The hottest spots to enjoy cool drinks
By Chris Sands
Los Cabos averages more than 350 days of sunshine per year, with the highest temperatures typically occurring during late summer and early fall. But don’t fear the heat. Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo offer a bevy of chill bars, shaded or air-conditioned oases whose coolness quotient isn’t simply a function of their thermostat readings but also their laid-back atmospheres and impressive array of umbrella-garnished tropical cocktails and ice-cold cervezas.
So, here’s our list of the five chillest bars in Los Cabos:
Sunset da Mona Lisa didn’t need any new features to reign as one of Los Cabos’ most enduring landmarks. The Tourist Corridor restaurant is honored annually as one of the most romantic dining experiences in the world—it was rated one of the five coolest restaurants in the world by the New York Times—with tables perched cliff-side just above the Sea of Cortés and magnificent views of the sun as it explodes nightly in a sunset burst of color beyond Land’s End. But the Italian- and seafood-themed eatery has nonetheless upped its wow factor, thanks to the recent addition of the Taittinger Terrace (www.sunsetmonalisa.com/t-terrace).
The Baja Peninsula’s first Champagne and oyster bar premiered last December to universal praise—from locals and visitors. Guests are invited to savor caviar, shellfish, and flutes filled with stylish French bubbly, all while listening to live jazz, and basking in the restaurant’s incredible natural setting.
Pitahayas (www.pitahayas.com) celebrated its 20th anniversary in June with the grand opening of a really cool bar area that blends well with the existing architecture, including palapa roof, semi-round covered flagstone terrace and open terrace with canopy-covered lounge beds and fire pits. Pitahayas is known for one of the most beautiful palapas in all Los Cabos with an unobstructed view of the Sea of Cortés. Guests can now enjoy a more casual environment, but with the same amenities of romance, candlelight, and fabulous sunset and moonrise views. Premium labels are the signature for the new addition as are well-crafted concoctions of the mixologist.
Inventive martinis and mojitos beckon one to try fruit inspired potions such as Pink Mojito made with cranberry juice or Mint Breeze martini with mint leaves, lemongrass, ginger, and agave syrup. The bar offers a limited appetizer menu that will hold until dinnertime. Try the yellow fin tuna cone with wasabi mayo or beef tacos on a bed of sweet potato puree with Asian guacamole.
Sunset da Mona Lisa isn’t the only Los Cabos restaurant with a chic Champagne lounge. The first such establishment to open in Los Cabos was actually Nick-San Palmilla’s Garden (www.nicksangarden.com), an offshoot of Nick-San’s acclaimed sushi location at upscale shopping center Las Tiendas de Palmilla (the Shoppes at Palmilla).
The elegant terrace and garden lounge offers a cork popping celebration of Champagne and cocktails, as well as charming company, and of course gorgeous views of Palmilla Bay. There is also, naturally, menu access to the custom sushi creations pioneered by Angel Carbajal and Masayuki Nikura: The two chefs’ fusion of Japanese cuisine with traditional Mexican ingredients revolutionized the local dining scene, and it has subsequently led to additional restaurants on mainland México. Nick-San Garden hosts live jazz and world music on Tuesday evenings 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m., and it is now much in demand as a wedding and special events venue.
Barefoot fine dining is something of a local specialty, and nobody does it better than Baja Cantina Beach (www.bajacantinabeachclub.com). But before you kick of your espadrilles and dig into the seaside restaurant’s signature canoa (canoe) buffet of fresh local seafood, swing
by the beachfront bar. Literally, swing by the beachfront bar. Instead of traditional stools, the cold beer and cocktail mecca is surrounded by rope suspended swings, allowing guests to generate fresh sea breezes while they drink them. The popular pit stop is located on the Los Cabos area’s largest and most popular beach, Playa El Médano. It showcases spectacular views of Cabo San Lucas Bay and Lover’s Beach as well as all the evocatively shaped granite rock formations at Land’s End. Baja Cantina also boasts a second bar whose specialties include cool shaded seating, sushi, and live looks at the most popular televised sporting events.
Cabo Wabo Cantina (www.cabowabocantina.com/cabo) has been the epitome of Cabo style cool for 25 years, ever since Sammy Hagar and his bandmates in Van Halen opened the place back in 1990.
In fact, Cabo Wabo Cantina’s rock ‘n’ roll attitude and good-time, party-hearty atmosphere helped put Cabo San Lucas on the map as a resort destination. The best time to visit the festive day and nightclub is in October, when Sammy celebrates his birthday with a series of concerts featuring an all-star lineup of contemporary rock and country stars. But comfort food specials, ice-cold cocktails, and hard-driving music are on tap year round. For maximum chill factor, start with an order of Waboritas. The world-famous house spin on the traditional margarita features a tasty mixture of tequila, Cointreau, Grand Marnier and lime juice, and is a sure fire way to counteract the tropical summer heat.