The Top Bars in Guanajuato, Mexico
El Pípila overlooks the sprawling Mexican city of Guanajuato | © Amanda Ahn / dbimages / Alamy Stock Photo
The bar scene in Guanajuato is as colorful as the façades of the brightly painted houses here. The city is home to artisan beer gardens, bijoux wine bars and places that specialize in mezcal and pulque (a pre-Hispanic beer-like drink). Start an evening in Plaza de la Paz, and you can’t go wrong.
The interior of this gastro bar, near the Temple of the Company of Jesus, is all white and wood. Its cocktails, however, are much more colorful. Try the Cadillac-pink raspberry colada or the green gin parsley. For something a bit more Mexican, go for the mezcal – it’s served with worm salt and a side of grasshoppers. Or start off with Oajillo’s take on the Mexican michelada – it’s a cocktail glass of olives in a michelada sauce.
The cocktails have poetic names like Blood and Mint and Triple Orange at this modern bar, a five-minute walk from Plaza de La Paz. They’re styled with everything from orange rind twizzlers and shards of grapefruit to flower petals. As the name suggests, the best place to sip your drinks is on the rooftop terrace, where you can see crayon-colored houses spilling down the hillside in the distance.
Francisca Enoteca & Bar
It’s all about wine at this Borrower-sized bar, a five-minute walk from Plaza de La Paz. You can sip all sorts of Mexican, Argentinian and Italian varieties by the glass. There’s also a food menu at Francisca Enoteca & Bar. That’s an ode to wine, too. Take your pick from sharing platters of meats and cheeses that are designed to complement the drinks, or go for a unique dish, like rosé wine beef stew.
This grand cocktail bar, with its high stuccoed ceiling, dark-wood bar and plush velvet seating, is in the Barrio de La Presa, a five-minute walk from Presa de la Olla dam. They take their cocktails so seriously here that they have a fridge that’s just for keeping glasses at the perfect temperature. Not a cocktails person? The bar also offers a menu of 100 different gins.
The Beer Company
Bar, Beer, $$$
There are more than 300 craft beers on the menu at the Beer Company, near the statue of Don Quixote in central Guanajuato. Around a third of them are Mexican; some, like the Pinky Promise, are brewed less than an hour from the city center. You can try beers with flavors from coffee and nut to black truffle and grapefruit. On warm days, find a seat on the rooftop terrace, and sip your drinks with the sun on your face.
This yawning rooftop terrace bar overlooks the Plaza de la Paz and the red domes of the 17th-century Basilica of Our Lady of Guanajuato. The doors to this place open at 7pm, and evenings begin with cocktails – guest bartenders are often brought in to offer menus themed around concepts like essential oils. As the clock ticks towards closing time, drinkers become dancers, and trays of shots with sparklers as centerpieces start passing over the bar.
Bartola Sky Bar
The view from Bartola Sky Bar, near the Museum of Contemporary Art, stretches out over the historic monuments of central Guanajuato all the way to the mountains in the distance. Chic wicker-bucket chairs padded with plump cushions top the open-air terrace here. Start the night off with a cocktail – the matcha gin tonic, made with matcha and apple, comes highly recommended – and end it with a shot of one of the bar’s 20 mezcals or tequila.
The house special at La Clandestina, around the corner from Plaza de la Paz, is the Adela. Made from mezcal and a secret recipe of fruit juices, it’s served in a traditional terracotta jar and topped with chilies. The bar also makes its own range of flavored mezcals. They come in milkshake-like colors; options include chocolate, strawberries and cream, pistachio and even Oreo.
Located just around the corner from Plaza de la Paz, Fante Bar is the place to go to try pulque – a pre-Hispanic drink that’s made by fermenting the sap of the agave plant. Poured by the pint, it looks a little like skimmed milk, but it’s got the alcohol content of beer. At Fante, you can drink it as it comes. Or, if the original version is too bitter for you, try one of the flavored options like cookie, choco mango or honey.
Bar, Mexican, $$$
The rooftop terrace is the pulse point of this bar, a five-minute walk from Plaza de la Paz in central Guanajuato. This is the place to come to chase up cold beers with mezcal cocktails – like the tropical, made with pineapple, pepper and cucumber. Head here on weekends after 6pm, and you can sip your drinks to a soundtrack of live music or DJ sets.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Jack Guy.
These recommendations were updated on September 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.