The Best Bars In Mexico City
photo credit: Andrew Reiner
Until recently, a lot of the interesting drinking you could do in Mexico City was mostly in restaurants with great cocktail lists and liquor selections. But more and more cocktail-focused spots are opening up around town, and they're serving a lot more than solely tequila and mezcal (though you can certainly get those, too). Whether you’re looking for a fancy cocktail spot, a natural wine bar, a not-cheesy speakeasy, or a full-on party scene, here are our favorite places to grab a drink.
If speakeasies are your thing, visiting Handshake is basically a requirement. It's the best one in Mexico City, and the cocktails are fantastic (order their fig martini and you’ll wonder why this drink isn’t being copied everywhere). Plan on starting or ending your night here—the space is dark, the drinks are strong, and you can grab a few tacos on the street when you leave. Just make sure to book ahead, as reservations are mandatory.
Sometimes, a dirty martini just tastes better at a hotel bar, and Fifty Mills at The Four Seasons is where you go to prove that hypothesis. Even though the bar is inside one of the nicest hotels in town, it’s not uptight—the staff is friendly whether or not you have a room key, and no one will make a fuss if you show up in sneakers. This is still $18-cocktail territory, but it’s less pricey than what you’ll find at most hotel bars.
Ladina Bar feels like a step-up from your standard dive—it’s dark, with a relaxed and easy vibe, but the floors aren’t sticky and there aren’t any wobbly bar stools on their last legs. You’ll find a small beer and wine list, but you’re really here for the cocktails: they make a great Manhattan and an even better Naked and Famous. It’s open until 2am, so order one of each, wave to the person dancing enthusiastically to “Born In The USA” at the other end of the bar, and see where the night takes you.
In another city, the idea behind Bar Las Brujas could feel overly kitschy. But in CDMX, it’s pitch perfect. Their all-female staff is lovingly referred to as a coven, cocktails are inspired by feminist writers and activists, and their dedication to Mexican herbalism goes beyond garnishing your drink with a single sage leaf. But none of that comes off heavy-handed here. Instead, you can expect more of a refined hotel bar atmosphere. It’s dimly lit and cozy and can get a bit loud, but that just means you can discuss your secret potion recipes without anyone overhearing.
Quaint and cute is the best way to describe Baltra, which feels like a neighborhood institution even though it’s only been open for less than a decade. Cocktails are the move here (our favorite is the Old George Sour with tequila, absinthe, cucumber, and cardamom), but they also have some great wines by the glass and a few craft beers. This Condesa spot only has a few tables and barstools, making it better for a date than big groups. They're open until midnight during the week and 2am on the weekends, so come for a nightcap with someone you want to sit close to.
Ticuchi is one of the most dramatically lit bars in Mexico City, but not in the it’s-actually-pitch-black-in-here speakeasy kind of way. Instead of tiny votives, the primary light source is a huge skylight that shines down on a bunch of potted plants. They have some excellent artisanal mezcals on the drink menu, but our favorite cocktail is actually the tequila-based Silver Rush with fermented honey, lemon, and bee pollen. Chefs prepare a mostly vegetarian, corn-focused food menu in an open kitchen you can see from the street.
If you’re looking for mezcal cocktails, or drinks made with less common agave spirits like lechuguilla or bacanora, Tlecan is your spot. All of the drinks are made with Mexican ingredients like chile or hoja santa, and they have a great, albeit small, food menu, too. We like the tuna tostadas and their take on burrata, which is actually made of queso oaxaca and requesón. It’s (mostly) standing-room only with just a few stools, which is a great excuse to bop around the bar and chat with some strangers.
Loup was one of the first natural wine bars to open in Mexico City, and it’s still one of the best for unexpected, funky wines—their list is well-curated, with small-batch bottles from all over Europe. The food menu is small, but you can definitely have a full meal here: the juicy wagyu flank steak with perfectly creamy mashed potatoes is the standout entree. If you’re only sort of in a wine mood, ask for a vermouth spritz with a splash of pet nat.
If you’re having dinner at Em, your next move should be a martini upstairs at 686 Bar. Waiters wear crisp white jackets, and there’s a bit of a 1950s energy to the moody, retro space. And while it doesn’t attempt to be a proper restaurant, they do make an extraordinary burger, which might be a good idea for a second dinner after you’ve had two or three of those martinis.
If you attempt to make weekend plans with anyone from Mexico City, Caiman will most certainly be included in the conversation. This is your typical one-size-fits-all bar that’s great for any type of occasion. It’s also one of the few “real bars'' (as in: not a restaurant bar) in Condesa, which is great if you’re just looking to have a few drinks without committing to food. Expect a mix of effortlessly well-dressed locals and tourists with everything from ice cold coronitas to negronis in their hands.
You probably didn’t have “German beer garden” on your Mexico City bingo card, but this unexpected spot is one you don’t want to miss. Sure, the food menu definitely includes bratwurst, but there are also Mexican beers on tap, and, fairly often, DJs spinning reggaeton and Mexican cumbia. Grab a table outside (there’s a retractable roof for when it rains), order a few pints and some barbeque chicken wings, and catch whatever game’s playing on the big TVs.
During the day, Jardín Paraíso is a casual place to grab a beer under a shady palm tree. But at night, it turns into a nightclub with live DJs and at least one person who will try to dance on your table. It gets crowded between 10 and 11pm, so arrive early for your best chance at getting in. If you and your group are planning to come later in the evening, make sure you have a reservation or are extra nice to the doorman.