Puerto Vallarta

Outdoorsy Vallarta switches gears after dark and rocks into the wee hours. When the beachgoers and sightseers have been showered and fed, Vallarta kicks up its heels and puts the baby to bed. Happy hour in martini lounges sets the stage for an evening that might include a show, live music, or just hobnobbing under the stars at a rooftop bar.

Many hotels have Mexican fiesta dinner shows, which can be lavish affairs with buffet dinners, folk dances, and even fireworks. Tour groups and individuals—mainly middle-age and older Americans and Canadians—make up the audience at the Saturday-night buffet dinner show at Playa Los Arcos and other hotels. Vaqueros (cowboys) do rope tricks and dancers perform Mexican regional or pseudo-Aztec dances. The late-late crowd gets down after midnight at dance clubs, some of which stay open until 6 am.

The scene mellows as you head north and south of Puerto Vallarta. In Punta Mita (aka Punta de Mita), Bucerías, Sayulita, and San Francisco (aka San Pancho), local restaurants provide live music; the owners usually scare up someone good once or twice a week in high season. Along the Costalegre, tranquility reigns. Most people head here for relaxation, and nightlife generally takes the form of stargazing, drink in hand. If you're visiting June through October (low season), attend live performances whenever offered, as they are few and far between.

Although there's definitely crossover, many Mexicans favor the upscale bars and clubs of the Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta hotels, while foreigners tend to like the Mexican flavor of places downtown and on the south side (the Zona Romántica), where dress is decidedly more casual.

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  • 1. El patio de mi casa

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    The go-to place for the artistic community of PV, El patio de mia casa is advertised as a sandwich shop, pizza place, and vegetarian/vegan haven...Read More

  • 2. Los Muertos Brewing Company

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    If you love a good beer, Los Muertos Brewing Company is for you. The first craft brewery in Puerto Vallarta offers a relaxed atmosphere and...Read More

  • 3. Andale

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    Most nights, crowds spill out onto the sidewalk as party-hearty men and women shimmy out of the narrow saloon, drinks in hand, to the strains...Read More

  • 4. Apaches

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    It's gay friendly, lesbian friendly, people friendly. Heck, owner Mariann and her partner, Endra, would probably welcome you and your pet...Read More

  • 5. Bar Bolero Vallarta

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    Looking for a small bar with an authentic taste of Puerto Vallarta? Bolero is just what you need—a cozy little bar with a pool table and not...Read More

  • 6. Blue Chairs

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    In addition to its famous beach scene, Blue Chairs, at the south end of Los Muertos Beach, has the popular Blue Sunset Rooftop Bar, which...Read More

  • 7. Burro's Bar

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    Right on the sand across from Parque Lázaro Cárdenas, this restaurant-bar has bargain brewskis and equally inexpensive fruity margaritas by...Read More

  • 8. Cervecería Unión

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    A favorite with the locals, this is a delightful place to have a quality beer and enjoy some of the best oysters in town. In fact, it's the...Read More

  • 9. El Faro

    Marina Vallarta | Bars/Pubs

    Here you can admire the bay and marina from atop a 110-foot lighthouse. It's mainly a baby-boomer crowd (think yachters) and open daily after...Read More

  • 10. El Solar

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    This oceanfront bar is just the way a beach bar is supposed to be—small, hip, and laid-back—making it a real pleasure to enjoy a beer while...Read More

  • 11. Frida

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    We've heard this place described as "the gay Cheers of Mexico." It's a friendly neighborhood cantina where you'll meet middle-aged to older...Read More

  • 12. Garbo

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    This isn't necessarily the kind of place where you'll strike up a conversation with the guy on the next barstool; rather, it's an upscale place...Read More

  • 13. La Cantina

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    Although it isn't especially hip, La Cantina has a good view of Banderas Bay and the boardwalk from its second floor. It also has canned (and...Read More

  • 14. La Noche

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    This charming martini lounge has red walls and a huge, eye-catching chandelier. Gringo-owned, it attracts a crowd of gay 20- to 40-year-old...Read More

  • 15. La Regadera

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    Talent at this karaoke spot varies; it's open Monday through Saturday (except during low season, when the schedule is less consistent) after...Read More

  • 16. Party Lounge

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    This place, across from Parque Hidalgo, is open daily from noon to 6 am for stop-and-go drinks, mainly litros ( 34-ounce tequila sunrises)...Read More

  • 17. Peyote Lounge

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    Bon vivants should head for the latest offshoot of hotshot restaurant Café des Artistes. Peyote Lounge is a celebration of the Huichol, the...Read More

  • 18. Puerto Fish Bar & Seafood

    Bars/Pubs

    Locals, mostly in their 20s, frequent this small bar with a comfortable second floor equipped with sofas and a nice balcony. Lounge and house...Read More

  • 19. Señor Frog's

    El Centro | Bars/Pubs

    What's called simply "Frog's" by the locals is a good old-fashioned free-for-all for the young and the restless. There are black lights on the...Read More

  • 20. Steve's Bar

    Zona Romántica | Bars/Pubs

    With NASCAR on Sunday morning, NFL on Monday night, hockey, indispensable motocross, and welterweight fights, Steve's is a sports mecca. Five...Read More

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