search

The Party That Never Ends: Downtown Cabo's Uninhibited Nightlife Scene



Rowdy, rollicking, boisterous, spirited, uninhibited...the nightlife scene in Cabo San Lucas has been called many things, but boring isn't one of them. Although beach bars and waterfront cantinas have certainly contributed to the city's well-earned reputation as a party hearty paradise, the heart and soul of Cabo's vibrant nightlife scene is the downtown tourist district, particularly the two block stretch surrounding Plaza Bonita.This hip, dance club filled quarter showcases Cabo San Lucas at its late night best, and is home to signature nightspots like Coco Bongo, El Squid Roe, Mandala, Nowhere Bar and Pink Kitty.

Rather rock n’ roll all night? Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina serves up hard rocking live entertainment on a regular basis, as does the nearby Jungle Bar. But like the KISS song says–KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, by the way, have their own place in San José del Cabo–to do it right, you have to “rock n’ roll all night” and “party every day.” So during daylight hours, these popular haunts also feature plenty of pub-style grub, happy hour drink specials and televised sporting events.


Advertisement



Jungle Bar has never quite been the same as it was during the heyday of Strogeno, when lead singer Monster and the boys would kick out the jams four nights a week - in two languages - and the crowds would spill far out onto the sidewalks. But this is still a popular hangout for night owls who want to avoid the disco/DJ scene: those who don't want to feel out of place in their ripped jeans and concert shirts, or need a place to wash out the road dust after stabling their Harley. Sports are shown on the high-def televisions, but the sound is turned down whenever there's a good band playing, which still happens on a regular basis. Thursday is ladies' night.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Jungle Bar is one of the best sports bars and live music venues in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Chris's expert tip: Visit www.facebook.com/JungleBarCabo/ to get up-to-date information about live bands and daily drink specials.

Read more about Jungle Bar →




A chic and sexy downtown nightclub with boutique boudoir décor and lots of high-end bottle service, Pink Kitty has, for at least seven years now, been among the premier places to see and be seen in downtown Cabo San Lucas, and a landmark of the local late night scene. Once a popular stop for visiting celebrities, it remains one of the few places visitors can really show off their upscale tropical wardrobe. It's also a great place to dance the night away, thanks to a rotating cast of great international DJs. In addition to the terrific dance music, there are also many theme parties and special events.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Pink Kitty is one of the best dance clubs and upscale nightlife venues in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Chris's expert tip: Pink Kitty is known for their special events, past examples of which include the Valentine's Day Love and Lust Lingerie Ball and the Pimp and Ho Charity Costume Ball.

Read more about Pink Kitty →




Don't think for a second that Nowhere Bar doesn't rage until the wee hours of the morning. But among discerning locals, this marina facing bar at Plaza Bonita is best known as a preferred place to start the party after dinner. The location is hard to beat, with a dockside perch looking out across the marina and the fishing boats gently rocking in their slips. It's a gorgeous site in the gloaming, with crowds milling about on the boardwalk promenade, and the occasional waterfront cameo by a pelican or sea lion. The drinks flow here all day, but the dancing starts after dark. This is one of the best dance bars downtown, and it's quite close to several of the others, including Mandala, Pink Kitty, Coco Bongo and Squid Roe. So start here and if it isn't going off yet, you can club hop until you find a spot you like. Odds are pretty good you'll end up Nowhere again at closing time.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Nowhere Bar offers dual pleasures: a scenic marina-front perch as well as close proximity to the primary cluster of downtown nightclubs around Plaza Bonita.

Chris's expert tip: This is the best downtown spot for after-dinner drinks and dancing.

Read more about Nowhere Bar →


Advertisement


This place has a loyal clientele, and it's easy to see why. Their ongoing offer of two beers and two tequila shots for five dollars remains the best deal in town. Unlike many bars in Cabo San Lucas that don't really hit their stride until after midnight, Happy Ending is a perfect spot to while away the afternoons and early evening hours - beer pong, anyone? - as well as a congenial stop for happy hour. The sound system plays rock and country standards, their televisions show all the latest sporting events, and there is plenty of shaded seating. And don't forget the bar menu, and the area's best souvenir t-shirts. Free phone calls to the U.S. and Canada are another added benefit.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Happy Ending has the best souvenir t-shirts in town, plus the best bar deal: two beers and two shots of tequila for $5 U.S.

Chris's expert tip: Beer pong is Happy Ending's most popular sport, and the staff is quick to set up tables with the slightest provocation. There is also a pool table in the back.

Read more about Happy Ending Cantina →




There always seems to be an "it" bar in Cabo San Lucas, a place where expats and regular visitors congregate en masse, and every visit promises reunions with long-lost friends. Since its opening in late 2016, Sancho's has been that bar, due in large part to co-owner Margo Marek's popularity from her bartending days at downtown watering hole Cabo Blue. Familiar faces are only part of the appeal, however. Sancho's also benefits from a beautiful Marina location, with terrace views of the boardwalk promenade, boats tied up at nearby docks, and the picturesque high point (Cerro del Vigía) of the half-mile Land's End promontory. Inside, TVs are tuned to music videos or live sporting events, drinks flow freely, and the kitchen dishes up specialties like the signature Pink Taco, a hard-shell tortilla (pink, naturally) filled with tasty fixings.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Sancho's is the watering hole of choice for expats and intrepid travelers looking to cultivate local knowledge.

Chris's expert tip: The snack specialty of the house is a Pink Taco, a pink hard shell taco generously layered with lettuce topped beef, fish or shrimp, and then slathered in sour cream and creamy processed cheese.

Read more about Sancho's Bar →


Coco Bongo Los Cabos
Photo courtesy of Chris Sands


Every decade or so the Cabo San Lucas nightlife scene gets a much needed shakeup thanks to the arrival of an all-new concept. Coco Bongo is the latest manifestation, with an original concept for Cabo, but one that has already been target tested and approved in Mexican resort destinations like Cancún and Playa del Carmen. What sets it apart from its new neighbors in the downtown nightlife district? Start with a four-hour Las Vegas style floorshow, complete with stage performers and Cirque du Soleil style acrobats twirling overhead, as well as the DJs and pulsing dance beats one would expect in a popular late night club. It's a performance based experience, which is why unlike most neighboring clubs, tickets are required for admittance (visit the website at www.cocobongo.com for details). Bachelorette focused party packages are available, as are VIP amenities and services.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Coco Bongo is the best new nightlife destination in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Chris's expert tip: VIP tables offer your own personal host, plus private entrance, bottle service, and privileged table seating for views of the floorshow.

Read more about Coco Bongo Los Cabos →




The Cabo San Lucas version of Mandala (their original location is in Cancún) offers a more traditionally club-like atmosphere than next door neighbor El Squid Roe, with great dance music from a rotating cast of international DJs, colorful lighting, upscale décor, and a full slate of VIP amenities. Along with Pink Kitty and El Squid Roe, this is the top nightclub in the traditional downtown nightlife district, and one of the better spots for after midnight, bottle service related revelry. The dance floor is huge, with celebrity DJs imported for special occasions. Mandala throws the region's best Halloween party, crushes New Year's Eve, and is among the top local late night hangouts for visiting celebrities.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Mandala is one of the best late night clubs in Los Cabos, and a staple of the downtown Cabo San Lucas nightlife scene.

Chris's expert tip: VIP tables are the most in-demand amenity. Call ahead for availability, or visit mandalatickets.com/en/cabos/disco/mandala.

Read more about Mandala Los Cabos →


Arre Mango
Photo courtesy of Chris Sands


Although not as much frequented by tourists as some of the other nightlife options on this list, Arre Mango is a beloved late night destination for locals, particularly on weekends when the place packs in the crowds for karaoke and salsa dancing. But there's something lively and festive on tap here every night, whether it's karaoke and Latin dance music on Saturday and Sunday, rock n' roll on Wednesday, pozole and tequila on Thursday, or traditional mariachi music on Friday. If you want to show up early for dinner, or need an energy boost before heading back to the dance floor, the onsite kitchen dishes up a wide variety of Mexican comfort food dishes, as well as chicken wings, hamburgers and French fries. Drink specials are another attractive option, notably on Tuesday when all beers are two for the price of one.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: Arre Mango is the preferred nightlife destination for locals (non-expat variety), and the best place in town for karaoke and salsa dancing.

Chris's expert tip: If the Mango name seems familiar that's because the ownership group is also responsible for Mango Deck, the famed Médano Beach hotspot and Spring Break mecca, as well as Mango Cantina on the Cabo San Lucas Marina.

Read more about Arre Mango →




Cabo Wabo has come a long way in 29 years, since its MTV advertised premiere birthed a brand new Spring Break destination. Originally opened in 1990 by Sammy Hagar and his then Van Halen bandmates - who can forget the eponymous song from their OU812 album? - Cabo Wabo has since become a mandatory stop for just about everyone who visits Cabo San Lucas, even cruise ship passengers who only come ashore for a few hours. It's a complete lifestyle experience, albeit one which continues to revolve around live music. A house band jams good-time rock n' roll seven nights a week, with occasional cameos from visiting country and rock stars. But there are other reasons beyond boogying down to stop by, from "waboritas" (the house version of the margarita) to comfort food specialty dishes and souvenir t-shirts. The best time to visit is during October, when "The Red Rocker" himself hosts his annual birthday bashes with plenty of big-name guests.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: This is the best live music venue in Cabo San Lucas.

Chris's expert tip: The best time to visit Cabo Wabo is in October, when Sammy's birthday bash draws plenty of other famous musicians and celebrities, as well as fans from across the U.S. and Canada.

Read more about Cabo Wabo Cantina →




Cabo Wabo is where you go if you want to see a rock star. This is where you go if you want to party like one. The downtown nightspot supreme, El Squid Roe has been packing in the crowds for decades, and is one of the landmarks of the Cabo San Lucas nightlife scene. Whenever you see unfortunate after midnight-photos of celebrities in Cabo, odds are this is where they were taken. Everyone goes here, both locals and tourists, and the multiple levels are usually crowded by midnight. After midnight, the pace accelerates, as do the jello shots. Late night ballast is available from the Billy Kitchen.

Recommended for Downtown Cabo's Best Nightlife because: El Squid Roe is the most popular nightspot in Los Cabos.

Chris's expert tip: Squid Roe is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019. Ask about special souvenir products and apparel.

Read more about El Squid Roe →


Map

Meet Chris Sands

Chris Sands is co-founder of CaboVivo, co-writer of Fodor's Los Cabos travel guidebook, and a contributor to 10Best at USA Today, as well as other websites and publications. His specialty is...  More About Chris

×