Av Independencia 26, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Sometimes the best way to get to know a city is by taking a tour through its oldest and most historical watering holes (“a pub crawl” in modern terms), and in Mexico City, the historical center in downtown has a numerous collection of those types of places. One of which is the Cantina del Tío Pepe (“Uncle Pepe’s Cantina) which is one of the city’s oldest cantinas with over 140 years of history and has seen several national and international artists and famous politicians walk through its doors, it’s even said that William Buroughs wrote about this “cheap cantina” in Junky.
Its clientele consists of mainly loyal patrons who appreciate a little time off from their daily schedules to imbibe a cold beer or a soothing warm tequila, old patrons come in with their wives in tow or local office workers can be found enjoying a drink by themselves or with their group of coworkers, as well as the occasional young couple sharing some quality time in this old venue. Drinks are simple, like a “paloma” (tequila with sprite), the traditional Cuba libre (rum and coke), and your basic vodka and gin-based cocktails, along with the traditional fernet with soda. There’s no food available although it’s typical to see the local food vendor making the rounds selling peanuts and fava beans for $20 pesos. The staff is old and experienced and are known for their charm and attentiveness.
The Cantina del Tío Pepe is a block away from the Palacio de Bellas Artes and within the Chinatown of Mexico City, Metro stations “Bellas Artes” and “San Juán de Letrán” are a stone throw’s away (more specifically, a couple of blocks) and although the bar is quaint, it’s full of charm and vintage in its style, from the bright red wooden bar to the stained glass backdrop, it’s the kind of place to walk in as a stranger from out of town and ask for a refreshment at the bar and relax for an hour or two as part of a much-needed break from the rest of your sight-seeing in downtown.
The Cantina del Tío Pepe has been a haven since 1878 for jocular story-telling, joke-sharing, and camaraderie, it’s easy to make acquaintances and new friends when the place is packed, plus it’s good to know that its prices are relatively inexpensive. So for a new, but at the same time familiar, experience in the historic center, you might want to cross those wooden swinging doors at the entrance yourself.
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