars where you can imagine Hemingway sipping a mojito or sampling a craft tequila.

SHOREbar

Bar, Mexican
Map View
Grand Mayan Shorebar Los Cabos
Courtesy of Grand Mayan at Vidanta Los Cabos / Expedia
A slice of Santa Monica in San José, SHOREbar replicates the formula beloved of Angelenos: a smart marble-topped long bar and an elegant and comfortable lounge area scattered with sofas sit under a wavy, wattle-roofed pavilion hung with lambent lights. All of this sits perched over a luxurious pool within champagne-cork-popping distance of the ocean. A vintage VW camper van (painted in beach stripes) sells classy snack food, and there’s a menu of long and short cocktails, which includes house margaritas and mojitos.

Baja Brewing Company

Bar, Mexican
Map View

Founded in 2007 by a coterie of friends from Colorado, this is Baja’s longest-established microbrewery, producing lagers, blonde ales, IPAs and stouts for export and a slew of beers only available locally, including a Raspberry Ale, seasonal stouts and fruit beers, barley wines and meads. All are served at the brewery’s pub, together with generous burgers, tacos and other bar snacks.

Drift

Bar, Mexican
Map View
Drift San José
Courtesy of Drift San José / Expedia
Open to non-hotel guests Thursday through Saturday, this boutique hotel bar is the spot to sample craft mezcals, microbrewery beers and Mexican wines, all lovingly researched and sourced by the proprietor. The modernist space looks like a Monocle magazine spread: an open-air courtyard in whitewash and raw concrete, dotted with pot plants, and a mezcal menu scrawled on the bar walls in chalk, next to a steer skull desiccated by the Baja desert sun. But it attracts a loyal local crowd – not just vacationing hipsters.

Zipper's Beach Bar

Bar, Mexican, $$$
Map View
With plastic chairs and tables sat under an awning, a no-frills burger and quesadilla bar menu and backpacker prices, Zipper’s is about as low budget as beachside San José gets. But it’s in a plum location – a hop, skip and a jump away from the surf on Playa las Palmas, home to some of the swishest big-name resorts in the area – and the bar serves pretty decent Mezcal cocktails and margaritas.

La Lupita

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Map View
Beautifully presented tacos at chic La Lupita
Beautifully presented tacos at chic La Lupita | © La Lupita
Lilac walls daubed with Day of the Dead skulls, globe lights hanging from the pallet-wood ceiling, live bands playing on the mezzanine and a young, alternative crowd: La Lupita is always lively, any night of the week. What’s more, it serves some of the best tacos in town – best washed down with craft beers, mezcals or tequilas from an impressive drinks list. Pourings come in traditional jicaras – hollowed-out gourds that hold plenty more than your average shot glass. Prepare to get merry.

Mixology

Bar, Mexican, $$$
Map View

If you want drinks and dancing, this open-air club in downtown San José is the local hot spot. It doesn’t get going until late, when DJs pump up the techno, but there are plenty of potent signature cocktails to get you fuelled up: the Rojo comes with Altos tequila, orange juice, lemon, cassis, morita chili and Angostura bitters; the Adrenalina is made with Havana 7 rum, coffee, pineapple juice, lime, bitters and elderberry syrup.

Rooftop at the Cape

Bar, Cocktails
Map View
Rooftop at The Cape
Courtesy of The Cape Thompson Hotel / Expedia
Drinks with a view? Come to the Rooftop at the Cape Thompson Hotel, where sunsets melt into the cobalt Pacific, and the bar has the only 360-degree view on the Baja California Peninsula. The tapas and cocktails are as good as it gets (order the signature Cape with basil and mint-infused mezcal, pineapple, grapefruit juice and Angostura bitters), and, on weekend nights, there’s live music and DJs.

Acre

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
Seating at Acre restaurantLos Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
MCTBRD Seating at Acre restaurant Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico | © Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock / Alamy Stock Photo
A designer farm-bar? It exists – at this sleek, modernist retreat in the hills behind San José. It’s worth visiting for the architecture – such as the wattle-walled tree houses perched in the palms and the neo-Frank Lloyd Wright concrete villas that merge into the landscape – alone. The cocktail bar-restaurant sits under the stars, with booths and astonishing house cocktails such as the signature Acre – made with the farm’s own mezcal and fragrant with Aperol, Cynar, jasmine and chocolate bitters.
These recommendations were updated on September 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Alex Robinson

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