Those looking for a good time with 3,000 or so of their best friends have at least one alternative in Cancun, Congo Bongo. Live bands regularly hit the stage and play a variety of music ranging from techno and 70s rock classics to salsa. There are also varied nightly shows including Michael Jackson and Madonna impersonators. When you feel your feet start to move, don't bother looking for a dance floor because there isn't one. People just dance where they can find a little space, whether that means shaking it right where they are or getting up on the table to dance. The cover charge includes open bar.
Recommended for Live Music because: Coco Bongo is one of the most popular nightclubs in Cancun and features live shows every night.
Susan's expert tip: The main floor gets incredibly crowded. To have more comfortable and enjoyable evening, request a table up on one of the higher levels that overlook the main floor. You'll have a better view for all the shows too.
For over 40 years, Hard Rock Cafe has been known for delicious food, live music, and its amazing collection of rock 'n roll memorabilia. Each Hard Rock Cafe is different and the Cancun version was recently totally remodeled. Hard Rock Cafe serves "new" and traditional American food. The restaurant is open daily, from 12 pm to 12 am. They often have tribute shows to bands like Queen, Pink Floyd, Metallica and AC/DC and feature drink specials like 2 x 1 margaritas and mojitos. Try their classic Legendary Burger and famous Hurricane cocktail. Hard Rock Cafe is available for parties and special events.
Recommended for Live Music because: Hard Rock Cafe is a classic. They serve good food and feature live music most nights.
Susan's expert tip: Hard Rock Cafe is located in the heart of Party Center, where all of Cancun's major nightclubs are located. Start the evening out with dinner and drinks at Hard Rock Cafe, before moving on to the big clubs, or stay and watch the band play.
This new concept in Cancun, bar meets food court meets nightclub, culminates in Distrito Gourmet Puerto Gastronómico, which combines all of these popular venues. There is a central bar that serves beer, wine and cocktails, combined with Mercado Gourmet, made up of restaurant stalls that serve Italian, French, Mexican, German, Thai, Japanese, Vegan cuisine and more. The open-air dining area is huge and made up of different levels and a breathtaking view of the marina, day or night. All this is wrapped up in a modern décor and combined with different entertainment most evenings, including live music and DJs.
Recommended for Live Music because: Distrito Gourmet Puerto Gastronómico offers live music and DJs almost every evening.
Kristin's expert tip: Marina Town Center is also a great mall! So do some shopping before heading to Distrito Gourmet Puerto Gastronómico.
Casa Latina located in downtown Cancun in Plaza Hong Kong is a good place to dance Salsa and Merengue. Formerly Sabor Latino and then Gran Mambo Café, the place just opened and is huge and multileveled with a big stage, video screen and dance floor. The live orchestras feature fantastic musicians from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. You can reserve a table by messaging 221-202-5001 on whatsapp. Casa Latina sometimes offers special events like comedians but remember these kinds of performances are all in Spanish. Even if you can't dance, go for drinks and watch the band and experiences dancers.
Recommended for Live Music because: Casa Latina is fighting to keep the Latin dancing to live music tradition alive in Cancun.
Kristin's expert tip: On Fridays from 8 pm to 10 pm drinks are 2 x 1 for women.
Barezzito Puerto Cancun is a slick nightclub, complete with flashing strobe lights and heart-pounding music. Located in Marina Town Center mall, Barezzito comes to life every Wednesday to Saturday at 7:00 pm. The club features live music, and during their breaks, reggaeton. They also have live comedy on some nights. The crowd tends to be younger. If it's a little loud for you inside, sitting outside on the terrace is a good option. There are plenty of taxis available at the end of the evening, or if you're not going to drink, there is plenty of parking available as well.
Recommended for Live Music because: Barezzito is a popular nightclub in Marina Puerto Cancun. They feature live music and comedy and DJs.
Kristin's expert tip: On Thursdays let them know if it's your birthday and they'll give you a free bottle.
Route 666 Bikers Bar is well, awesome. After all, over 25.000 Facebook followers and 40,893 check-ins can't be wrong! Located in downtown Cancun, on one of the city's original downtown streets, this is the place to see live, raw, international rock. The place isn't much to look at, but it gets packed with people from all walks of life, including yes, a few bikers. Route 666 also serves appetizers and offers specials like draft beers for 30 pesos. The staff is kind, service is good, and prices are reasonable. There isn't really a dress code, so come as you are.
Recommended for Live Music because: Route 666 Bikers Bar offers the hardest live rock in Cancun.
Kristin's expert tip: Get there early, especially on tribute nights, because it gets packed.
This bar/restaurant is a local favorite. Located on the corner of Bonampak and Sayil Avenues across the street from Plaza Toros (the bullring) and just steps from the Plaza Las Americas/Malecon Americas shopping mall, La Playita is open daily from 12 pm to 12 am (Thursday - Saturday until 12:45 am) and each day they feature different food and drink specials. This is a great place for a casual night out hanging out with friends or catching a sporting event on television. Try ceviche (a raw seafood dish marinated in lime juice) or one of their delicious tostadas or tacos.
Recommended for Live Music because: La Playita serves up delicious food, drink specials, Djs and live music in a relaxed atmosphere.
Kristin's expert tip: Don't miss the live music on Fridays at 9:00 pm.
Sirenas Raw Bar is a bar/restaurant located at El Embarcadero next to the Calinda Bridge at kilometer 4 of Boulevard Kukulcan. The open-air space offers a spectacular view of the Caribbean and the pirate ships that dock there. The specialties here are cocktails and seafood but they also serve pizza, tacos, nachos and paninis. This is a great place to grab a meal before or after the ferry to Isla Mujeres. On Friday and Saturday nights locals gather here to hear a Cuban Buena Vista-style band that plays from around 8:00 pm to 12:00 am while the lights twinkle and the palm trees sway in the ocean breeze.
Recommended for Live Music because: Sirenas Rar Bar features live Salsa music on Fridays and Saturdays in a delightful tropical atmosphere.
Kristin's expert tip: If you like to dance Salsa, bring a partner, because it's mostly couples.
McCarthy's Irish Pub is located in downtown Cancun, not far from the Hotel Zone entrance, in Plaza Solare on Bonampak Avenue. They feature live rock most days of the week and also show the big game or fight as well. They are known for their amazing wings (Original BBQ, BBQ & Jack and BBQ & Chipotle) and but they also serve snacks, burgers, baguettes, ribs, steaks, pasta, salads and dessert. McCarthy's carries beer from Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, the Czech Republic, Germany, Cuba, Denmark, China, Argentina, England and of course Mexico. Wow!
Recommended for Live Music because: McCarthy's Irish Pub features live rock and their wings are excellent.
Kristin's expert tip: McCarthy's Irish Pub features different drink specials every day.
Monkey Business is located smack in the middle of Cancun's Party Center, but offers a different vibe that includes food, live music and karaoke every night. The menu includes appetizers, Mexican dishes, like tacos and burritos, and international dishes, like pasta and hamburgers. The full bar mixes both their special concoctions and old favorites. Monkey Business opens every day, there's no cover and they feature a different rock band and karaoke each night. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available. Best of all, they open at 3:00 pm so you can start partying early.
Recommended for Live Music because: Carlos n' Charlie's offers live music, food and a lively atmosphere.
Kristin's expert tip: Charge up your phone because there are a lot of fun places to take pictures at Monkey Business.