Cantinas are a way of life in Mexico. They are ideal spots for long lunches and late nights for people of all types and ages. If there is one place in Mexico City where the cantina culture is strong, it is the capital’s downtown area, Centro Histórico. The six following establishments (all famous and old) are well-worth visiting if you are looking for a local experience.
Visiting this cantina (restaurant-bar, in fact) is worth it, if anything, for its decoration, location, and Mexican eighties hits. The service and drink menu are top-notch. The cantineros love to talk, so it doesn’t matter if you go alone.
Address: Venustiano Carranza 49
El Tío Pepe
The best kind of cantina: golden lintels, mint-colored walls, wine-colored cabinets, and a long crimson bar—behind it, an old man in a tie is always serving drinks. As for the food, the usual suspects are served such as tortas and rice dishes. For whatever strange reason, very few people know it, despite having appeared in ads and movies.
Address: Independencia 26
This spot is very, very famous—one of those places that you have to visit at least once in your life. Nothing in its ordinary façade announces the eccentricity of the drinks in this cantina. As for the rest, the place is comfortable, and they serve a decent selection of tortas. Getting tipsy here is kind of a given.
Address: Mesones 20
El Gallo de Oro
This cantina grills a good piece of flank steak, but the cazuelas buffet on Saturdays is the grand hit: molitos, chicharrón stews, meatballs served in broth. An undeniable joy for just about anyone.
Address: Venustiano Carranza 35
Los Portales de Tlaquepaque
At this cantina, you can find a sensational jukebox, hospitable bartenders, a few well-served drinks at a good price (always ask about beer promotions), and dishes like pork in morita, chicharrón in red sauce, fried mojarras.
Address: Bolivar 56
For decades, the same bureaucrats have been coming to this cantina, singing the same songs. The space is enormous and, nevertheless, the service is always spot-on. Be sure to try their delicious snacks. Speaking of, if it’s on the menu, order the rice dish: arroz a la jardinera.
Address: Bolívar 142
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Other posts that may interest you:
Five Mezcal Bars in Mexico City You Must Visit
The Guide to Rooftops in Mexico City
Tardan: the Iconic Hat Shop in Centro Histórico