Most of the better hotels have night clubs or cocktail lounges which are open to the public. There are plenty in the Zona Rio and downtown on Revolucion to choose from for all ages and interests.
Most of them have a piano bar or a small live band but also, on occasion, they will have "head-liner" entertainment that is pretty good. These smallish nightclubs are not as wild as you'd find on Revolution and cater to more mature--not old-- clientele or romantic couples.
Dress Code: Stylishly casual to evening wear.
I am a 29 year old, blonde, average size woman. We are quite common here in San Diego, but just one mile into Mexico I'm suddenly in the minority. I know what it feels like because I'm a boxing fanatic who regularly travels from S.D. to Tijuana to watch fights on the big screen. Why Mexico? I like watching the fight with a crowd. I love the energy and on the big screen. The boxers are life-size and the action is more vivid. Here in much of the U.S., bars rarely air them. When a bar even bothers to show a big fight they frequently charge a stiff cover. I prefer traveling down the coast to Tijuana. I frequent the great little digs of Monte Picacho, a contemporary cantina with statuesque face art, back lighting and a warm friendly staff. It lies in the center of the Plaza del Zapato (The shoe plaza). It's become my haunt at least twice a month. I have my special table and my drink made for me moments from when I come through the door. My spot is right in front of the Spanish speaking big-screen. Despite my mediocre Spanish, I seem to get by regardless. Sure, there are some other bars in the Plaza that air them in English, but I prefer, in the words of Snoop Dogg, "the real deal Holyfield". I'm a blond female fight fan in Mexico. I must stick out like a cactus in the arctic, but we're all there for the same reason; to share the love of great boxing. The sweet science is more than my favorite sport. It's a passion. On a recent trip down I watched the bout of Filipino Manny Pacquiao and Señor Erik Morales, a local citizen of Tijuana, Mexico. Morales's greatness cannot be questioned, yet it was heartbreaking seeing him knocked out for the first time in forty-three fights. Over time, in attending these ritual evenings, I've become partial to the Mexican boxers. I guess that happens. When in Rome, right? And when in Mexico root for the likes of Barerra, Chavez, Margarito, and even former Zarate.
There are many nightlife spots you may want to investigate, so to speak, when in Tijuana. By nightspots, I am speaking of places other than the sadly famed, Avenida Revolucion (The street where all the seediest bars and clubs are found).
La Plaza del Zapato (others call it something else)
I must say that my very favorite spot is 'La Plaza del Zapato' (roughly translated: the shoe plaza).
This place is unique in that it is a veritable bar mall. There are many bars there, 'Ah, jijo', 'El Sotano Suizo', 'Mi Barra', 'Cinque', 'Monte Picacho', etc. that appeal to every taste in music and ambiance. You can go in and out of all these places and mingle with many locals. This is not a touristy place, you get a taste of the local nightlife at a fraction of the cost you would at the more upscale spots in Tijuana, and safely say that you had a better time at the 'Plaza del Zapato'.
Dress Code: The dress code in the particular place I described just before, is thankfully lax. A great many nightlife spots in Tijuana have a somewhat ridiculous dress code. Some places require that men wear shirts with collars (the businessman type) and that no one person can wear tennis shoes.
The bottom line when it comes to dress code in the plaza is to dress fro a night of drinking. Get comfortable but look good, that's always important. Even if the dress code demanded board shorts and flip flops.
Oh my God. We went there Saturday night and had a wonderful time!!! I've grown kind of tired of the San Diego scene and was looking for something new. The Revolucion Scene didn't interest me that much, but here we found what we were looking for. We first ate dinner at La Revancha and their food was great and reasonable. They have a bar right next to the restaurant where a band starts playing around ten. This restaurant/bar is slightly east of Plaza del Zapato. Once we were fed and filled up on drinks we headed to Plaza Del Zapato and there are about 20 different clubs. If we wouldn't like one, we would head on to the next. They have all kinds of music and drinks are cheap (two drinks + 2 shots=$6 bucks), but the prices depend on where you go. I definitely had the feeling one waiter was taking advantage of me knowing that I didn't understand a word of spanish... People were super friendly and we made friends fast.
The taxi from there to the border is only $1 dollar per person (take the brown vans!!).
We had an unforgettable, awesome time and we'll be back soon.