Photo: courtesy of Teclan
The Best Bars in Mexico City
It’s not all about tequila and mezcal. Frozen margaritas, sweet palomas or shots with lime do not represent what it’s like to drink in Mexico City - or other cities in the country. Ten years ago, it was inconceivable that this city that venerates long drinks (Cuba Libre, everywhere) would be seduced so deeply by cocktail culture - and better than that, would make it their own. In the last few years, there have been dozens of new bar projects and with them a burst of creativity and quality.
Great ideas and lots of talent - more than big budgets - is the formula that raised the bar after the pandemic. Everything arrives in its moment, and the moment of Mexican bars is now, with clients that finally understand this world of creative drinking, craving more innovation, new flavours and always willing to have a good time; clients that appreciate bartenders who travel around the world learning global trends. And professionals who deeply understand local and ancestral ingredients and spirits. Mexican nights have it all: passion, knowledge, lots of fun, unforgettable flavours and wonderful people.
Here is a list of the places that are changing the way we drink in Mexico - and maybe in all of North America. While some of them are not in the North America’s 50 Best Bars list,together they show how bars can mix culture with great taste and show us the future.
This bar changed the rules when it opened 11 years ago. It was the first well-known cocktail bar in the country, and in a very short time it began to make noise worldwide. It was named the Best Bar in North America in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2021, and it is ranked number 3 in the new North America’s 50 Best Bars list. Why? I would say that you need to visit it and see for yourself. Sit at the bar, ask for a mezcal stalk and just go with the flow. Limantour feels like home, to locals and visitors alike. A home with great music, good people and amazing drinks.
We call this tiny beautiful bar ‘la isla’ (the island) in the centre of Condesa neighbourhood. Inspired by Charles Darwin's travels in the Galapagos Islands, it is intimate and always experimental with drinks. The kind of bar you want to visit all the time. In the months following the lockdowns, it became known for its Martes de martini (martini Tuesdays), created by recognised bartender Jose Luis León. A night that reunites cocktail lovers around an iconic cocktail, celebrating good company, and this classic and refined drink. It ranks at number 7 on the North America’s 50 Best Bars list.
This speakeasy opened its doors just a year ago and instantly became a favourite of cocktail lovers. It is classy, with great service and possibly the best drinks in town. Its perfectly executed and technically advanced recipes created a new standard for cocktail bars in the country. Ty the fig martini or the very particular clarified piña colada to understand why. It is number 2 on the North America’s 50 Best Bars list.
In Zapotec, Ticuchi means ‘bat’, a very important animal in Mexico, as it fertilises the agaves and keeps away the plague. This beautifully designed bar simulates a ‘cave’, with all-black walls and a cenote-like skylight in the ceiling, and specialises in Mexican spirits. It not only offers an amazing list of special editions and spirits directly from the producers, but also has a wonderful team that offers an impeccable and amazingly knowledgeable service. The menu of unique margaritas, playlists of classic Latin American music, sugar-free cocktail list and amazing food makes Ticuchi a must-visit.
This speakeasy became a classic in a very short time. The sophisticated decoration and atmosphere, together with the great playlists, are a perfect mix. Let’s add a great bar team, good cocktails and the feeling of being in a hideaway and we get the unique experience of Hanky Panky.
This magnificent house was constructed at the end of the 19th century. In 2012, it became a bar recognised for its fine selection of absinthes. But Artemisia is much more than a beautiful venue or a repository of original absinthe. It is a truly classic bar of the city, a place that gathers people from the industry as well as foreign visitors. Drinks are always on point and now they are revitalising the bar team, which means many great nights and lots of surprises are coming to Artemisia.
The new mezcaleria in town welcomes you in with a strong scent of copal, an ancestral resin used for purification rituals. It wafts out of a bar of stone and shadows, with no bottles on the back bar. The cocktail menu is short, but those drinks can be one of the best mezcal cocktails you’ve ever tried. Imagine a colourful peach and chile serrano margarita, or a great mezcal martini with hints of vanilla bean. Cumbia music and delicious local snacks make this a bar that celebrates México in every detail.
Kaito del Valle
One of the biggest evolutions of the bar industry in Mexico City in the last years has been seeing more women taking charge of bars. Kaito is a bar ruled by very talented women, professionals that are constantly innovating with fusions of ingredients and presentations that are changing the industry. The combination of sake and other Asian flavours with indigenous Mexican ingredients create results that are always surprising. It is likely that after some drinks you will want to get one of their karaoke rooms, so beware. It’s the magic number 13 on North America’s 50 Best Bars list.
This is the kind of locals' bar you find by recommendation (well, take this as a big recommendation). Humble, easy and intimate, Café Tacobar is a small bar with no pretensions - just good drinks and good tacos, a dreamy combo. Salmoncito, spicy margarita and carajillos are the best sellers here, but there are many more to explore because the cocktails are just the best of best.
Café de Nadie
Music is powerful, and this is the perfect example of how important this element can be in a bar. With a collection of more than 1,500 records, this bar located in the heart of the Roma neighbourhood creates a unique atmosphere, with drinks inspired by natural and organic elements. It’s 15th on the list of North America's 50 Best Bars.
A cozy bar located in a chill area that quickly became the favourite of the Cuauhtémoc neighbourhood. It’s a good place to find refreshing spritzes and a good selection of amaros, which were not common in Mexico before the boom of cocktail bars. The sense of community, and very fine spirits make this a must-visit bar.