San Juan is home to some excellent bars and nightlife. If you’re visiting Puerto Rico and are looking for the best places to drink in San Juan, we have a comprehensive list below. From dive bars and local hangouts to cocktails and beer, you definitely won’t go thirsty in San Juan.
San Juan Nightlife: The Best Bars in San Juan
San Juan Nightlight and Bars
Wondering where to drink in San Juan? There are plenty of things to do in San Juan at night. San Juan is a nighttime, party town so it shouldn’t be a surprise at how many bars there are in the area.
Depending where you are in San Juan, there are certain area’s that have a higher density of boozy establishments.
If you’re in Old San Juan, a lot of nightlife can be found lining the street of Calle San Sebastian. If you’re in the Santurce area, Calle Loiza and the area around La Placita are where you can find your icy cold beverages.
We are going to give you some of our favorite bars and San Juan nightlife to make sure you have just as good of a time as we did 🙂
For a Speakeasy – La Factoria
Alright, to kick start our San Juan nightlife and bar list, we begin with La Factoria. Considered one of the worlds best bars, La Factoria is actually made of 6 bars. It’s speakeasy like experience with each bar opening at different times and offering a different vibe, music and cocktails.
Without a doubt, La Factoria is known for its mixologists and killer cocktails. The first bar in La Factoria opens at at 2pm with the entire place shutting down at 4am.
TIP: For all the bars on our list, locals don’t come out to play until 11pm or 12pm. San Juan is a late night town so if you are wanting to experience the more local side of things, plan on late nights.
For a Dive Bar – El Batey
Many say El Batey is the oldest bar in town. It’s been in the same location for more than 5 decades, and even as the city changed around it, El Batey stayed virtually the same.
From the outside, it doesn’t really look like much – just another old hole-in-the-wall dive bar.
But inside, it feels like stepping into another era, like a trip back in time. El Batey is chock full of 1960s character, with walls covered in graffiti, an old jukebox with classic tunes like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and a specialty of cold beer and rum drinks.
Check out El Batey in Old San Juan for a chance to experience rich culture and history. It’s unlike anywhere you’ve visited before!
For a Pina Colada – La Barrachina
No trip to Puerto Rico is a complete until you had a Pina Colada from the place that invented it. La Barrachina is the birthplace of the Pina Colada. Puerto Rico is hot, so what better way than to cool off when drinking down an ice cold, rum-filled Pina Colada?
You’re in the Caribbean aren’t you? Might as well have two 🙂
La Barrachina is one of the most beautiful bars in San Juan and it is a perfect place to spend your night if you are looking for a place that offers lots of fun things to do.
This bar often features various live shows such as flamenco dancing shows or live music performances.
When you get hungry, there are lots of tasty treats to try. They offer a full menu including starters, appetizers, salads, soups, mains, and desserts. The food is glorious and beautiful. There is a huge variety of kids meals, vegan foods, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, grilled foods, local fish dishes, specialty dishes, and soups to choose from.
When you are done dining, you can hit the beverage menu and choose from a huge variety of fine tasting beverages including their infamous Pina Coladas.
And if you are traveling as an engaged couple, you can even choose to make it official by getting married in their wedding chapel.
Check Out: Puerto Rico Vacation Planning and Travel Guide to get great travel tips to plan your ultimate Puerto Rico vacation.
For Tiki Cocktails – Jungle Bird
Located in the neighborhood of Santurce, Jungle Bird is a modern-day tiki bar. Serving up killer cocktails in an atmosphere that has an upscale tropical vibe, Jungle Bird will leave you saying “I’ll have another.”
Take it from two drinkers, order the “Saturn” and “Bastard Going Bananas” -these cocktails are delicious.
For A Neighborhood Hangout – La Penultima
Also in the Santurce neighborhood, you’ll find a local hangout called La Penultima.
La Penultima is a cocktail bar, but don’t let that fool you. They have great food and serve up cold beer for you non-cocktail lovers. Perfect for day drinking or night drinking, Penultima has a great, friendly pub-vibe.
The bar itself has a very unique design. With its crafty wall art, you are not likely to miss it.
Their menu includes various tasty but simple foods such as burgers, fries, sandwiches, pitas, wings, and a few interesting veggie meals. You can also order a variety of drinks such as Honey Syrups, cocktails, shots, shot kits, and michelada combos.
For Craft Beer – La Taberna Lupulo
Back in the neighborhood of Old San Juan, you’ll find the largest craft beer selection in the Caribbean at La Taberna Lupulo. From local Puerto Rican craft beers to craft beer favorites from around the world, La Taberna Lupulo is a must for any beer lover.
La Taberna Lupulo also offers other beverages such as vodka, whiskey, rum and others to choose from. You can also order small meals to help you cope with all of the liquor while you are out having fun at this local bar.
For a Local Party Experience – La Placita
If you are looking for a party, La Placita is it. What is La Placita you ask? Well, think of it as a gigantic block party located in Santurce. But instead of just one block, it’s several blocks of bars and restaurants.
At night, La Placita becomes one big party! People are spilling into the streets and the bars and restaurants are packed! Loud music, dancing and drinking is pretty much the norm once the sun sets in La Placita.
There were a few other bars we had on our list, but we SADLY ran out of time. However, if you have the time and are looking for a few more recommendations, Watusi and El Bar Bero are great bars adding to your San Juan nightlife list.
San Juan Gay Bars & Clubs
Of the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico is one of the most accepting destinations for the LGBTQ+ community. For those in the LGBTQ+ community looking for gay bars and clubs, you’re in luck! San Juan has a handful of gay bars scattered throughout its neighborhoods.
While the other bars listed above are certainly gay friendly, we want to share some additional options too, because why not?!
- Circo Bar – Dj’s, dancing, drag bingo
- SX Club – Strippers and go-go club
- Tia Maria Jose de Diego – Known for it’s strong drinks
- Temptation – Disco bar and club
Can You Drink in The Streets in Puerto Rico?
It is illegal to carry and consume alcohol in the streets of Puerto Rico. However, area’s that are zoned for open container laws, like La Placita, it’s fine.
What about the beaches? As long as you are not drinking from glass containers, drinking on the beaches of San Juan is perfectly acceptable.
Oh, and another thing to note that unlike the United States, the US Territory of Puerto Rico’s drinking age is 18.
The Best Drinks to Try When Enjoying Puerto Rican Nightlife
While visiting local bars in new places, it is best to focus on local drinks. Just like local food tastes better in Mexico or seafood tastes better at the beach, beverages just taste so much better when you focus on traditionally enjoyed drinks. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular drinks to try while enjoying live music in the bars we have listed in our article.
This is probably the most popular drink enjoyed in San Juan. The fine tasting coconut beverages are an absolute must for your trip to this tropical region. They are fantastic drinks to try chilled whether you’re at the beach or the bar.
Medalla Light Beer
If you are planning on partying all night then you might want to consider this locally made beer. Many other beverages sold here are pretty strong and might just be too much to handle if you are a light drinker. This is the only light beer produced here.
Don Q Limon with Cranberry Juice
Don Q is the second most popular rum brand made in the Mid Atlantic after the famous Bacardi that is from Bermuda. This is a favorite drink of many locals. Don Q Rum makes for a delicious cocktail when it is mixed with cranberry juice and is a must for your nighttime adventures.
Whisky and Coconut water
If you are not too fond of sweet drinks then this can be a very good drink to enjoy on a hot summer night. Coconut water is terrific for quenching your thirst and reduces the harshness of whiskey.
This beverage is also ideal for those with diabetes or high blood pressure levels since whiskey is known to be better for your health.
Chichaito is a local shot that has a strong licorice taste. This shot contains Palo Viejo brand white rum and anise liqueur. It is a great shot to try at local bars but should probably be avoided if you are not fond of licorice or if you are a bit sensitive when it comes to strong beverages.
Those who taste this beverage swear that it tastes almost like eggnog. Sadly, coquito is only available during Christmas and might not be available if you are not visiting San Juan Puerto outside of December.
The beverage is made from Egg yolks, cream of coconut, coconut milk, white rum, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and condensed milk. The result is a creamy sweet drink with a powerful kick, depending on the amount of rum that is included.
Rum (in General!)
On this small island, you will find quite a few different rum brands to try. Bacardi is one of the most popular since it is now produced in Puerto Rico but there are also many others to sample.
You should definitely give alternative brands liek Barrilito, Palo Viejo, Ron Rico, Llave, and others a try when visiting bars and clubs.
Before you have fun on your San Juan nightlife expeditions it is probably a good idea to book your stay at some of the local accommodations.
Here is a quick look at some of the best hotels and accommodations to book while enjoying the nightlife in Puerto Rico.
- The Luxury Inclined: Hotel El Convento is located in the heart of Old San Juan in a restored 350 year old building. Enjoy the pool and hot tube as you overlook San Juan Bay. Luxury at it’s finest.
- The Budget Conscious: Navona Studios is located right across from La Bombonera. Enjoy a balcony new of the bustle streets of San Juan below.
- Something in Between: La Terraza de San Juan is a boutique hotel that will have you swooning with it’s 19th-century Colonial style decor and vibe. A great location and roof top, it’s not wonder why so many people love staying here.
For more accommodation choices and places to stay in and near Old San Juan, you can check the latest place and prices here to secure an unforgettable Puerto Rican accommodation.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)