7 Best Bars in Oaxaca City

7 Best Bars in Oaxaca City

Oaxaca has an excellent nightlife, with bars dotting nearly every street corner. No two bars are the same, each having their own personality in decor, music and drinks.

We list the 7 best bars in Oaxaca City, each for a unique reason. Whether you're in search of top-notch mezcalerias, unique cocktail lounges or affordable rooftop bars, we've got you covered.

Overview: 7 Best Bars in Oaxaca City

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7 Best Bars in Oaxaca City

1. Best for tasting premium mezcals: In Situ Mezcaleria

Pull up a stool at In Situ Mezcaleria's tasting bar, renowned for its top-tier selection of mezcals. Owned by Ulises Torrentera, a respected Mezcal expert and author, it's one of the best ways to try mezcals made from different agave plants. It was the best selection we saw.

They don't just list their mezcals by what agave it was made with, but also by the distillation method. The ancestral method means that it was distilled in a clay pot, whereas the artisanal method means it was distilled in a copper pot. Each method affects the taste differently. We were lucky to try a rare cowhide-fermented mezcal.

It's a lot of fun figuring out what type of agave is your favourite - mine is Jabali and Ari's is Tepeztate.

✔️ Top Tip: They offer a tasting of 5 mezcals for 500 pesos. You can also purchase bottles of your favourite to take home.

2. Best for tasting mezcal in a fun setting: La Querencia Mezcaleria

La Querencia Mezcaleria

Among the myriad of mezcalerias in Oaxaca, La Querencia Mezcaleria stood out for its captivating ambience, with hypnotic music and sultry red lighting setting the scene.

It quickly became one of our top tasting experiences. We were treated to small samples of various mezcals at no charge, allowing us to find our perfect match before choosing a full glass. The owners welcomed us warmly, adding to the charm of the experience.

3. Best for affordable rooftop drinks: Terraaza Istmo

Drinking a pineapple mezcalina and chilada at Terraza Istmo

While many rooftop bars in Oaxaca tend to be on the pricier side, Terraza Istmo stands out for its fair prices and quality cocktails and food. It has a charming atmosphere with its colourful decor and city views.

Ari enjoyed a refreshing chilada (beer with lime juice) and I had a mezcalina with pineapple juice.

To get a good table, we recommend making a reservation. Thanks to ours, we snagged a prime spot right by the railing with nice city views.

4. Best for drinks with bites: Terraza Escondito

Not many people know that this tucked-away rooftop bar at Hotel Escondito is open to non-hotel guests. We enjoyed sitting on the stylish terrace with refreshing Mexican-rum mojitos in hand.

The biggest draw was their tasajo pepito with eggplant and Mexican-stye kimichi. It tasted like a gourmet sweet + hot beef jerky sandwich in the best way possible. We could honestly eat one of these every day.

5. Best for the music and a cool local vibe: La Cueva Oaxaca

La Cueva Oaxaca

Nestled on a quiet side street in Centro, La Cueva Oaxaca stands out among Oaxaca's vibrant cocktail scene, offering an authentic atmosphere that attracts both locals and travellers. With its inviting ambience, accentuated by warm amber lighting and textured brown walls, it felt like discovering a hidden gem in the heart of the city.

This cozy watering hole played a mix of cumbia-fusion and psychedelic-Latin American music, setting the perfect backdrop for a fun night out.

6. Best for cocktails in a glamorous setting: Selva

Selva Oaxaca

Located on the second floor of a charming historic building, Selva commands attention with its mid-century-glam decor and energetic music. It's also one of the two bars in Oaxaca ranked on the North America's 50 Best Bars list.

Beyond aesthetics, its cocktails tell stories of local plants, celebrating Oaxaca's botanical heritage. Its glassware also stands out, with each cocktail coming in a creative vessel.

Make your reservation online.

7. Best for cocktails in a relaxed setting: Sabina Sabe

Sabina Sabe

Sabina Sabe is the other cocktail bar on North America's Best 50 Bars list. It contrasts Selva with its relaxed atmosphere, alt-rock music and industrial-Oaxacan design.

Snag a seat at the bar and watch them make your unique concoction with Oaxacan spirits.

We hope you enjoyed these 7 unique bars in Oaxaca!

Bonus: our top hotel pick for design and value

Our private terrace at Hotel Materia
We recommend staying at Hotel Materia, a terracotta-pink boutique hotel that feels like a home away from home. We stayed in the Humo room, which has a private terrace you can eat breakfast on each morning.

🛏️ Browse more hotels in Oaxaca

Don't miss our other Oaxaca travel guides:

Get started on booking your trip to Oaxaca

  • 🌃 Book your accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
  • 🚖 Book private airport transfer: through Viator
  • 🌮 Book your food tour: through Viator
  • 👩‍⚕️ Get affordable travel insurance: with SafetyWing - it's budget-friendly and you can even buy it while abroad, but note the max medical coverage is $250,000 USD.
  • 🏥 Get comprehensive travel insurance: with World Nomads - it's more expensive, but the max emergency medical coverage is $5-10 million, depending on the plan.
  • ✈️ Track flight prices: with Hopper

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