Tip: Make sure to book a mexcal tasting!

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Looking for the best bars in Oaxaca, Mexico? I’ve got you covered!

In the spring of 2024 I spent a full month living in and exploring the beautiful Oaxaca de Juarez and all of the best bars and restaurants in the city. With one particular drink favored over them all – mezcal!

Did you know that Oaxaca is the birthplace of mezcal? So there is no shortage of this delicious liquor in the city.

From local bars to grab a cheap beer to fancy rooftop bars and cocktail bars, this Oaxaca Bars Guide covers it all!

Cantaloupe Mezcal cocktail
Cantaloupe Mezcal cocktail
Mezcal Negroni in oaxaca
Mezcal Negroni

Before we dive in, here are a few of the most popular food tours and mezcal tours in Oaxaca: 

Top spots in Oaxaca for specific drinking occasions

  • Best rooftop bar: Terraza Istmo
  • Best mezcal tasting: In Situ Mezcaleria
  • Best craft beer: Oaxaca Brewery
  • Best local bar: Casa Porfirio
  • Best cocktails: Sobrio by Mezcal Speakeasy or Sabina Sabe
Terraza Istmo
Terraza Istmo
Mezcal cocktails always in oaxaca
Mezcal cocktails always

Prepare for your trip to Oaxaca:

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Best Bars in Oaxaca

Casa Porfirio

Casa Porforio was a definite repeat bar for us during our month in Oaxaca. In my opinon it is one of the best bars in Oaxca for a casual drink.

This lovely bar is tucked away on a side street with two small tables on a small balcony. It’s not usually busy, but it’s a great chill vibe out on the balcony. It’s a great spot for a nightcap.

Terraza Istmo

Of all of the bars in Oaxaca, Terraza Istmo is probably the bar that we visited the most during our month long stay in Oaxaca. This was partially due to its proximity to our apartment, but also because it was just an overall great rooftop bar. Terraza Istmo in located at the far west side of Centro, so it is still centrally located but slightly removed from the biggest crowds. This also means that the prices are a lot more affordable compared to some of the rooftops right by Santo Domingo church.

The bar consistently had great drinks, an amazing selection of mezcal pours, yummy snacks (make sure to try the molotes), and a great view of the city and surrounding mountain. Plus the staff here is so lovely and friendly!

The go-to drink was either the Santa Ana mezcal or a ‘suero’, which in Oaxaca City means a beer with lime and a salt rim. Watch out though, because in some cities that same term refers to just a seltzer water with lime and salt.

I recommend stopping by for a sunset drink and app before dinner. We never made a reservation and it never seemed to be an issue.

Sobrio by Mezcal Speakeasy

Located underneath Case Porfirio, another one of the best bars in Oaxaca, is the must-try mezcal bar Sobrio by Mezcal Speakeasy. Sobrio by Mezcal Speakeasy is located in a small but beautiful space.

Tastings are available by a knowledgeable bartender to learn about mezcal varieties. But personally I think the Oaxaroni (Oaxacan Mezcal Negroni) is the best!

Oaxaca Brewing Co.

Oaxaca Brewing Co. is a great bar in centro Oaxaca for craft beers. They have a large selection of local made craft beers. Everything we tried was delicious, but the mango sour was by far my favorite. I am a sucker for a sour beer.

They also have a full dinner menu, but we didn’t have a chance to try any of the food. If you visit and try it out, make sure to let me know in the comments below!

La Cueva Oaxaca

A dark and cozy bar serving some of the best cocktails in the city. Prices can be a bit high, but they often run specials on particular cocktails.

Set on a small street, this bar often draws a slightly more local crowd. It is a great late-night spot to enjoy some cocktails after dinner.

Tastavins

A small wine bar popular with locals for having cheap drinks and surprisingly delicious Italian food. Not only were the drinks super cheap (and pretty good), but we were impressed by how good the food was. In particular we loved the pesto pasta and garlic shrimp.

This is a great switch up if you’re looking for a budget-friendly night out.

Sabina Sabe

You may be familiar with the bar Sabina Sabe since it is currently ranked at #22 on the 50 Best Bars of North America list. They absolutely live up to that title, with a long list of perfectly crafted cocktails. We visited with a group of 4 and orders a few rounds, and truly everything we had was delicious. I must say, of all of the bars in Oaxaca, this one might make the best cocktails.

You have the option of sitting in their restaurant area (more casual) or by the bar. We sat by the bar and enjoyed some ‘molotes’ while we sipped our drinks.

I recommend making a reservation, especially during the busy season.

Mezcalería In Situ

Mezcalería In Situ is an amazing bar in Oaxaca to learn all about mezcal. You can order by the glass or do a full mezcal tasting.

Their mezcals are separated into different categories based on 1) which agave plant they’re made from and 2) what vessel was used for distilling. It’s crazy how different all of the agave varieties taste!

A tasting of 5 mezcals costs 500 MXN and does not need to be booked in advance.

Mezcalería In Situ
Mezcalería In Situ
La Cueva Oaxaca
La Cueva Oaxaca

Amá Terraza $$

Amá Terraza is a small rooftop terrace by the San Pablo Cultural Center. It is a great place to grab a coffee during the day or a glass of wine at night – they even have natural wine by the bottle (which is a big win in my book)!

Otro Rooftop

The rooftop at Otro Oaxaca hotel, located directly across from Santo Domingo church, offers some of the best views of the city. The best part? You don’t need to be a guest to visit and enjoy a delicious drink.

The bartenders are great so you can’t really go wrong, but the cantaloupe mezcal cocktail is super refreshing and unique.

Add my Oaxaca recs to your Google Map

Stop wasting time saving all my recs and instead easily add them all to your Google Maps in one go so you’re ready to explore! 

150+ locations pinned of the best:
– Restaurants, cafes, and bars
– The best markets and which stalls to eat at
– Best cultural sites including museums, churches, gardens, etc
– Print and pottery shops for souvenirs

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Getting to Oaxaca

Oaxaca is fairly easy to get to because it has its own international airport, Xoxocotlan International Airport (OAX). There are a few direct flights to Oaxaca from US destinations like Los Angeles and Dallas, but most international flights have a quick layover in Mexico City. 

If you’re planning to extend your trip and spend some time in Mexico City as well, you can find a number of domestic flights and buses between the two cities.

The Oaxaca airport is located about 15-20 minutes outside of the city center. You have the option of a private car ($28) or a shared car ($7). 

Don’t forget travel insurance

Sign up for Heymondo travel insurance to make your travel experience worry-free. Heymondo covers medical expenses, 24-hour medical chat, COVID coverage, delays, cancellation, and more. Check out Heymondo here.

Getting around Oaxaca

It is super easy to get around Oaxaca, as the city’s tourist center is actually quite small. You can walk from one end of Oaxaca’s downtown to the other in about 30 minutes. 

If you’re traveling to other neighborhoods or don’t feel like walking, you can use the rideshare app DiDi. There is no Uber in Oaxaca, but DiDi is a comparable alternative. Between Centro and Reforma or Jatalaco we typically paid between 80-100 Mexican pesos (in 2024).

There are also collectivo available, which are shared taxis. These are hailed on the street and can be taken if the driver is already going in your direction. 

If you’re traveling further outside of the city then you have the option of renting a car or joining a tour, depending on your preference. We rented a car twice while in Oaxaca and it was a great way to have more independence when exploring, but you’ll learn a lot more about Oaxaca’s history and culture when joining a tour. 

Where to stay in Oaxaca

You can find a wide range of hotels and apartments in Oaxaca. There are so many beautiful boutique hotels to stay at in Oaxaca City.

You can check out my full guide on where to stay in Oaxaca here.

GRANA B&B
GRANA B&B
Otro Oaxaca
Otro Oaxaca

Here are a few of the best hotels in Oaxaca:

If you’re looking for a longer stay, then there are one and multi-month apartments available on platforms like Airbnb and available through local Facebook groups.

GRANA B&B

GRANA B&B is a lovely bed and breakfast in the heart of Oaxaca City. The bright and plant-filled space is an oasis in the city. A delicious breakfast is served daily in their dreamy kitchen. Rates start at less than $200/per night.

Check rates and availability

Visiting Oaxaca? Check out these other articles:

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