Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Malecon Crawl

I headed back to the north side of town and picked up where I left off on the malecon the other day. I hit every bar that was open until I got to the end. There were a couple of places that don´t open until later in the evening so I will hit them another day.

242) Zoo

Most of the places along this stretch are newer, bigger places and this one is no exception. It is across from the malecon and has large windows offering a great view. This place tends to be jammed at night with people literally hanging out of the windows. It had a pretty decent crowd at 1:00 P.M. of what looked to be a lot of cruise ship people. I think the bars along here get a lot of them because they are the first big ones you hit on the way into town from where the ships dock.

This place has an animal motif, but more jungle than zoo. Wrap-around jungle murals with large sculptures of an elephant and a rhino charging out at you. There is a black panther in the back and a leopard above the door. The bar is a real nice tanish colored marble topped octogon with faded leopard-skin stools. It has fake elephant tusk lamps on the center service area and a nice glass or plastic wrap-around overhanging light. Tables and stools up front and large booths towards the back. Queen was on the sound system.

I had two Coronas because it was two for one, although they charge you about double the price for that one.

243) Club 69

A small marble bar with a brass rail but no stools. Carved mermaids on each end. This is a corner bar with large windows on both sides giving a very nice view of the malecon and the bay. You can see the cruise ships in the harbor. I see where the number of scheduled cruise ship arrivals is supposed to be 240 something this year up from 188 last year.

The place is kind of narrow but fairly deep with a DJ booth in the back room and 4 TVs behind it where, I would presume, they show music videos. Lots of little tables with chairs and stools and some plush sofas that were mostly in the back. Red stucco walls, blue hanging lights, and a friendly staff.

I had a gin and tonic.

244) Hard Rock Cafe

The newer, and better location. Better because being on the malecon they get a lot more foot traffic. They don´t take advantage of the view and from the back you cannot see outside. It is a great place to pop into to get out of the scenery.

They have a nice large bar and the place is packed with rock memorabilia. My favorites are the large number of posters from the 60s and 70s. They bring back a lot of what memory I have of that era.

I had a gin and tonic.

245) Paradise Burger

Kind of a cheesy name, but a decent enough place. Located on a corner, this is a second floor bar and restaurant with balconies on two sides that give a nice view of the malecon and the bay. Kind of a horseshoe shaped dark wood bar with about 14 stools. A raised stage in the corner for live music at night. Actually, all of the places except for Club 69 have small stages and have live music at night. There was a narrow ledge running around the place that displayed ceramic heads and other assorted knick-knacks, including some pink flamingos in the front. There was a nice ceramic hula dancer on the bar.

I had a Corona

246) Carlos O´Brien´s

This is Senor Frog´s sister bar and is furnished about the same. The only difference is that this one was fairly packed and everyone was hooting it up pretty good. A couple of Mexican break-dancers were putting on a show and were very good. Again, it looked like a big cruise ship crowd. You can tell by the colored wristbands that they all wear. It had a nice tin-topped bar and a large upstairs area.

I had a chlled Jaggermeister to keep with the theme of the place.

247) La Bodequita Del Medio

This was the last bar on the malecon, just about across from the fish market where you can buy fresh fish caught in the morning. The decor was white walls covered with graffiti and pictures of Cubans, none of which I recognized. The hanging lamps have shades that are covered with graffiti as well. There is a large upstairs area as well. They have a nice large, dark-wood bar. I met a couple of people from a cruise ship that were from Las Vegas so we chatted a bit. I have visited Las Vegas numerous times over the years so we talked about how much it has changed and is changing.

I had two rum and cokes because it was two for one. This place served them nicely, however. You got a big slug of rum over the ice-cubes in one glass and a big slug of rum with no ice in another. Then you got a bottle of coke. You can then mix you own, a double of you want or two singles. They will bring you more ice as you need it. A nice touch to the usual two-for-one affairs.

Finishing up my malecon crawl I took the local bus (4 pesos) back to the south side of town and headed home.

Tomorrow I will hit the quarter-way mark but for now I have 247 down and 753 left to go.


James Shannon said...

just wanted to let you know I've been following your blog for 2 weeks now ... kick ass job man, I might have to go on a 365 day bender soon myself :P

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