Cantinas – history and folklore

Can the city’s history best be told in a bar? It certainly can in case of Mexico City! The cantina tradition is very much alive and is a cornerstone of Mexican cultural heritage. Travel back in time to the 1940s/50s and get a serving of folklore with your drink!

In the old days, no Mexican film seemed to be complete without the main character drowning his sorrows in a rudimentary, gloomy-looking bar. The overbearing machista atmosphere is vanishing, although you will still find many of the traditional cantinas predominantly male. They are a perfect refuge, with their simple décor, their ageing waiters and delicious shrimp soup (to cure your hangover) or botana to accompany your drink.

Traditionally, cantinas clients ranged from presidents and  revolutionaries to artists and unemployed. They still attract the domino-playing regulars, regardless of whether they’re bureaucrats, street vendors or youngsters looking for a retro night out.

Our favorite cantinas still have some swing left in their doors!


You’ll meet your guide around 19h30 and start the tour in the first cantina – where you’ll have a beer (or a non-alcoholic drink) on the house. The guide will walk you through the bars filled with history and anecdotes and in each of the 4 cantinas you visit you’ll have time to have a drink or order some botanas (appetizers)

Includes: hotel pick-up/drop-off, beer/drink on the house, traditional cantina meal, guide

Excludes: drinks (after the welcome beer)

Length: approximately 3 hours

Recommendations: Many cantinas don’t accept credit cards so make sure you have enough cash to buy drinks or food

Tour code: MMC1-Eng

Price: 450 MXN