Originally cantinas were Italian wine cellars but as the concept migrated to Mexico, they first appeared as upper class Spanish wine bars but soon merged with lower class pulquerias into havens exclusively for men until 1982, when the law banning women from entering cantinas was lifted. This law may be gone but the attitude remains; single men in cantinas are hungry.
The cantinas we cover here in Puerto Vallarta in this Bar Guide are mostly tame by traditional Mexican standards. That is, of course, unless you stumble into one late, late at night on a bad, bad moon. A lonely gringo in a cantina can be a sad sight.
Some cantinas are still bastions of machismo, the working class man’s “men’s clubs,” with the only females in sight working women. Furnishings are sparse with a few wooden or plastic tables, a jukebox and a small bar serving the basics. There are some gringo bars in Vallarta calling themselves “cantinas” and playing on the concept but they will be listed separately.
In the cantina, a man travels to unimaginable places, but the next day reality is crueler than his hangover. — Oaxacan poet Eufrasio Reyes
REAL PUERTO VALLARTA CANTINAS: