The definition of "local" might be difficult to apply in this large city. There areas like around Condesa, Roma, Plaza Garibaldi and the Zona Rosa where there are concentrations of clubs, bars and restaurants, but they do not really offer a community pub feel. If by "local" you mean places with a strong Mexican flavor they are not uncommon because of the Mexican tourism to the big city, but paradoxically, as you might expect, lots of most popular clubs for Mexicans offer foreign music and decor. I have been in many places full of Mexican patrons where the entertainment or background music was not at all Mexican As in lots of cities, the action may pick up late at night (after 11PM) and go into the early morning. People often arrive and almost always leave by car. You should be aware that dark empty street areas just beyond tourist areas or outside drinking clubs and bars can be particularly dangerous late at night.
If you are traveling alone the risks are even greater. Although I think hiring a driver to wait might be a little extreme, the idea of making sure that you have a safe way back to your hotel is important. Most, if not all, respectable bars-restaurants-clubs will get you a safe taxi for return to your hotel. If you want go to a sleazy, clip joint type of place, you are alone, like to drink a lot, or are looking for riskier activities, then having your own driver probably would not be a bad idea.
Mexicans are generally friendly, but alcohol + weapons + machismo can cause things to get violent. You would probably have to be pretty aggressive to have any of this violence directed at you, but there is no glory in being the innocent injured bystander. This is more of risk at a grittier place of hard drinkers then your more common and attractive places in Mexico City.
Many tourists to Mexico City never really fully experience the nightlife of the city because they do not understand the timing of the activity.
Dress Code: Generally casual will be just fine.
- Budget Travel
More info coming soon
Dress Code: Most people were decently dressed but you don't need to be wearing a suit & tie to go in. Just some fashionable jeans, a nice shirt, a cool dress - that should be more than enough.
Address: Tamaulipas street, Condesa
Directions: Across the street from PATA NEGRA (please see my other tips).Related to:
- Women's Travel
This is going to be somewhat long so bear with me. I'll try to make it short, so here's an overview of why I would and would not recommend this place so you can make your own decision!!
PRO's: prices are quite decent, drinks are well served; no cover fee; good & varied music at least in the beginning, live music after midnite; got some food for free as a compensation for the lousy service and another little problem we had...
CON's: place is big but there's not enough space to dance, not many tables & chairs to sit down so you have to stand up most of the time; EXCESSIVELY crowded so if you get there after 10 PM you'll have to wait in line for a LONG time till it's your turn to come in even if your friends are already inside, and moving inside the local (including going to the restroom) is nearly impossible with all the people standing & dancing everywhere; band playing live music stuck to salsa and even after they left this is the music they kept playing for people to dance, so no more varied music to dance to; found a cockroach where we were sitting, EEWW!! Note: This was in 2009, but as of 2014 the crowding and conditions of the local were pretty much the same, as it seems that it's still a very popular place.
So here's the story: my friends got there at 9:45 PM, I arrived there shortly after and had no problem to go in although it was already crowded. However, we did not get a table assigned, just a spot next to some wooden steps attached to the wall where barely 3 of us could sit down while the others had to remain standing. We were 6 at the beginning and 3 more people were to join us. However, these last people had to wait in line outside for +1 hour because "it was not their turn to come in yet" - first come, first served - even though we were already expecting them. When a table was finally free for us, they wouldn't let us take it "because we were not 8 people yet" (we were 9, but 3 were outside!) so they gave it to someone else.
Dress Code: ...
Ok, so after a long time the 3 last people could come in. We drank, we danced, and after a while we saw a cockroach wandering all over our clothes & purses... YUCK!! We called the waiter on it, he talked to the manager and they sent us some free snacks to make up for it and for not helping us bring our extra friends inside quicker. But still, it was not a pleasant experience.
Prices are quite decent and you don't have to pay a cover fee, as in other bars of this area, so you can have a good time & dance without spending a fortune. Beware: it's too difficult to find a parking spot in this area, so it's better to go by taxi. There's a sitio right in front of this place so you can take a safe taxi when you come out as well.
People here were pretty relaxed in regards to the clothes they were wearing. Most people were wearing jeans & regular shirts/tops. There are many foreigners/tourists that come to this place, and since most of them are very relaxed when it comes to dressing they don't expect us locals to be particularly elegant either.
There are TONS of night clubs and bars in this area of the city but this is one of the most casual and cheap I'd been to so I went there again.... I don't know if getting there EARLY would make any difference in regards to the crowding, probably not, so it really isn't a place that I enjoy anymore.
Address: Tamaulipas & Nuevo Leon streets
Directions: Right on the corner of those 2 avenues, 2 locals away from the Irish Pub called "Celtics"Related to:
- Study Abroad
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La Jima is a place where you can both eat and drink, just have a good time with your friends and even play cards or other games while you listen to music, mainly pop from the 80's - 90's... You can even dance and the environment is cool. Prices are pretty fair, too -- actually this is one of the cheapest places you'll find to go out by night.
If you decide to eat something, try the Nueva España Fettucine (pasta), the Argentinian-style "Empanadas" (GORGEOUS) or any of their meat choices, they're good!! They also have a fair variety of alcoholic beverages/cocktails.
Dress Code: Just casual, whatever you wear you'll be welcome and they don't get too picky to let you in, as they do in other places.
I've visited the 3 different locations of this place and the attitude is pretty much the same in all of them. Perhaps the one in the southern part of the city is frequented by younger people, and the other 2 are rather for people around or over 30. But the style of the 3 sites is rather casual.
UPDATE: Apparently all of their 3 locations have been shut down.... that's too sad! Such a pity, it used to be a great place.
Directions: There are 3: POLANCO area (Anatole France st. almost on the corner w/ Masaryk), SAN ANGEL (south of town, on South Insurgentes Ave.) and SATELITE (Periferico highway, past Plaza Satelite shopping mall).Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
La Barraca Orraca is a restaurant from the same "family" (same owners) as La Vitrola, perhaps a little bit more "elegant", and has a separate bar area (which LA VITROLA doesn't have) where you can go and sit & chat & drink if you don't want to have dinner. They have great music here, mostly from the 80's and early 90's, although it's NOT live music and you can't dance in here (at least I didn't see anyone dancing). And the piñas coladas with MIDORI are just as good as those from LA VITROLA, or even better!
NOTE: This place still exists but has been taken over by La Destileria, which is a restaurant-bar of a very similar style.
Directions: Insurgentes Ave., near the NAPOLES neighborhood (close to World Trade Center building).Related to:
- Women's Travel
Note: As of 2014, apparently this place no longer exists :-( What a pity!
La Vitrola is a cool place, not the kind of place where you usually go to dance, but rather a place where you go have a drink, maybe even dinner in the late night, play some cards or dominoes and listen to live music of all kinds. There are few young people that visit this place (on week days anyway), it's rather people on their 30's and up that come here, but there's a nice atmosphere, food is fair (not great but good enough) and prices aren't too high. They serve the BEST piñas coladas ever in here (with MIDORI liquor)!!!
Dress Code: There isn't really a dress code to come here, dress up in whatever makes you feel more comfortable.
Directions: Acoxpa St., close to Tlalpan Ave. (south of the city); & there are 2 more of these restaurants in Insurgentes Ave., one close to the World Trade Center and another one on No. 1390Related to:
- Women's Travel
Garibaldi is a square located close to the Fine Arts Palace, in downtown, where there are a few bars (El Tenampa is the most famous one) and where MARIACHIS (Mexican traditional music bands) play Mexican music all night long. Nowadays it's much better organized and cleaner than a few years ago (it underwent refurbishment works in 2010); they even have a parking lot, a "sitio" (safe taxi spot) and it's not as dangerous to go there as it used to be a few years ago.
This is a very Mexican spot which you should see, especially if you appreciate Mexican music, culture & folklore!! Make sure you get there by taxi or with a local companion if going there by night, though, because it's still not a very safe place to walk late at night. The Tenampa and the square itself are open/working all day long, or so is my understanding, so you may go there anytime but I think it's nicer and more lively at night. You can hear mostly Mariachi and Jarocha music, and drink a few tequilas or whatever you want (they have some nice cocktails too). It's not too expensive (not the cheapest either, and if you want a specific song you have to pay for the music -- I usually just listen to whatever the other people ask for!) so you can have a few drinks for a decent price. They also serve a few things to eat -- the guacamole was very good!!!
Note: It's actually very funny that one of the most Mexican places you can find in town is named after an Italian hero, isn't it!? :)
Address: Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas
Directions: A few blocks away from Bellas Artes, towards the north.
- Arts and Culture
This is a really nice bar where you can hang with friends over drinks...and lounge. I really enjoyed this bar...the crowd is hip and really down to earth compared to some of the other bars in the area whose employees are total jerk! You will always find a friendly face and if you're the very social type...will have an entourage that will want to party with you way after the night is over! I went to Mexico City alone and left that bar with 4 friends! This place is awesome and it's in a very nice neighborhood! I highly recommend it. Its fun.
- Gay and Lesbian
If you want to go to a really nice disco in Mexico City, and you have around 25-35 years old Sens it’s the option. It is not in a Tourist area so most of the people who go are local, and it is not as the discos in Cancun, more like the ones in NYC or LA. This doesn’t mean there’re no foreign, however, most of them live here. Dress code is strict so put some nice clothes as if you go to a disco in Las Vegas (no sneakers or shorts). To get a table you must buy two bottles of any alcohol you want from (US$200-300). I love this place.
Dress Code: no sneakers or shorts, Jeans are Ok and shirt
Address: Paseo de los Tamarindos 90 inside Arcos Bosques
Directions: Bosques, near Santa Fe Area.
- Luxury Travel
This bar is within the NIKKO hotel, which is a luxury hotel located in the Polanco area. It's on the second floor (upstairs from the "El Jardin" restaurant, right above the main lobby bar area) and it's a bit hidden and not very well known. This is not a place for youngsters as it's rather quiet and posh looking. They do have live music (piano) every night but the lights are dim all the time so it's a place to talk and relax rather than to party and go wild. The decoration is amazing, beautiful and rich, all Irish/Scottish style with fine wood everywhere. The prices are high, as it is to be expected in a spot located inside a luxury hotel, but it's a nice one-time experience.
This place closes early, so get there before midnight or you will have to sip your drink in 15 minutes and leave (as we did because we got there by 12:30 and they were closing down). They are open since 4:30 PM, every day except for Sundays.
Dress Code: Rather casual, although the place is elegant.
Address: Campos Eliseos street, Polanco
Directions: Inside the NIKKO hotelRelated to:
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- Luxury Travel
A friend of my hubby's took us to this place because a jazz player recommended it to him. I didn't know about any nightlife spots in downtown so after visiting this one I thought I would write a review, even though I myself am not a jazz lover.... but here's the recommendation for those who are.
This is a rather smallish place, pretty dark, with a small stage where the bands play. There are different bands playing every night, from Wednesday to Saturday, starting at 10-11 PM. There's a cover fee which apparently changes every night -- we paid 300 MX pesos (about 25 USD) per person but it was the most expensive night of the week; the previous nights the fee had been quite lower (80 and 100 MX pesos) and I have no idea what it depends on: the band playing, Wednesday vs. Friday night (of course Friday is the most popular day), etc. The prices of the drinks and food served inside are on the reasonable side, the service is good. The music lasts for 90 minutes more or less. The place closes at about 2:30-3 AM.
Dress Code: Pretty casual.
Address: Motolinia 20, esq. Cinco de mayo
Directions: On the corner of Motolinia pedestrian street and 5 de mayo. Close to Allende metro station. You can park on 5 de mayo avenue without a problem. The door is rather tiny and not too visible.
Phone: +52 55 55123369
- Business Travel
This place offers a lot of options of entertainment but I go there principally to dance Banda music. There are a lot of promotions where entrance for women is free, 2x1 in beer etc.
Dress Code: Casual; better if you go with a cowboy shirt, hat and boots!
Address: Av. de los Maestros 6, Col. San Andrés AtencoAdd to your Trip Planner
I walked by this place with Laura (VTer Laura_Mexico) and she told me that it was one of the most popular bars in Coyoacan. The next day, my friend Adriana and I decided to hang out here and a have a few drinks (tequila, of course) on the patio outside. We shared some small appetizers and enjoyed a few tequilas and good conversation before moving on. The service was prompt and attentive, but not smothering and the waiter was good-natured as Adriana and I fought over the bill!
The tequilas were around 60 pesos each, so it's not the cheapest place in town, but not bad.
On weekends, there is a small cover charge and often music, but we were there on a Monday and there was no cover.
Dress Code: It's a laid back place so you can come as you are.
Address: Jardín Centenario 17
Phone: 55 5 658 5196
For the ultimate reference in terms of hot nightlife spots in Mexico City, head straight for the excellent Web site www.chilangolandia.com. You will find there the most extensive list of 'antros' that I know of, along with ratings and comments left by clubbers that obviously had more alcohol than blood in their veins when they wrote them! Not to be missed!
Beware: addresses listed are often wrong!
If you have the energy to go out at night after walking allllll day long, the this would be a great place to start. The place is loaded with bars, clubs and various sources of entertainment....but word of caution, BE VERY AWARE of YOUR SURROUNDINGS !!!!!! keep together in groups, try not to venture out by yourself (your just looking for trouble) beware of picketpockets. Very crowded at night, the Zona Rosa is great lots of fun with the right company !!!!
Directions: Zona Rosa
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