Just happened to stumble upon this very interesting site for insider tours by locals. While I’m not exactly even a temporary local…yet…let’s just say I do personally know two cantinas in town with no signs but featuring 15 peso cervezas y live musica! And no, one of them is not the overrated La Cucuracha!
First of all, you need to have a bit of chutzpah to walk into a real Mexican cantina as a single gringa. Remember that Mexico is still a machismo culture and you will not see solo Mexican women there. Or they will only be behind the bar serving.
But if you are brave enough to clear that hurdle I do recommend common sense and only going in broad daylight. After dark, go with another amiga o amigo. Why court trouble? Basically being over 50 and on your own there is absolutely no category for you and you are invisible which suits me just fine as a keen observer of human condition anywhere. Even as a child, I stood on the edges of the playground just watching until sometime ( most often my mom) chided me into joining the group of children playing.
Secondly, order your cerveza at the bar using your Spanish then find a table at the back or the side where you can quietly drink your beer and absorb the ambiance ( our lack thereof). On my last day in Mexico last winter, I was happily quaffing my Sol con limon when the empanada seller spotted me and came over. Freshly made for only 8 pesos each. Got two. Instant supper.
What really made my last day in San Miquel so special, though was the in cantina four piece band coming right over to my table to ask me if I would like them to play a song. I could even pick it. Two or three songs for 50 pesos. There was an accordion player, a drummer, a guitarist and a lead singer. The youngest member of the band rattled off a list of songs I didn’t know, I picked two at random and they launched right into them! I told them I was returning to Canada and they gifted me with an additional ballad. I gifted them with a propina/tip.
Unfortunately, the battery on my phone was just about spent or I would have recorded my personal last-day-in-Mexico serenade! But here are just a few pictures I was able to take just before my screen went black.
Actually, I have to keep looking for the actual cantina pictures in my archives but here’s a frosty Michalada to keep you company while I do. A cantina WITH an exterior sign, the appropriately named Beer Company on Zacateros Calle features these refreshing concoctions and are handy dandy to the always interesting if over priced Saturday Organic Market.