Canteens, now known as bars, are a Mexican tradition and have been the refuge for intellectuals throughout history. What distinguishing factor makes a bar or canteen stand out? The music, the atmosphere, the decor, the service, its food and drink menu, etc. The experience is different for each person, but what’s essential is that it be a place you want to return to and, in a way, captures your heart.
Guadalajara offers a great variety of canteens, but we want to help you find the one that entices you, awakens new feelings for you, excites your senses, and captivates you forever, so you never get enough of it. Talk about a tall order, nevertheless, below is a carefully curated list of Guadalajara’s very best bars and canteens.
A dust-covered bicycle showing the passage of time hangs at the entrance, a piano sits in the center of the room playing ballads and typical ‘rancheras,’ wooden tables adorned with beer bottles and glasses with pours of tequila are just some of the charming details that make up the unique atmosphere of La Fuente, one of the most traditional and oldest canteens in all of Guadalajara. Since the 20s, this canteen has been famous for being the favorite hangout for journalists and politicians who would meet to discuss the social and economic dilemmas of the day.
The San Martin Bar proudly claims to be where the original Hierbabuena was born, an aromatic cocktail of yerbabuena (mint), which is very popular in the bars and canteens of Mexico’s second largest city, and its sangria is just as celebrated, but so are its tortas ahogadas as well as countless other traditional dishes.
With a friend, some good conversation, and a glass of Nalgas Alegres(“Cheerful Buttocks”), you will surely leave Los Equipales a happy camper. Since the second decade of the twentieth century, its handmade chairs have been the resting spot for people of all walks of life, from artists to soccer players. And an interesting tidbit: this used to be a men-only canteen.
Known as more of a high-end canteen, the Saloon del Bosque will captivate you with its ambiance and killer food. This canteen focuses on creating a quiet space that welcomes good conversation, so don’t expect any music but smokers rejoice as there is a dedicated terrace for you. The selection of snacks is something to behold as well.
The canteen that is always filled with office dwellers at the end of the workday is the Zapotlan Bar, which stands out from others for its traditional Mexican rockola music and that quintessential canteen vibe at a very reasonable price.
Tequila served in plastic bags with a plastic straw is the signature order from Lupita Cantina. Considered a favorite among the younger folk, where you can really let your hair down, drink, sing, and dance to every tune you can expect the DJ to bring out at your best friend’s wedding. This spot is a real neighborhood canteen, with a great selection of unique cocktails, such as the naguas de Lupe.
The culinary offering at Cantina La Sin Rival (Without Rival Canteen) is just as epic as its name would suggest. If you are going to have a mezcal, you should definitely do it where the legendary Pedro Infante once had a few drinks. It is the oldest, if not the oldest one that is still open since it first hit the scene in 1898, during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz.
The myth is that some Spaniards won Cantina La Iberia in a poker game during the Mexican Revolution of 1910, which was a time of gunmen, bets and ghosts. Although it has changed owners over the years, the Iberian legacy remains and that is where its name comes from. Its unparalleled and incredible myths and stories are among its greatest draws, in addition to its specialty – la batanga de Doña Chela. They say Pancho Villa himself passed through this canteen. Can you think of a better combination than friends, drinks and fantastic stories from the past?
Finally, a purely authentic canteen where you can laugh, celebrate and even cry. All this is possible at Mascus, where food, drinks and music are simply extraordinary. And if you look closely, you’ll find some artifacts from the past, like an old urinal curiously located under the bar.
If you plan to visit Guadalajara, you can stay at any of our five hotels located throughout the city: Hilton Guadalajara, Hilton Guadalajara Midtown, 1970 Hotel Posada Guadalajara-Curio Collection by Hilton, Hampton Inn by Hilton Guadalajara-Expo and the Hampton Inn by Hilton Guadalajara-Airport. Each property’s location is ideal for navigating this enchanting city and immersing yourself in all that it offers. And whether it’s work or pleasure that takes you to Guadalajara, don’t miss out on experiencing some of the city’s unique watering holes and make sure to choose your favorite.