Anthony Bourdain said it best, “Drink heavily with locals whenever possible.”
This is easily one of the best ways to get to know a people and an aspect of their culture. This is no exception for Tapatíos. Tapatíos are warm, fun-loving hosts that will open their arms and bars to anyone who wants to partake. So if you’re headed to Guadalajara, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the best old school cantinas this city has to offer.
Epigmenio González 1132, Mexicaltzingo, 44180 Guadalajara, Jal.
Located in the historic neighborhood of Mexicaltzingo, Cantina Morelia is your traditional working class cantina and dive bar with eccentric taste and lively patrons. Once upon a time, this was an all men’s club that was started in 1957. It eventually became open to women; and the story goes that if a woman took off her bra in the middle of the bar she’d drink free all night long. Patrons will see that the top of the bar is adorned with a wide array of brassiere.
We tried our very first yerbabuena cocktail which came with a heavy mix of tequila, vodka, lime, and a peppermint concoction. It was a great drink to start the night followed up by tequila shots and complimentary snacks (botanas) to keep something on your stomach.
Calle Nueva Galicia 911, Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
La Occidental offered a bit more space and is perfect for small parties. In addition to botanas (like popcorn) and a good bar menu, you will find a nice list of fruit cocktails for the picking. The seasonal ‘Coctel Occidental’ is the highlighted signature cocktail made with seasonal fruit. It was February when we visited, so we had passion fruit. The vibe is a bit more relaxed with sports on the nearest TV and music (coming from a red jukebox in the corner that looked older than me) that provides the soundtrack to the evening. Speaking of tunes, a mariachi for hire made his rounds offering 3 songs for $100 pesos (roughly $5).
Calle Pino Suárez 78, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
Another historic and famous cantina in the city has been known for being popular with politicians. La Fuente is right in the heart of downtown Guadalajara, only a half block away from Plaza de la Liberación. More or a middle/upper class cantina, well known, cultural anthems radiate throughout the walls of La Fuente accompanied by a piano. Luckily we were with locals who shared the meanings behind some of these spirited songs. Tables are widely spaced a part so bring a group of friends and enjoy the atmosphere.
Camina GDL is a passionate and knowledgeable group of local guides who put these legendary cantinas on our radar. Check out our full experience below.