Taylor Explores the World

Bar San Juan

Location:  Calles 67A and 64, Merida
We had fought the crowd to see the Hanal Pixanactivities and were in desperate need of a drink and a restroom.  Bar San Juan’s tall doors had intrigued me the day prior, so in we went.  Inside the old building, the 20 foot ceilings had exterior wooden beams picketing it like the rungs of a ladder.  The walls were yellow stucco and the room was filled with white plastic Sol tables and chairs. 
Tecate flags were strung across the room, mimicking the layout of the service bar at the far end.  A gentleman stood at the bar and a very short intoxicated woman stumbled over to him, from what must have been the back part of the bar, attempting to flirt but she was too sloppy drunk to appear tempting to him.  The bar itself was graced with a flat screen television, product signage, a clock, a very small Hanal Pixan altar and a cross.  

A woman, not even close to 5 feet tall while wearing 4 inch heels, came over to get our drink orders.  Dos Sol cervezas, por favor, 2 Sol beers, please. Off our waitress marched. This was a cantina true and true, a sort of grimy place that you come to only to drink beer; if we were in the States it would be considered a quintessential dive bar.   

She returned with our beers and I asked where the restroom was located.  She began to explain but then shook her head and gestured for me to follow her.  She led me to the back room.  Once I stepped through the door, I thought A.) I see why she physically walked me herself to the bathroom and B.) This really is a true cantina because… there were 20 men scattered amongst the 40 tables in a huge space with not a single woman in sight.  All eyes were on us as we walked through the middle of the room.  She dropped me off and left. 

I went in, I am not going to lie I was a nervous wreck and expecting a man to show up in there at any second but… they never did.  They never even said anything to me as I walked passed on my way back to our table.  The bathroom itself was a try not to touch anything, wish you were a guy kind of restroom.  A tub of paste dish soap sat next to the sink, you had to stick your fingers in to get some soap so you could lather your hands, but at least they had some sort of soap for you to wash with.

Our waitress came over several times to wipe our table off as we sat drinking.  She was a cute woman, who you could tell was not use to out-of-towners.  Intrigued by us, she tried to converse with us but with the loud music in the bar and the festival commotion outside we could not hear her at all and just shook our heads in agreement.  No one said a word to us or tried to bother us in anyway, we felt perfectly comfortable sitting in there for a couple of beers. 

We definitely would go back, the beer was ice cold, dirt cheap ($20MXN per Sol) and served quickly in a historic building.  It was a perfect cantina or little dive bar.



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