The band had mercifully stopped massacring a 1970s Steely Dan number and were taking a break. This wasn’t technically the ‘jazz’ that was advertised at this San Miguel de Allende bar, but then not much in San Miguel met expectations, apart from the prettiness of the town itself. Fortunately, as we’d soon discover, there is more to the sounds of San Miguel de Allende than bad Seventies cover bands.

Still, Steely Dan’s complex tunes were always jazz-influenced. It’s just this particular band was not capable of that kind of complexity. But it wasn’t this that made me spill my beer…

The Seventies hard rock band Deep Purple were now playing on the sound system. A woman who must have been north of 80 years old swayed to Highway Star.

We toasted her staying power and made for the door, because it seemed they weren’t just playing one song by Deep Purple. The opening chords of Smoke on the Water echoed through the place as we left…

But there is good nightlife to be found in San Miguel de Allende, as we would appreciate several hours, several tequila shots and several margaritas later, sitting in front of Benjamin Lara who was on a stage in his bar, strumming his guitar as he sang songs of love and lament, sipping drinks and telling stories in between tunes.

San Miguel’s nightlife is best enjoyed on the weekends when locals and visiting Mexicans are out for a good time. Here’s where the local fun is to be had, especially if you’re keen on live music and listening to the sounds of San Miguel de Allende:

  • With locals out celebrating, from the nightly sing-a-longs with the mariachis on the square to the movable wedding parties drinking and dancing through the streets of the town;
  • The live music venues such as Mama’s Bar where flirty young Mexicans outnumber expats to see bands performing everything from Brazilian hip hop to Mexican hard rock;
  • At the flamenco guitar performances at sophisticated bar and restaurant La Fragua, appreciated by wealthy Mexicans as much as moneyed expats;
  • At cool dimly-lit bars such as La Coronella (corner Plaza Principal and calle Reloj) with its juke box, lucha libre on the TV and old Mexican movie star posters plastered on the walls, where over two weeks we never saw another foreigner enter the place; and
  • At musician Benjamin Lara’s bar, an atmospheric working class joint (on calle Mesones) where drunk Mexicans make requests and drown their sorrows or simply down tequilas as they sing along to Benjamin’s beautiful rancheros.

Have you been to San Miguel de Allende? Where do you like to go when you’re in town? Please do share any good local nightlife tips in the Comments below.

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