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For a relatively small place, Antigua is bursting with great bars, restaurants and cafés (check out our guide to the best cafes here). There’s a really good nice of locals, expats and tourists passing through the city’s drinking establishments, so it’s an interesting place for a fiesta. From our 5 weeks in the city, we’ve collated a mixture of the best bars in Antigua Guatemala to head out to for a few drinks or a night of partying for you below.
After you’ve had your fill of the best bars in Antigua, Guatemala, you may also want to have a gander of:
What time to parties start & end at bars in Antigua Guatemala?
Keep in mind that alcohol licence regulations mean that things shut down pretty early in Antigua (1am or so on weekends), and after that, if you haven’t found an after party at a local’s house (pretty unlikely as most of the party-goers on weekends are from Guat City), your only option if you want to continue the fiesta is to head to an illegal rave in an old abandoned swimming pool an hour or so outside the city (and there’s no transport back until around 7am).
It gets shut down every couple of weeks, depending on whether the police are happy with the bribes received, and you’ll have to ask around and find the right people to get there! For those willing to take the risk, there’s one ridiculously cool night ahead!
So, in no particular order, the 9 best bars in Antigua Guatemala:
1. Antigua Brewing Company
Kicking off our best bars in Antigua is a place boasting some of the greatest beers and views in the city. Antigua Brewing company is just a couple of blocks north of Parque Central, and is a huge brewpub with various levels of seating.
Downstairs, you get to sit amongst the brewing tanks and see some of the beer production, whereas the real views come from the rooftop. From this great vantage point you can pick out all the famous sites in the city; the Santa Catalina Arch, Parque Central, cathedrals and much more. You also have pretty immense volcano views on a clear day and can watch as the surrounding towns transition from day to night, lighting up the base of the volcano.
Drinks-wise, they stock a huge variety of their own beer, other local brands and international crafts, alongside food, wines, cocktails and spirits.
2. Las Palmas
Las Palmas is a cool Cuban-themed bar, with a distinct atmosphere and one of the best bars in Antigua to watch or dance a bit of salsa. Drinks and cocktails are cheap and the place has live music, a cosy dancefloor and even a quiet terrace up top if you fancy being able to hear the rest of your group. You can still watch the dancefloor on a TV up on the terrace via a terrible quality CCTV stream, just in case you have an acute case of FOMO.
Odd as it may sound, it was actually quite entertaining and a good source of laughs for us before we head down into the action.
3. Café No Sé
Don’t be fooled by the name, this place is very much a bar rather than a café. The name was originally set up to disguise its true identity as a bar in the days when they used to smuggle mezcal across the Mexican border and sell it in a speakeasy style backroom of the venue.
These days, they are far more open to the fact that it is a drinking establishment, with live music and big crowds on a weekend. They still have the original ‘hidden’ door through the mescal bar out the back where you can crouch through on the way to trying a variety of punchy mezcal shots. You can be sure that the barmen will keep you entertained if you choose to sit at the bar stools in here – remember to ask them for the story of how the place came to be!
Café No Sé now have their own brand of mezcal, Ilegal Mezcal, which comes in three different varieties, based on quality and duration of ageing.
4. El Barrio
El barrio is actually more of a hipster collection of bars than a bar in its own right. Just off the main square of Antigua, you’ll find the entrance to the courtyard ‘El Barrio’, where inside you can explore a multitude of different bars and atmospheres; so take your pick, or roam between them all in your own mini (and very non-strenuous) bar crawl.
Inside the courtyard, you can find a sports bar, a whiskey bar, cocktail bars, a rooftop terrace and even food trucks offering tacos and other nibbles. There’s enough to keep you entertained for hours and a constant bustle of people in and out to keep the vibe fresh.
5. El Ilegal
This quirky little bar, which bears no connection to illegal mescal (admittedly the reason we initially tried it out) is located just a few blocks from the main square in Antigua. Friendly owners and a real hipster vibe inside, this place is great for a Happy Hour beer (also a bargain at just 10Q/£1 a bottle). Later on in the evening, the place really livens up and has a young and fresh feel to it, making it one of our favourite spots amongst the best bars in Antigua.
6. Big Foot Hostel
Despite actually being a hostel, the bar in Big Foot is awesome and pretty much every night of the week they’ll have the music banging and an ‘all-day happy hour’ to keep your ears and your wallets in the party spirit. Hands down the best night of the week to visit is their famous beer pong tournament on Thursdays.
Free to enter and with some great prizes such as $100 cash, 400Q bar tab (around $50), free stays at partner hostels on the coast or even a couple’s massage – there’s plenty to attract you to the competition.
The place is heaving with hopeful beer-pongers and the tournament is quite an operation; we’ve never seen anything quite on the scale of this! Cheap beer, plenty of laughs and big prizes mean this place is a must if you find yourself in the city on a Thursday night.
Upon completion, everyone heads to a nearby bar/club to continue the partying and to try get in on the round of the winning pair!
7. The Snug
Certainly aptly named, The Snug is one of the cosiest little bars we’ve ever seen. An Irish theme always attracts a broad mix of travellers and cultures, and very chatty friendly bar staff keep you entertained at all times. Just don’t expect to get a seat on a weekend. Extremely tight on space and with an incredible knack for piling in far more people than should be possible, this bar can truly be described as intimate.
It’s also incredibly friendly among the drinkers, so be open to getting chatting to just about anyone! The Snug is located on a busy area for bars, so worth poking your head in to check out the levels of busy-ness and coming back later if you can’t find a spot to squeeze in.
8. Las Vibras de la Casbah
Named various things by locals, or shortened to ‘Vibras’ or ‘La Casbah’, this is one of the best clubs in Antigua. Bustling on weekends as the locals from Guatemala City flood into Antigua for partying, make sure you get there at a reasonable hour (especially on a Saturday). What appears to be a small entrance soon opens up into a pretty large club, with various levels, overlooking balconies and a roof terrace. Las Vibras is the one of the best bars in Antigua to really get into the party spirit.
Daytime drinking bonus entry: Hobbitenango
One of the coolest day trips around Antigua is to Hobbitenango. Up in the hills, this eco-lodge has spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes, with hobbit-themed houses & activities and a series of cosy bar-restaurants serving craft beers and some of the fanciest cocktails we’ve seen in a long time. I’m talking dry ice, smoke, flames – the lot! You can get there by renting a car from Alamo from $15 a day, or get an Uber or the official Hobbitenango shuttle from town.
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