Over the years, Mendoza’s cup has runneth over with wine bars, restaurants touting extravagant wine cellars, and caravans of tours through the various wine regions. But what about the other alcohols, that perhaps don’t originate on a grapevine? Where is a tourist visiting the city to turn if he or she does not want to end the night with teeth stained violet? Thankfully, there are lots of alternatives in downtown Mendoza – from cocktail bars to breweries – it’s simply a matter of knowing where to look.
Decorated as a 1950s style diner and complete with black and white checkerboard tiles, Cachitas offers a whimsical vibe and truly impeccable libations. This bar and restaurant began as a hole in the wall and in the past year has grown into the most popular cocktail bar on the prestigious Sarmiento street. Owned by Mendoza locals and operated by an eclectic mix of expats, the clientele is heavily English speaking.
Seating indoors is quite limited, but tables and chairs spill out onto the front patio. The drinks menu is complete with all manner of international cocktails from the Raspberry mojito to the Singapore sling. Just reading the names is enjoyable: blood and sand, the journalist, income tax cocktail.
But in the off chance that you can’t find what you’re looking for on the menu, the team of international barmen are more than happy to accommodate a unique request. Just smile & make it worth their while.
As for the fare, it’s really the cocktails that earn Cachita’s local fame. However, if you’re starving, the house-made burgers and fries will both satiate your cravings and prepare you for round two of drinks.
Av. Sarmiento 784, Mendoza. Tel: (0261) 15-576-2244
This national brewery chain, based in Mar del Plata, is one of the few places where it’s possible to order an artisan pint of something truly delicious.
Antares offers ten styles of beer, as well as a rotating seasonal specialty known as the Brew Master’s selection, which ranges from a golden summer brew to green beer for St. Patty’s day.
What to order: If you’re a seasoned beer drinker, dive into a pint of your favorite style. But if not, order the sampler plate: a small glass of four beers of your choosing, accompanied by tasting notes – a veritable cheat sheet for learning about the anti-wine.
In case you’re not a beer-lover either, Antares also offers a basic assortment of traditional cocktails.
Antares is open every day of the week, but it’s best to stop by between 7-8pm and enjoy their daily 2×1 happy hour on beer.
Arístides Villanueva 153, Mendoza. Tel: (0261) 423-8327
Public House (pH)
Located on what is the main drag of Mendoza’s nightlife, eight blocks of seemingly endless bars and restaurants, sits Public House – or, as the locals know it: pH. Two parts bar, one part restaurant, pH provides an ample selection of food & drink at reasonable prices.
The barmen are trained in international cocktails and specialise in the more tropical variety of night-time drinks: caipirinhas, daiquiris, five flavors of mojitos, and many more.
Though the ample cocktail menu and bar may cause more than a moment of indecision, most people go straight for the house specialty: the super mojito – a giant sized cocktail that’s big enough to share, but too delicious to let go of.
Sit outside and enjoy watching Mendoza’s nightlife on parade, or enjoy a more intimate table indoors.
Arístides Villanueva 282, Mendoza. Tel: (0261) 425-4272
Though Zitto’s reputation for the best pizzas in town may be what initially gets you through the door, their standout cocktail menu is what keeps you coming back every week.
Indoor décor rings in your ear with primary colors, but outdoor patio seating overlooks the thoroughfare of Mendoza’s most popular streets.
Inside, the bar is extensive and features some of the most premium and exotic liquors in Mendoza. Though the classics – mojitos, caiparinhas, fernet and coke – are all present, you hardly notice them beneath the long list of peculiar creations.
Highlights include the clericó rosado (rosé wine, passion fruit, orange juice, and pink grapefruit syrup), the mojito burrito (made from burro – a local herb – instead of mint), or the Andes Michelada (Andes beer, lime juice, cilantro syrup and salt).
Arístides Villanueva 257, Mendoza.
Located on the northwest corner of Plaza Independencia, half a block from the Park Hyatt, is a classically decorated restaurant and bar, Bute.
The doors of Bute are almost always open, from 7am into the wee small hours of the night. Traffic through this corner restaurant begins with breakfast and ends with a glass of something strong. The bar is set up as an island in the middle of the dining room, and is an elegant place to sit for a while and sip on something delicious. But if that’s not what you’re in the mood for, the outdoor seating overlooks the city’s main plaza.
Though the cocktail menu of Bute doesn’t offer any truly exotic concoctions, it does sweet justice to both local and international classics: the gin & tonic, bloody Mary, and sex on the beach, for example. The house’s signature drink, Bute, is also one to keep in mind, made from Amarula, Cointreau, white chocolate ice cream, sugar, and black pepper.
Breaking with some of the less agreeable cultural norms, the service in Bute is excellent. Wait staff is friendly and efficient. They even occasionally feature local jazz bands on weekday nights.
Espejo 501 (corner of Espejo and Chile), Mendoza. Tel: (0261) 423-3661