Buenas Noches

by Becca Hensley

Oct 1, 2019

PHOTO: © SURIEL RAMIREZ ZALDIVAR – DREAMSTIME.COM

October 2019

AFTER YEARS OF TRYING to score a reservation at Mexico’s most acclaimed restaurant, Pujol, in Mexico City’s vibrant Polanco neighborhood, I finally find myself part of the in crowd at the restaurant’s best table. Nibbling on rich mole, I contemplate that who you know matters. In my case, I snagged my table at Chef Enrique Olvera’s mecca of contemporary Mexican gastronomy thanks to Fluenz Spanish Immersion, an upscale language program which not only teaches you Spanish in customized, one-week tutorials but also offers exclusive VIP benefits in the evenings — from a night at Pujol to after-hours tours at a variety of museums, from lectures to pub crawls.

Whether you’ve come to Mexico’s historic capital city to study Spanish or not, stepping out at night promises to improve your communication skills. As one of the world’s most social cities, renowned for groundbreaking bartenders and inimitable bars, CDMX redefines “classroom” in the best way. Note to imbibers: You may need more than one night to visit them all.

Bosforo Mezcaleria, in the historic district, may well be the world’s most admired artisanal mezcal bar. For aficionados who want to go to the equivalent of a mezcal library (albeit one where talking is allowed), this dive-y but quiet spot serves abundant small-batch renditions made from the agave plant.

Iconic Xaman in the Zona Rosa exudes a members-only, speakeasy feel. Inside, it pays homage to Mexico’s mystical traditions, from herbal healing to shamanic rituals. Libations deeply delve into the locale. Try Xtabentun, an anise seed and fermented honey liqueur from the Yucatán, served in a shot glass.

The city’s LGBTQ+ scene, known for popular pop-up parties in unexpected places, encompasses abundant brick-and-mortar clubs as well. Concentrated in Zona Rosa, the action stretches to the verges of La Condesa and Roma, too. For dance lovers, Marrakech Salón, with its retro whimsy, musical variety (Katy Perry to Maria Callas) and bare-chested servers keeps things fun.

World-famous for its craft cocktails, Roma-sited Licorería Limantour references heyday Mexico City with its Art Deco- infused vibe. History meets modernity, local products, and global flair all come into play. Your biggest problem will be deciding what to sip. Grapefruit juice-based Mr. Pink beats the heat, while Margarita al Pastor takes umami to new levels.

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