Bar Hopping in Tegucigalpa: The Downtown Tour
In a place beyond the gore in media and two-store Burger Kings and McDonalds, there’s a land in Tegucigalpa unknown even to locals where surrealism takes form in eccentric characters, cheap 1-litter beer bottles and crappy jukeboxes playing your favorite hits from the 80s. This is a land reserved to those who know better than to call it a night and pick up a six pack at the supermarket on the way home on a Wednesday evening. Let me walk you through a regular alcoholic trip and outline why bar hoping in downtown Tegus is the best damn thing.
Start classy and feel free to get artsy-fartsy. Unless you want to end up passing out at the steps of the central park cathedral, warm up first. The Paseo Liquidámbar, which runs across 4 blocks in the downtown area, will be the starting point in our journey. Have one somewhat expensive locally-brewed beer at Museo de la Identidad Nacional’s coffee shop, sit outside and enjoy any street performance that might be happening. This area is a beacon for street artists and just about anyone in need of attention so you’ll get plenty of live sculptures, classical and contemporary music, priests announcing the end of the world and hippies selling flowers made from recycled cans and henna tattoos. Have 2 or 3 Lempiras ready: If they make you stop, you owe them one.
Get on with it. Go across the central park and the cathedral to find New Bar, also known as Tito Aguacate. Don’t let the drunk 40 somethings and street merchants confuse you, this cantina founded in 1945 will be the next stage for your very own Almodóvar night. Find a seat and ask for the drink of the house: a Calambre, which contains lemon juice, sugar, red wine, gin and lots of ice. When the sight of turtle eggs sold as food and the smell of urine gets the best of you, move up one block in Avenida San Cristóbal and have something to eat at the Duncan Mayan restaurant.
Take it up a notch. Find the Chinese commerce street in Avenida La Plazuela and go to Turicentro. This is our first standard downtown bar, where you’ll find karaoke, moody waitresses and weird snacks like mondongo (diced tripe) soup, gizzard and chicken and rice. Get real and ask for a Yuscarán with some Sprite: You’ll get a tiny handsome bottle of hard liquor, a glass, a Sprite, ice and sliced lemon. Yuscarán is our national brandy and it’s quite the kick so spill it counting up to ten and then add everything else. Give 6 lempiras to your host and add 3 songs to the jukebox queue. Leave before the third one ends.
You made it. Walk up one block down to Pío Rico and share a Caguama with a friend. Caguamas are 1 ltr beet bottles served with two cups so don’t get greedy. There’s also karaoke and highly suspicious fried chicken so skip it all and cross the street to Café Paradiso, our final destination. By this time you’ll find Paradiso cramming with artists, musicians and poets in heated discussions so be sure to charm the very nice girls at the kitchen and bar if you’d like your beer soon. The place is a landmark for local culture and its warm, bohemian atmosphere will make you forget all the nasty things you’ve seen and done so far.