Another major hot spot we just didn’t manage to get to on our first trip was Plaza Garibaldi, where all the mariachis gather. The symbol on the signs for the metro stop is a guitar.
The plaza had a reputation for seediness, and it’s now being spruced up in that slightly heavy-handed way city planners use when they want to get rid of blight. Lots of LED lights and green glass, and a museum. Presto!
The actual open area was a bit too tidy and unfocused for our tastes, so we hightailed it to Bar Tenampa, which is famous as apparently the first bar on Plaza Garibaldi. Inside, it feels like the party has indeed been going nonstop for the better part of a century.
It’s a big barn of the place with high ceilings and huge murals of great singers, and bright lighting.
Mere words and photos can’t describe the atmosphere of the place. Let’s try a little multimedia experiment instead.
First, pour yourself a drink. We were fond of palomas–tequila and Squirt (say it ‘Esquirt’), with salt around the rim. I can also recommend a ponche de granada, which Tenampa seemed to specialize in, and of which I had never heard. It’s booze and pomegranate juice, aged for a bit, and served with crumbled pecans floating on top. Seriously, dangerously drinkable–good thing I only got around to ordering one on the last round.
Now, all settled in with your drink? Start this video playing.
That’s just for background, really. What we really care about is the next song. The lyrics are painted on the wall:
Maybe best to click on that and open it in another tab, to see the words.
Got that? Now start this next video. Yes, at the same time as the other one.
WHAT?! YOU CAN’T HEAR ME? THAT’S OK. THAT’S NORMAL! JUST RAISE YOUR GLASS AND SING ALONG!!! THAT’S WHAT THE PEOPLE AT THE OTHER TABLES ARE DOING!
If you’re still not feeling the cacophonous, drunken magic, go stick your finger in a light socket.
Because, as an added attraction, in addition to the three separate mariachi groups in the bar, and the jarochos, there are guys walking around selling electric shocks. With, like, jumper cables. Apparently this is a thing in Tijuana and Juarez, and I guess wherever vast amounts of tequila are drunk; I never knew how sheltered I was.
Near the end of the night, one of our party said, “I’m exactly three shots away from doing that.” It seemed like a fair assessment. He’d already done quite a few.
Hiring a band (M$120 per song; M$50 for the puny jarochos) was a way of coping, of creating a wall of sound that screened out the others. The bathroom attendant, for her part, wore noise-canceling headphones.
In a way, the noise was so solid that it made everything like a silent film. Far down the end of the room, I watched a small, brief melodrama unfold: two tall, jocky American bros guzzled shots, stood up and jumped around and posed for pictures and danced. I glanced away, then glanced back, and they were already back in their seats, bent over, heads on the table.
I would totally go again. I just want to learn some lyrics first.