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11 Things You Gotta Know Before You Go Partying in Mexico City

Mexico City Restaurants + Bars
by Rulo Luna Ramos Oct 21, 2014
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1. The party starts early.

Mexican pre-party is know as precopeo, literally “pre-cupping.” We gather at a friend’s place or small bar to get a little bit woozy and ready for the night. Precopeo has several benefits: avoiding the traffic inferno that is Mexico City every Friday afternoon, saving some money (since drinking in a club can be quite expensive), and getting to know your party mates better in a more relaxed and conversation-friendly environment than a thumping bar or nightclub.

But beware: overindulging in this practice could end up in you missing the big party altogether. Too much precopeo is the main reason people don’t make it to the party.

2. And will continue until sunrise.

After the precopeo the party can go through several stages: a party or a club, another party, maybe another club, tacos, the Sanborn’s bar, an after-hours club, more tacos, and home (this is not necessarily your own place and doesn’t mean the night is over). It’s not a rule of thumb but we do love to jump from place to place in search of the best spot to be at that exact moment of the night. Two in the morning is a good time to evaluate the night so far (if things have been lame so far it’ll hardly get better) and decide if you’ll keep it up until the morning comes, or if it’s time to kiss everyone goodnight and head to your bed.

3. The weekend begins on Thursday.

Some people in Mexico even refer to Thursdays as “little Fridays” or juebebes, a hybrid of jueves (Thursday) and beber (to drink). Absenteeism in universities and failure to return to the office from lunch on Fridays are typical signs of people suffering from a severe case of little Friday.

4. Know your options.

Partying in Mexico City shouldn’t be restricted to your typical clubs and bars. A night out could easily lead you to a dancing club with a live orchestra playing Cumbia and salsa, where some old woman will try to convince you to buy her drinks in exchange for being your dance partner for the night (the traditional fichera). Or you could find yourself in a trajinera in Xochimilco, trying to figure out how you ended up partying in a boat in the middle of a lake. There is an option for even the strangest tastes, so find a place that suits you well.

5. We cater to really strange and peculiar tastes.

Do you know there is a Chinese restaurant near San Ángel that late at night goes wild and becomes kind of a clandestine dance hall? What about this hidden bar in Polanco, which you can only enter through a door disguised as a restaurant fridge? And that pulqueria in Centro that is is all about political activism? Have you explored the Zona Rosa thoroughly? Does the name Patrick Miller sound familiar to you? Have you ever been in a mariachi party in Garibaldi? There is a perfect place for you out there. Now, go out and look for it!

6. Everything’s better if you dance.

The best places for having a hell of a time in Mexico City involve dancing in one way or another. Go ahead and start practicing your best moves in front of the mirror and get ready for your next appointment with the dance floor!

7. Don’t get hung up on tequila.

Try some of our other local beverages like mezcal, pulque, or charanda. Also try going local with beers and wines (and with local beer I don’t mean Corona). I strongly recommend a visit to a traditional pulquería for authentic pulque. You’ll either love pulque or hate it (which is pre-Hispanic, by the way), but you shouldn’t miss the experience.

8. You don’t even have to drink.

If you don’t drink alcohol, try some of our ubiquitous aguas frescas (hibiscus, tamarind, horchata or lime with chía) or search for a place that sells some of our less known traditional beverages: atole, tepache, pozol, tejuino and tascalate. Some of these beverages are not from Mexico City, but you can find them and you should definitely try them.

9. We got your munchies covered.

If you’re known for your good appetite, a cantina should be the perfect place for you. Cantinas will find a way into your heart through their policy of free “snacks.” Don’t be fooled by the word, these snacks are far from your usual peanuts and olives. How does a shrimp soup with your first drink sound? And just like in your wildest dreams, the more you drink, the more options you’ll have to continue your feeding frenzy. Cantinas are a tradition in Mexico City and most of them have quite some history behind them, so go on and pay a visit to one of these singular establishments — it’s totally worth it.

10. Plan a safe return home.

Mexico City never sleeps, but finding safe transportation in the middle of the night could require some effort. Your best option to avoid any kind of trouble is to get a hold of a taxi company number. Hailing a taxi from the street is not recommended, especially if it’s late at night and you’re on your own. Also, some parts of the city can be quite inviting for late night walks, which is fine, as long as you know exactly where you’re going. Getting lost in the city is not difficult at all, and let’s just say there are some places where you don’t really want to be at three in the morning.

11. Don’t worry, there’s a special menu for your hangover.

We are experts in hangover treatments. For generations we have learned to identify those specific meals that work miracles against those nasty alcohol side effects and the big rule is: the spicier the better. That’s why spicy soups (pancita, birria, consome) and other chili-based dishes (chilaquiles fucking rule for this purpose) are mandatory for the morning after.

If you’re feeling brave, you’d better order a michelada beer to accompany that hot lunch. The best micheladas are also the most baroque: lots of lemon, salsa, salt, maybe some tomato-clam juice, soy sauce, and plenty of whatever we think combines with an early beer (no lemon slice on top though). This is probably a good time for you to take that excursion to the nearest cantina…just saying.

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