Nightlife n Antigua, Guatemala, starts at Cafe No Se, a smoky bar with live music, ilegal mescal an 30+ tequilas

Antigua Nightlife: Cafe No Se

Shay Addams

Cafe No Se is more than a bar. It's a high concept that works in low places. Or at least one low place— through a hole in the wall on the Lower East Side of La Antigua, Guatemala, the secret entrance to the shadowy and smoky world of the legendary Cafe No Se.

cafe no se la antigua guatemala

This joint has the feel of a Tarantino film, of a border town dive whose regular crowd consists of ex-pats, wanna-be ex-pats, travelers, locals and enough shady characters to make things interesting. Bizarre art and photographs, images of the Virgin of Guadalupe and other eclectic touches cover the walls.

Recently listed in the Guinness Book of Third World Records as the “Taj Mahal of Tequila," Cafe No Se serves over 30 kinds of tequila and mezcal, plus Gallo and Moza beer on tap, in three bars inside a long, shotgun-style building. The specialty of the house is Ilegal Mezcal, a custom mescal made in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Live Music in Antigua

cafe no se la antigua guatemalaThe bar in front features live music most nights around 9 PM, attracting as many Antiguans as it does tourists. In the next room, a gnarled wood bar stretches fifteen feet long and is illuminated with candelabras that cast weird and unsettling shadows on the unfinished wooden walls.

The music is just loud enough that you can hear the lyrics and simultaneously carry on a conversation.

The Mezcal Bar, AKA Tequila Bar

An alcoholic Hobbit would feel at home walking through the small refrigerator door into the world famous Mezcal Bar. It reminds me of a scene from a Clive Barker novel: coarse red walls, a Maximon on a shelf, desperadoes knocking back shots of the Ilegal Mezcal that Cafe No Se produces in Oaxaca, Mexico, and now distributes in New York and a few other places in the USA..

Pizza from Tu Pina Tambien is served if you order before 10 PM. In addition to being a bar, restaurant and Mecca of mezcal, Cafe No Se is also the home of La Cuadra, Central America’s leading literary magazine

Whether you’re in town to party, study, see the sights or just make trouble, Cafe No Se is the place to kick off a fun night on the town in Antigua.

Location: On 1st Avenue near 6th Street, Cafe No Se is across the street from Tu Pina Tambien and El Hostal. Open daily from Noon-1 AM..

La Antigua, Guatemala, the Mysterious City of Colonials Ruins, Nightlife and Bars, Tours