Oaxacan poet Eufrasio Reyes wrote, in a refrain familiar to anyone who’s plunged into a night at the cantina,
In the cantina, a man travels to unimaginable places, but the next day reality is crueler than his hangover.
Reality, legend, legend, reality: the swinging doors of the cantina vacillate between the two.
The cantina was born in the latter half of the nineteenth century, when U.S and French soldiers were attempting imperialistic explorations into Mexico. At that time, establishments serving alcoholic beverages were restricted to wine bars, for upper class Spaniards, and pulquerias (which served the fermented corn beverage pulque), for lower class mestizos and Indians. The two merged into the cantina, which surged in popularity during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.