Mezcal Bars in Oaxaca, Mexico: A List With Commentaries on the Mezcalerias

The number of mezcal bars, or mezcalerías in Oaxaca specializing in artisanal mezcals, has been increasing virtually every couple of months throughout 2014. The meteoric rise in the popularity of the iconic Mexican agave based spirit has spelled more mezcal tourism to the city, both in terms of visitors to Oaxaca arriving from foreign countries, as well as from cities throughout Mexico – to learn, to sample, to buy and to export.

I’m frequently asked “where in the city should I go to drink a range of mezcals.” This, then, is a compendium of mezcalerías in the city of Oaxaca, which includes a couple of local haunts which also serve beer but are nevertheless primarily known for their sale of the agave intoxicant.

It’s important to note the date of this publication, October, 2014, since retail outlets in Oaxaca come and go, especially restaurants, art galleries and craft shops. But in the case of mezcalarías and bars, notwithstanding the vagaries of tourism in Mexico, it is suggested that their numbers will keep growing, and nary a one will close; locales for leasing can be very small with corresponding low monthly rent, people will travel outside of the downtown core into the farthest fringes of the céntro histórico and indeed beyond in search of a “really cool bar,” and mezcal’s star will continue to rise. So today’s list will by definition, and based on the foregoing, be different from tomorrow’s.

The days and hours of operation noted must be taken with a grain of salt. They seem to change at the whim of management, based on level of tourism in the city, and if employees and owners are otherwise elsewhere engaged. But in most cases you can find them open evenings Tuesday or Wednesday through Saturday. Some make a diligent effort to be operational during their published times, even those with morning hours.

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