Thursday, March 10, 2005

100 Bars In Puerto Vallata

I hit my 100th bar since arriving in Puerto Vallarta today. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Getting a bit harder to find them though, but I have spotted a few to visit in the future.

302) 2 For 1

Yes, that actually is the name of the bar as well as it's drink philosophy. I am not a big fan of this concept because sometimes you really do want to stop in for just one, like today. I still have to pay the "2 for 1" price of 35 pesos for two beers even though I only drank one.

The grand opening of this bar, located in the Mall Vallarta at the end of the Malecon and up one block, is tomorrow. They were still putting the finishing touches on the place. It used to be a different bar but they changed owners and are doing a major remodeling job. It is a second story bar and you get to it by taking an escalator from the street. This is the only escalator I have ever seen in Puerto Vallarta. Let's see how it holds up. Can't do any worse than the escalators in the subways in New York that hardly ever run.

The bar area itself sits off to the right of the second floor of the street-level mall. It looks like it is being completely remodeled because it was being worked on and there were no shops open. The bar itself is light wood with a brick front. There were half a dozen wooden bar-chairs. Behind the bar were two wooden cabinets with wrought-iron hinges. Behind and above the bar was an unfinished shelf divided into five compartments. There was a television in each of the end compartments and mirrors at the back of the other three. It wasn't set up yet so there were no bottles on display. There is a DJ booth in one corner with windows on either side that look out on the malecon and the bay. From the music being played it looks like it will have either a disco or techno flavor to it.

There is a wrap-around balcony with large glass windows and French doors. The color scheme is light-orange (top) and dark-orange (bottom) painted plaster walls with a dark green band separating the two colors. The ceiling above the bar and the area immediately behind the bar-chairs is lower than the ceiling in the rest of the place and is painted a sea-green and has recessed spot-lighting. The rest of the place has a much higher ceiling with those beehive lights and ceiling fans. The floor is large marble squares seperated by stones inlaid in cement. Lots of small round wooden-topped tables sitting on metal poles with high wooden chairs.

I was talking to the bartender about the overnight destruction of a park about a block away to make room for a parking garage. He said it was too bad but there were so many cars in Puerto Vallarta now and so many people driving in from the surrounding areas to work there that something had to be done. He said that many people, including tourists, think of Puerto Vallarta as still being a Mexican town when in reality, when you consider the greater Puerto Vallarta area, it now has a population of over half-a-million people. Something that I had never really thought about. There will probably be more escalators in the future.

I had a Pacifico and headed back to my side of the river.

303) La Escondida Sports Bar

Back over on the south-side of the river at 210 Jacarandas, was this nice little place. It had a very nice light-wood parquette topped bar with a dark wooden front. There were 6 dark-wood bar-chairs with dark-blue cushions. There was a nice brick arch over the bar hung with white Christmas lights. Narrow shelves behind the bar held an ample liquor selection. There were triangular, wood-framed mirrors behind the bar as well and several sports pennants. Also some flowers and a few pictures of what I assumed to be regular customers. There were several floral arrangements about the place and they were all real flowers. All in all this was a very pleasant bar with a friendly bartender named Mary.

The floor was gray tile and there was a bunch of little tables with bright yellow tablecloths with white table cloths set diagonally on top. The top table cloths were covered with bright sport-oriented patterns. The chairs had blue cushions. The whole place had brick walls with large windows on the side of the place opposite the bar. The wall with the door had a large window as well with a bright orange-glass arch. There were a lot of sports pennants hanging about the place. The overhead lights had large transparent yellow globes and there were a few overhead fans. There was a jukebox in the back and three televisions. The only one that was on was covering Clinton's surgery, endlessly. Jeez, it wasn't serious, he lived, he will recover. Enough already. There was a sports schedule posted so it appears that they do cover games when they are televised.

I talked with a guy there who had been coming down for 22 years. He said it was largely a local's bar but there were a lot of people like him who stayed in the surrounding hotels and made this their home away from home. He also told me that the reason there are now, all of a sudden, so many more cars in Puerto Vallarta is that just three years ago the dealers began selling cars on time. Prior to that you had to pay cash to get one. Once people could finance their purchase sales exploded. Hence, no park and a parking garage.

I had a Pacifico (12 pesos vs. the 35 'two for one price I just left' and headed out.

304) Machis Bar B. Q.

Over on Cardenas on the corner of Naranjo (Spanish for 'orange,' but don't expect more) was my 100th bar in Mexico. This is an upstairs restaurant/bar. The bar itself is black laquer set on a brick base with wooden bar-chairs that had red cushions. Above the bar was a big, cone-shaped rattan lamp as well as several small wooden planes hanging from the ceiling. The planes were more like toys than models.

There were brick walls and a narrow wrap-around balcony with tables and chairs. The balcony was covered by a red awnings. The rest of the place had tables with chairs with either the same red cushions as the bar-chairs or bright multi-colored cusions. The three tables against one wall had brick cushioned benches instead of chairs. The roof was a beamed A-frame with a red tiles. There was a brightly colored unbrella and a green golf-bag with clubs hanging from the ceiling as well. In the back was an old Singer sewing-machine. There were white lace curtains hanging from the windows and a nice cool breeze blowing through. BB King was playing on the sound system. The owner or cook came in with a load of corned-beef getting ready for St. Paticks Day when, I was assured, they would have both green beer and green tequila.

A guy drinking at the bar had just moved down to Puerto Vallarta and his girl-friend will be tending bar at The Sandbar. I haven't been to the Sandbar yet (it is right nextdoor to Sweeny's) because they are just building the bar into this place. It is supposed to be open in about a week. He said he was looking for a job as a bartender and I told him the last place I was at had a sign up saying they were looking for one. The bartender here wrote him a note of introduction so he was going to check it out. Good-luck to him. The bartender, when she found out about my quest, also recommended that I try La Gloria yel Infierno. She said I would find it to be an interesting place. I can hardly wait. They also have a guest bartender day here where an amatuer like me could try his hand. She said they didn't do it during the busy season, now, though because it got to be too stressful for everyone concerned. Darn.

An update. I checked out La Gloria yel Infierno and found out it was a bar that I had been into and couldn´t find the name. I have gone back and updated my post to reflect the name and how I found it.

I had a Pacifico (12 pesos here as well) and headed home. I am just giving you the prices on these last couple of places to show that the two beers that I paid for at the last two places cost less, in total, than that generous 2 for 1 offer.

Not a bad day, spent quite awhile in each place because they were so friendly and I was in a chatty mood. 304 down (100 in Puerto Vallarta, Whee!!) and 696 to go.


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