Guide to Bar Andaluz in Ensenada (The Possible Birthplace of the Margarita)

Hannah with her eyes closed holding a large glass to her face. The glass is a strawberry margarita from Bar Andaluz in Ensenada, Mexico, the birthplace of the margarita. The margarita is pink, and the glass' rim has salt, taijin, and a lime

Are you going to Ensenada any time soon, from San Diego or a cruise port stop? You have to visit Bar Andaluz, where the margarita (yes, the Mexican cocktail everyone loves and eats with tacos) was invented!

Cecilio and I went on a Carnival cruise sailing out of Long Beach with port stops in Catalina Island and Ensenada. We went on a private tour, with our guide, Eugenia, driving us to La Bufadora (one of the largest marine geysers in the world) for a couple of hours. She then took us to Bar Andaluz (where the margarita was possibly invented) towards the end of our tour.

You bet I couldn’t leave without ordering a glass myself!

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Bar Andaluz Overview

Location and Hours

Riviera de Ensenada, Zona Centro
22800 Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

Hours

  • Sunday: 10:00 AM—8:00 PM
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM—11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM—1:00 AM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM—11:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM—12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM—1:00 AM

How to get to Bar Andaluz

From the cruise port

Getting to Bar Andaluz from the cruise port is super easy! All you have to do is walk off your ship and venture across the street to Riviera del Pacifico, where the bar is located.

You can’t miss it, because Riviera del Pacifico is a large white Colonial Californiano-style building. The entrance to Riviera del Pacifico and the bar are on the other side of the street.

From San Diego or Los Angeles

  1. Take I-5 South all the way straight until you reach the Mexican border
  2. Keep straight from Dist Caracol Zona del Río/Puente México/Vía de la Juventud Ote from the border and continue driving
  3. Exit on Rosarito/La Mesa/Ensenada
  4. Merge onto Avenida Vía Rápida Pte.
  5. Exit on Tecate/Mexicali/México
  6. Turn right onto Blvd. Nogales
  7. Merge onto Corredor Tijuana – Rosarito
  8. Exit onto Escenica Tijuana-Ensenada/México toward Ensenada
  9. Slight right to Carr. Transpeninsular/Blvd. Fernando Consag/Rosarito

Weekly Specials

Bar Andaluz has specials on Wednesdays called Miércoles de Margaritas, where you can get 2 classic margaritas for $100 MXN ($5.99 USD) or 2 fruity margaritas for $110 MXN ($6.59 USD).

Their other weekly promotions include:

  • Martes de Mojitos (Tuesdays): 2 mojitos for $120 MXN ($7.19 USD)
  • Jueves de Sangrias (Thursdays): 2 sangrias for $130 MXN ($7.79 USD)
  • Viernes de Micheladas (Fridays): 2 clara (chelada, which are clear, bright, low-alcohol beers) for $120 MXN ($7.19 USD), or 2 oscura (dark beers) for $130 MXN ($7.79 USD)
  • Sábado de Palomas (Saturdays): 2 palomas for $120 MXN ($7.19 USD)

You can follow their Instagram page for their upcoming specials, events, and happenings. Everything is in Spanish, so if you don’t speak Spanish, you can screenshot their posts and use Google Lens to translate the text.

A glass of a strawberry margarita from Bar Andaluz in Ensenada, Mexico. The margarita is pink, and the rim has salt, tajin, and a lime. The drink is on a table.

History

History of Riviera del Pacifico

Bar Andaluz is located in Riviera del Pacifico (also known as Cultural Center Riviera).

Riviera del Pacifico was once a popular luxury hotel from the 1930s–1960s, previously named Hotel Playa del Ensenada, then Hotel Riviera del Pacifico. Tourists from the U.S. would flee to Mexico to relax and drink, especially during the Prohibition era (which ended in 1933). As a result, Ensenada became a hot spot for tourism in the 20th century.

After Prohibition ended, the hotel was on the decline. Towards the 1960s, the Mexican government took over the hotel, which then closed down in 1964.

Eventually, the government converted the hotel into a cultural center that preserved some of the interior designs, from the tiles to the murals. There is also a small courtyard where vendors sell trinkets and things for their small businesses. Bar Andaluz is right next to the courtyard, inside the building.

Photo of Riviera del Pacifico in Ensenada, Mexico on a cloudy day. It's a Spanish colonial building that used to be a luxury hotel in the 20th century called Hotel Riviera del Pacifico. Now, it's a cultural center and a museum owned by the Mexican government. There are a few palm trees right next to and in front of the building, along with a lawn of green grass.
Hannah and Cecilio posing in front of the camera inside Riviera del Pacifico in Ensenada, Mexico. This Spanish colonial building used to be a luxury hotel in the 20th century, and is now a cultural center. Right behind Hannah and Cecilio are three chandeliers, and large arches inside the building. They are posing in front of a brown fence inside a large gathering room. Right behind them, there are a large group of people on a tour, some sitting and some standing. There are also tables and chairs lined up.

History of Bar Andaluz and the Margarita

While many different bars claim that they have invented the margarita, Bar Andaluz has a lot of documentation to prove that they created it (according to Eugenia).

According to Bar Andaluz, one of the bartenders, David Negrete, created the concoction in 1948. He named the drink the margarita in honor of Marjorie “Margarita” King Plant, who owned the hotel alongside her husband, Alfonso Rocha. Margarita is the Spanish name for Marjorie, which is just fitting!

All About the Bar & Drink Offerings

Bar Andaluz is small and dimly lit with limited seating (but there are more seats outside in the courtyard). But there’s so much charm. Walking in feels like you’re stepping into a piece of history, as much of the tiles and paintings have been preserved since its creation.

The mural on the bar was painted by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, a famous muralist and artist who painted most of the murals all over Riviera del Pacifico.

The inside of Bar Andaluz in Ensenada, Mexico. This bar is said to have been the birthplace of the margarita. The floor has a Spanish tile pattern, and the counter at the bar is a cherry wood color. Right behind all the drinks, there is a large mural painted by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, a famous Mexican artist.To the right of the photo, there is a a bartender

Because Bar Andaluz is most known as the possible birthplace of the margarita, you’d be out of your mind to not order a glass. These glasses are large goblets and are as big as my head, for only around $6 USD. That is affordable if you’re coming from the US, Europe, Canada, or Australia. A margarita that size would’ve been at least $15 USD back in California.

You can get a classic margarita or one of the fruity flavors; they have peach, mango, strawberry, and tamarind. I got the strawberry margarita, blended (you could get it on the rocks too). It was tasty and refreshing!

The glass was so large that Cecilio had to take a few sips from me since we had limited time on our tour after coming from La Bufadora, even though he doesn’t drink and didn’t like the taste.

A large margarita glass filled with a pink strawberry margarita and salt and tajin rim. On the left there is a small lime on the rim. The margarita is on a table, with a window behind it. This is in Bar Andaluz in Ensenada, Mexico, the birthplace of the margarita drink

Ensenada Tours that Take You To Bar Andaluz

We saw tour groups from our cruise and a Princess cruise coming in and getting small samples of margaritas in a plastic cup. All I can say is that I am so glad we booked a private tour with Eugenia instead of through the cruise. Not only was our tour half the cost of the ones our cruise offered, but I got to try the full-sized margarita instead of a sample.

Plus, by booking a tour outside the cruise line, you are supporting the local businesses and helping the economy grow. You also get a more personalized guide. If you were to book a tour with the cruise line, you’ll be lining up in a bus full of other fellow passengers.

If you are coming from a cruise, here are some of the best Ensenada tours you can go on, where they take you to Bar Andaluz:

  • La Bufadora Geyser Tour: This is the tour Cecilio and I took with Eugenia. She drove us to La Bufadora first, and we spent an hour and a half there before heading to Bar Andaluz and Downtown Ensenada. She gifted us a small bag of Pringles and a bottle of water when we stepped inside her van. Throughout the drive on the way to La Bufadora, she talked about Ensenada’s rich history and industries. While we were in La Bufadora, she showed us around the markets, knew all the local shop owners, and encouraged us to sample the drinks and candies they offered.
  • Ford Model T Tour: Travel around Ensenada in style riding a 1903 Ford T Model. Since space is limited in the vehicle, you’ll have a much more personalized tour! And isn’t it unique to ride in a vintage car? On this tour, you will be heading to the Tequila Museum, the first winery in Baja California, and you will end in Bar Andaluz. How’s that for a buzz-filled day?
  • Shore Excursion Ensenada: Tuk-Tuk and Horseback Beach Ride: For this tour, you will be riding a tuk-tuk, which is similar to a rickshaw. Again, since this is also a private tour and there’s very limited space in the tuk-tuk, so it’s ideal for you or 2 other people, or even solo! This guide will drive you around Ensenada and to Hermosa Beach, where you will go horseback riding by the water. After that, you will end your tour in Bar Andaluz for some refreshing margaritas!

Wrapping Up Bar Andaluz in Ensenada

Whether you’re visiting Ensenada from a cruise or driving from SoCal, you have to include Bar Andaluz in your itinerary. Especially if you are a cocktail enthusiast and a Mexican food aficionado!

So next time you’re at Happy Hour drinking some margaritas along with tacos to nachos, you have Bar Andaluz to thank for starting it all. And eventually, you will need to pay homage there 🙂

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Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.

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