The best bars and nightlife in Mexico City

As a Latin American mega-capital, Mexico City unsurprisingly offers the full range of hedonistic options at nightfall. A major arts and culture centre, its theaters offer world-class opera, ballet, pop and rock and its club scene ranges from all-night salsa to cutting-edge electronic music, often with a Mexican twist by local, but well-traveled, DJs. Chilangos, as Mexico City residents are called, love bar culture and their city is awash with options — from homey hole-in-the-wall to haunted speakeasies and cool jazz venues.

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Domingo Santo Rooftop Bar

For sunset or nighttime city views, you can’t do much better than the rooftop bar at the chic, expensive boutique hotel Santo Domingo, housed in a grand old block in the city centre. Whether you’re staying there or not, you can book a table and enjoy spectacular views across the Centro – including the building’s namesake, the Plaza Santo Domingo and the church. The bar menu includes some colourful dishes, with chiles in myriad forms, cactus leaves and ant eggs, which go well with the excellent cocktails. If you’ve had enough of mezcal and tequila, try a Clover Club, made with gin, lemon, raspberry and egg white. There are also plenty of tasty fruit-based non-alcoholic drinks.

Contact: 00 52 55 5130 3081;
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, 8am-9pm; Fri-Sat 8am-11pm; Sun 8am-7pm
Nearest metro: Fine Arts
Getting in: Reservations recommended, especially for the outdoor terrace

Domingo Santo Rooftop Bar, Mexico City

In summer it is particularly busy on the terrace of Domingo Santo

Cantina El Tío Pepe

This noble institution, one of the most unrestored old cantinas, has been here since the 1870s and is a fixture on any downtown cantina crawl. The handsome dark woodwork, stained glass and long, shiny red bar were once men-only and evoke a Mexico long since lost elsewhere. Today’s clientele includes vintage cars, couples and weary police officers. Drinks are hipster-averse, so don’t ask for a funky cocktail; stick to fernet and coke or straight tequilas and hunter beers. There’s no food, but wandering vendors sell peanuts and fava beans. William Burroughs is said to have alluded to this “cheap cantina” in his heroin-laced novel-cum-memoir Junky.

Contact: 00 52 55 5521 9136;
Opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sat, 12pm-11pm; Fri, 12:00 – 23:30
Nearest metro: San Juan de Letran
Getting in: By appointment only

Cantina El Tío Pepe, Mexico CityCantina El Tío Pepe, Mexico City

Founded in the 1870s, Cantina El Tío Pepe evokes a Mexico long gone elsewhere


A jazz club in the basement makes a city. Located in the vault of a former bank, this busy venue hosts great Mexican and visiting jazz bands and/or soloists most evenings. The intimate space is ideal for trios or smaller, and you can grab a stool at the bar and be just 15 feet from the end of the trombone. The food is more comfort than gourmet, but the drinks are great – Manhattans, Sazeracs and other classics mixed quickly but without frugality. There are also some good wines, including Mexican white wines.

Contact: 00 52 55 5512 3369;
Opening hours: Wed-Sat, 8:30pm for 9pm shows, late
Nearest metro: Allende
Prices: £
Getting In: Reservations essential

Zinco, Mexico CityZinco, Mexico City

Housed in the vault of a former bank, Zinco is Mexico City’s best jazz club – Rafael Arriaga Zazueta/RAFAEL ARRIAGA


Fifty Mil

Red leather stools, red velvet lounge chairs, dark woodwork, fantastic mixologists… what’s not to like about Fifty Mils, a cocktail bar so sophisticated and hip that it really shouldn’t be part of a Four Seasons hotel. The menu features ten classics and ten new creations, including a gin with carrot juice and chili bitters, a ‘Margarita Extraordinaria’ with Aperol, cardamom and pepper and a Manhattan served in a hollow ice ball that is split open with a spoon. Tequilas and mezcals from the smallest makers are served as large shots or in cocktails.

Contact: 00 52 55 5230 1616;
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 12:00-02:00; Sun, 12:00-00:00
Nearest metro: Seville, Chapultepec
Prices: ££
Getting In: Reservations necessary

Fifty Mils, Mexico CityFifty Mils, Mexico City

Come to Fifty Mils for the great atmosphere and delicious cocktails served in a creative way

Roma North

Licoreria Limantour

At this laid-back, dimly lit, two-tiered cocktail cathedral in bustling Roma Norte, a small army of skilled mixologists draw on a vast selection of rums, tequilas and mezcals, among other spirits, to create striking, exploratory drinks. Mr Pink mixes gin, citrus and rosemary syrup, while a house original, the Margarita al Pastor, is inspired by tacos al pastor – that is, a kind of Mexican döner. Both this outpost, which is the original, and a newer location in the Polanco neighbourhood (Oscar Wilde 9) have an art deco feel – refined-but-cool spaces that are popular with locals and visitors alike.

Contact: 00 52 55 4098 4653;
Opening hours: Thu-Sat, 6pm – 2:30am; Sun-Tues, 6pm-12pm; Wed, 6pm – 1am
Nearest metro: Children Heroes, Rebels
Prices: €£
Getting in: Reservations essential

Licoreria Limantour, Mexico CityLicoreria Limantour, Mexico City

Popular with locals and visitors alike, Licoreria Limantour attracts them with a skilled army of mixologists

Mamba Rumba

Casual, fun, late-night salsa and Latin rhythms keep this intimate venue humming until 3am four nights a week. Roma Norte may be gentrified and somewhat homogenized, but the MCs here are proudly Latin. Live bands play hour-long sets, with lots of brass and crazy percussion, and take a half-hour break to grab a cocktail or beer. Aim for a seat on the upstairs balcony to enjoy the dancing and study the Cuban masters who come to strut their stuff. Lessons start at 9pm.

Contact: 00 52 55 5564 6920; Facebook page
Opening hours: Wed-Sat, 9pm-3am
Nearest metro: Insurgents, General Hospital
Prices: €
Getting in: No trainers, no coverage from Wednesday to Thursday

Mamba Rumba, Mexico CityMamba Rumba, Mexico City

If you want to practice your salsa while enjoying live Latin melodies, Mamba Rumba is the right place

Patrick Miller

Here, as elsewhere, dance venues open and close monthly. Patrick Miller, who has been spinning beats for 20 years, predates Roma’s reinvention as hipster central, and continues to impress clubbers – which here means yuppies, taxi drivers, dance fiends, old farts and a few hipsters – who come for 80s, 90s or 2000s-themed nights. The dress is casual, the neon, strobes and giant disco ball are ironic, and the drinks – just beer and water – are pretty cheap. But be prepared to queue. And to sweat – it gets very hot. LGBTTQQIAAP-friendly.

Contact: 00 52 55 5511 5406; Facebook page
Opening hours: Friday, 10am – 3am
Nearest metro: Insurgents
Getting In: No dress code

Patrick Miller, Mexico CityPatrick Miller, Mexico City

Patrick Miller was previously busy reinventing Roma as a hipster center and continues to amaze clubgoers


Jules cellar

This dimly lit speakeasy, buried in an unassuming taco parlor and accessible through a sliding refrigerator door, is one of those places to drink right now. The decor is sci-fi angular, all gray and white—with giant skulls thrown in for good measure—but when the dozen or so tables are full, it doesn’t feel cold at all. Cocktails are its raison d’être: a standout drink has to be the Mezcal Negroni, made with cinnamon-infused Campari, chile de árbol, orange bitters, coffee, and vermouth. Also on offer are Mexican craft ales and Champagne. Charcuterie platters are also on sale, and tacos can be brought in from upstairs. There’s live jazz on Tuesdays.

Contact: 00 52 55 5280 1278;
Opening hours: Tue-Sat, 8pm-1am
Nearest metro: Polanco
Prices: €££
Getting In: Booking essential

Jules Basement, Mexico CityJules Cellar, Mexico City

The decor of Jules Basement is sci-fi angular, all gray and white – with giant skulls thrown in for good measure



It’s fake, it’s absurd, it’s silly, but it’s quintessential Mexicano. Lucha Libre, now widely exported, really feels at home here – and the 16,500-seat Arena México at Colonia Doctores is the temple of scum and garish tights, where men in masks with names like Samson, Mystic, Titan , Volcano and, not to be too macho, Marcela, crash into each other, grunt and grunt, feign death, and perform dangerous acrobatics while the crowd screams, sucks on chilled Dos Equis and chows down burritos. VIP seats can be booked in the Freedom bar, which is also ideal for families.

Address: Dr. Lavista 189
Opening hours: Varies, from 5 p.m
Nearest metro: Cuauhtemoc
Prices: €£

Lucha Libre, Mexico CityLucha Libre, Mexico City

Watching Lucha Libre is one of the essential travel experiences you must have in Mexico – Morgan Lane Studios/viafilms


Xochimilco Night Tour

On the southern flank of the city, 22 kilometers from the Zócalo, lies this preserved stretch of canal and garden that dates back to pre-Hispanic times, when floating chinampas (raised beds) were used to grow food. They are still in use and trajineras (gondolas) are used to take groups of up to 20 people on day and night tours. On weekends there is a party atmosphere and after sunset couples, families and friends enjoy drinks and food under the night sky. Tequilas are knocked back and mariachi or marimba bands from Veracruz serenade the gondolas. It’s as cheesy as a quesadilla, but a whole lot of fun. Xochimilco was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and has a market and a few historical sites, including a remnant of Lake Tenochtitlan, plus a number of pulquerias – basic bars with pulque, a milky firewater made with maguey.

Contact: 00 52 55 5555 7852;
Opening hours: 24 hours, including guided tours until 6am; gondola rides last 1-5 hours
Nearest metro: Tasqueña, where you get it from train light (light rail system) to Xochimilco
Prices: ££ (extra: drink and private live band)

Xochimilco, Mexico CityXochimilco, Mexico City

The landscape around Xochimilco is characterized by canals and trajineras (gondolas)

How we choose

Every bar, venue or experience in this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, who has visited to give you his insider’s perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from casual pubs to exquisite cocktail bars – to best suit every type of traveler – and take service, drinks, atmosphere and price into account in our recommendations. We update this list regularly to stay informed of the latest openings and to provide up-to-date recommendations.

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