A Gringo’s Guide to Mexico City Nightlife
What’s Mexico City nightlife like and is it bumping? Where can you find the best rumba in all of CDMX?
For answers to pressing and prudent questions like these, I reached out to resident expert Dennis Demori for a detailed guest post on the topic.
And let’s just say, ole’ Dennis seemed to have one hell of a time in enjoying the nightlife in Mexico City. Why? Because he knows his stuff here.
My first night out was near Parque España in Condesa, a popular neighborhood that attracts a mix of young professionals, expats and digital nomads looking for cheap drinks and a fun party vibe.
I was with a digital nomad who had been living in Mexico City (aka CDMX) on and off for the past 18 months and two of his roommates.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, and that’s a good way to frame my experience in CDMX throughout the two months I lived there in early 2018.
Walking down Av. Tamaulipas in Condesa you’ll see one bar or restaurant after another for about 3 blocks with more around the corner.
You’re just as likely to see a group of friends grabbing dinner as you are to see another group splitting a bottle of tequila, dancing and singing along to the Latin music being blasted from the DJ booth.
Two bars, several drinks and multiple street tacos later, I walked home thinking I “knew” Mexico City.
But I was wrong…
CDMX is a huge city you can probably compare to an all-you-can-eat buffet with a variety of:
- Dive bars
- Rooftop bars
- Wine bars
- Dance clubs
With Mexico City nightlife, there’s something for everyone – no matter your tastes and budget.
In some ways, I’d argue Polanco nightlife, Condesa nightlife, and Roma Norte nightlife are actually better than what you typically find in the U.S.
The nightlife in Mexico City has a certain festive atmosphere that’s hard to explain.
Part of it’s because of the Latin music, but it’s also because of the vibe and the exotic factor you experience as a foreigner.
Mexico City is fun – plain and simple.
In this guide, I’ll detail things like:
- What’s So Great About Nightlife in Mexico City?
- Costs of Mexico City Nightlife
- Where To Party In Mexico City
- Mezcalerias in Mexico City
- How To Pick The Best Nightlife Spots In Mexico City
If any of those specific sections are what you require and desire for a big night out in CDMX, simply click the link above and you’ll be taken to that area of this guide.
For the rest of y’all, just keep on reading this behemoth.
Everything a gringo needs to know about nightlife in CDMX is found below.
What’s So Great About Nightlife in Mexico City?
- Mexico City is huge
To give you an idea of how big it is, Los Angeles has a population of 4 million people while Mexico City has a population of almost NINE million.
Let’s break it down a little because one of the 1st things visitors realize is that a city of this size can be overwhelming…
Mexico City has 16 major neighborhoods called colonias, but if you’re like me you’re probably only going to hang out in a handful of them:
- Roma Norte
- Centro / Downtown
Try to get an apartment in one of these neighborhoods.
I made the mistake of staying in Anzures in March and while it’s a nice residential neighborhood, it’s a little isolated from the action.
- Bars and clubs are open as late as 5 am
The last call tends to vary depending on the night of the week and the venue.
Sundays through Wednesdays are generally dead so you’ll find most of the nightlife activity going down on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
If you’ve partied in LA you know that most places are closed by 1 am while NYC and Miami and basically open 24/7.
Mexico City isn’t that extreme in my experience, but you can take your time getting ready, head out late, and still have enough time to venue hop and grab late night food.
- Speaking Spanish gives you a huge advantage
If you think all the young people in Mexico City speak English fluently, you’re going to be in for a surprise.
Spanish is spoken everywhere and the only people you’ll ever hear speaking English in public are Western expats, tourists, and digital nomads.
You’ll find that the working or professional class Mexicans you meet in bars and clubs will speak a little English or maybe none at all, so if you want to improve your interactions and your experience you really need to learn.
Even mastering the basics will be helpful.
- Covers are optional
Most of the places you go out in Mexico City won’t have a cover.
If you want to go higher end, though, like some of the nightclubs you can expect to pay around $10 to $15 bucks.
If you want to enjoy the Polanco nightlife (Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhood) you can expect to pay covers more often and close to American prices for drinks, although bottle service will be cheaper.
- Great music mix
One of my favorite aspects of Roma Norte nightlife, Condesa nightlife and the spots I hit in Polanco is the music.
House. Latin Pop. Classic rock. 80s synth pop. 90s hip hop.
The DJ might go back and forth from Juanes to Depeche Mode to Eminem and it keeps the party from going stale.
Well, that depends on who you ask. But for the most part, yeah.
Mexico overall gets a bad rap from the mainstream media, but you need to keep in mind that the media thrives on stories of crime, narcos and murders.
The fact is that Mexico City is just like any other major U.S. city with good and bad neighborhoods.
I’ve walked alone in Roma Norte at 2 am and Polanco at 5 am and never felt unsafe – although I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you’re a female. Just being honest here.
Stay in the neighborhoods I’ve listed in this article and out of bad neighborhoods, like Guerrero, and you should be fine.
Of course, getting stupid drunk is just asking for trouble so make sure aware of your surroundings wherever you go.
- It’s easy to hit multiple venues a night
Although Mexico City is spread out, the nightlife tends to be clustered in certain areas:
- Roma Norte near Av. Álvaro Obregón
- La Condesa (or just “Condesa) on Av. Tamaulipas near Parque México and Parque España
- Cuauhtémoc near Calle Rio Lerma
- Polanco near Av. Maseryk
I didn’t spend a lot of time downtown in Centro, but that’s another option. That means you can walk or take a short and inexpensive Uber ride to wherever you’re going.
If you get an apartment near those spots I just listed, you can expect to pay around $3-$5 for Uber as long as you’re not going across several neighborhoods.
Costs of Mexico City Nightlife
You can definitely spend less money in Mexico, but you can also pay close to what you’d pay in the U.S., U.K. or Australia if you hang out at the high-end bars, clubs, and restaurants.
Here’s a rough idea of what you can expect to pay:
- Cover charge: $5-$10
- Beer: $1-$4
- Whiskey and Cocktails: $5-$10
- Shot of Mezcal: $3 and up
- Bottle of Stoli vodka at the club: $80-100
Where To Party In Mexico City
Until then, here are a few pointers on making the most out of Mexico City nightlife:
– Cuauhtémoc Nightlife –
Solid spot for a date night or to grab drinks after work. Live music on certain nights too. Overall, a decent spot.
– Condesa Nightlife –
The Condesa location is more of a party spot than the Cuauhtémoc location. Go here if you’re bar hopping around Condesa. Typically a good time to be had here.
- Wallace Whiskey Bar
Wallace has two floors have several rooms and it’s one of the better spots in Condesa in my opinion. I wouldn’t spend the whole night here, but it’s a good place to grab a drink or two.
– Polanco Nightlife –
Arguably the top club in Mexico City right now.
They recently moved to a new location and if it’s anything like the old venue I visited it’ll be a good place to party late into the night.
High-end bar and lounge.
A little hard to find (you need to go down an alley and through a back entrance), but it’s an excellent spot to start the night.
– Roma Norte Nightlife –
- Gin Gin
One of my favorite places in Mexico City and one of the most beautiful bars I’ve ever been to. Tends to attract groups and an attractive, well-dressed crowd.
- Janis and Cafe Paraiso
Janis and Cafe Paraiso two of the top clubs right now and like a block apart. Had a good time at both. Don’t really have a favorite.
Aurora is a high-end restaurant with a small bar area. Cool looking restaurant. Good to pre-game with friends or for a date.
Mezcalerias in Mexico City
- La Clandestina (Condesa)
- Mano Santa (Roma Norte)
- La Mil Amores (Roma Norte)
- La Nacional (Roma Norte)
So, the last 4 spots on my list are mezcalerias. And that’s for good reason. They’re awesome!
Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant – kind of like a smoother, high-end tequila. The stuff is usually served as shots, or sometimes cocktails.
La Clandestina and Mano Santa are both chill spots where you can have drinks and appetizers.
La Mil Amores is a party bar with lots of dancing and they’re open late too – until 5 am I think.
And La Nacional is a casual beer bar and mezcaleria with one of the most extensive drink lists I’ve ever seen… anywhere.
How To Pick The Best Nightlife Spots In Mexico City
Here are some tips:
- If you like high-end spots, you’ll enjoy Polanco nightlife
- If you’re on a budget, go with Condesa nightlife (around Av. Tamaulipas mainly)
- If you like the bohemian, hipster and foodie scenes, go with Roma Norte nightlife
- And if you want to enjoy dinner and drinks, but don’t want to go too crazy and stay out all night, you’ll like the nightlife in Cuauhtémoc.
Of course, these are generalizations, but these should give you an idea of which neighborhood will be the best fit for your personality.
The Verdict? | Nightlife in Mexico City Edition
For me personally, I’m not big on clubs, but I loved the Mexico City mezcalerias, especially Mano Santa, and some of the higher end spots like Gin Gin.
Mano Santa just opened a new spot called Mezcal México in Roma Sur which I’m definitely going to check out when I return to CDMX this summer.
Of course, I’ve just barely scratched the surface.
To get a proper feel for Mexico City I suggest staying AT LEAST two months because otherwise, you’re just not going to have enough time to explore.
Oh, and if you have any questions or comments about nightlife in Mexico City, feel free to sound off in the comments.