Bars and Boozehalls
Café No Sé publishes this magazine, so it should come as no surprise that it gets top billing from The Insider. Come on down and see us. We’ve got live music almost every night, debauchery is encouraged and sins are forgiven. More than that, we’ve go a new bar that’s 15 feet of hardwood, comfortable stools, smart bartenders and hot chicks. What more could you want?
Also, be sure to try some Ilegal Mezcal while you’re here. We make it in Oaxaca, smuggle it across the border, serve it to our customers and watch as their worlds change.
Café Sky is the place to be for sunsets in Antigua. Their roof terrace offers clear views of all three volcanoes, their frozen drinks can’t be beat. Arrive early, as the terrace seats go quick. After sunset, head downstairs to the bar and lounge for a bite to eat (go for the Filet Mignon) and a chat with either Tom or Cris, they’re both great guys.
What a neighborhood joint should be. Great music, mostly classic rock, and always at least one sexy bartender who will allow you to fall in love with her right up until the time she tosses you out on your ass. Our favorite part of the bar is the mix of locals and ex-pats always ready to bend your ear or have theirs bent.
Rainbow Café: The Rainbow Café is an Antigua institution – they’ve been here for 16 years. For all that time they have served locals and travelers delicious meals and great booze in a relaxed atmosphere. Their stage provides a venue for local and traveling musicians and every Tuesday night at 5:30 the Rainbow hosts a lecture on topics of local, regional and global interest. Sometimes it’s a presentation by a local NGO, sometimes a social history lesson – but always compelling and thoughtful. Live music starts nightly at 7:30.
Reilly’s provides the gear for a proper night on the piss. They serve excellent pub grub to help you form the all important base of stomach settling carbs so you can get sloppy at the right pace. Their motto, “Come as Strangers, Leave as Friends,” is lovely, but not entirely accurate. Our edit would be, “Come as Strangers, Stagger Home as Friends.”
Do not miss the weekly Pub Quiz. Sunday evenings, 6:30PM.
Fairly new joint in town, and one of our favs. JP, the owner, is from New Orleans and brought down a love for good booze and amazing food. The bowl of jambalaya is, simply, the best deal in town. During the day, JP also runs a language and a cooking school from the same locale.
If you’re over on the west side of town looking for a chill place to hang, down some drinks and get a filling feed that won’t break the bank, check out our friends over at El Chaman. In some ways, they are a great compliment to their east side companeros at Café No Sé – but they’ve also got their own very cool vibe going on. Tell ‘em we sent ya.
The bossman at the Bistrot has just done some remodeling, and while we don’t know dick about Fung Shui, we do know the importance of bar placement and business flow – the Bistrot bar has always been a great place to get loose, but their new ambience (combined with the best happy hour deals in town) have made it even more fun for the local loons. Come on by and see us between 6 and 8 PM if you want to catch the drink and food specials.
If the enticing Caribbean vibe doesn’t get you through the door, the best coffee in Antigua, soups of the day, and free Wi-Fi surely will. Piña brings you the best jugos, crepes and mate anywhere between Paris and Buenos Aires. Infused Rum and Ice Cold Beer are the absolutely perfect way to finish your day or start your night.
Nothing in town can hold a candle to Panza Verde for ambiance and atmosphere. Perfectly romantic spot for an anniversary, birthday, or if you just really want to get laid. Excellent service and quality preparation. Complimented by the finest selection of single malts in Central America.
We love the food, we love the bar, we love the staff, we really love the martinis – ask for ‘em “sucio como mi ex-novia” for a special treat. The menu is classic French bistro fare – steak frites, french onion soup, creme brulee. Don’t miss it.
High quality Japanese cuisine with a touch of Latin infused for attitude and accent. The Mango No Come Mango roll is out of this world.
Very interesting, and fairly new joint in town. Como Como offers a creative French /Belgian menu in a very relaxed atmosphere. Chef and co-owner, Eric, prepares practically everything at the time of order. Don’t pass it up. Great place to dine, but also to hang in the afternoons and evenings in their garden.
The dream of La Peña de Sol Latino started decades ago when a musicians’ collective began to play ethnofusion music around Central America. Out of the collective grew a bar/restaurant – the result of which is one of Antigua’s gems. Fantastic booze and eats – along with music every night that will charge and chill your traveler’s soul.
La Esquina is a relatively recent open and it brings great energy and elegance to the local scene. The menu is both classic and creative (por ejemplo: linguini in an onion and saffron cream….it’s frickin’ delicious!). Also worth noting: the bartenders and the wait staff are all knockouts. They say this wasn’t planned. We don’t believe them.
It’s Antigua’s home of stray dogs and boozy eyed dreamers, but what is often missed by folks just passing through town is the eats. The Mexican cuisine has been perfected on their new menu. Tacos, pulled pork burritos, hand crafted hot sauce and more. Great place to meet travelers, artists, musicians, ex-pats, locals and the insane.
It’s a 15 minute drive out of town but lots of locals make a trek to Earth Lodge for dinner. Drew and Bri take great care of their guests – making some of the best vegetarian meals we’ve ever had. Meat dishes are available on request, just let them know when you call to make reservations.
Recent arrivals in Antigua might not know that there is a HUGE difference between Guatemalan and Mexican cuisine. The Guatemalan palate is more tender and the spicing of their dishes more subtle, theirs is a tendency towards a finer bouquet… Oh, screw it… Guatemalans hate spicy food, so if you want a bit of fire you need to go Mexican, and the best place in town to do it is Fridas. Go Now!
If you’re feeling a bit peckish in the middle of the day, drop on by Luna de Miel for the best crepes in town. The atmosphere in their lounge is muy tranquilo and if the Guatemalan heat is wearing you thin, their Rosa de Jamaica tea can’t be beat. It’s also a great place to pick up travelers’ tips and hang for a few hours while cutting your Spanish classes.
Picture Homer Simpson standing with his face pressed up against a plate glass window, his voice tremulous and halting, only managing to stammer a longing, “…..mmmmmmmm, steak.” That’s me every time I walk by Las Antorchas when they are grilling. It is a top pick of ours for fantastic service, quality cuts of oink, gobble and moo, and a very romantic atmosphere.
Vegetarian deli with fine pastries, fresh homemade bread, herbs, spices, organic veggies and world fusion cuisine to go. And she even serves knishes (or their Guatemalan equivalent.) Fantastic. Restaurants and Cafés The Insider 3Rum and Ice Cold Beer are the absolutely perfect way to finish your day or start your night.