The Best Bars in Puerto Rico

The fresh tropical fruit and smooth rums provide some excellent raw materials for drinking in the Caribbean, and the bars and cafés of Puerto Rico take full and delicious advantage of the island’s natural resources.

Black Eagle Marina
Enjoy a delicious drink at my favorite place in Rincon—La Copa Llena at the Black Eagle. The best food in town, its menu of always-changing gourmet dishes accompanies the best sunsets. I come here once every couple of weeks, and I’ve always been satisfied with the food, drinks, and service.
Km. 32.0, PR-110, Maleza Alta, Aguadilla 00603, Puerto Rico
Tuluum was on my list of places to try when I first moved to Puerto Rico. Mexican food happens to be my favorite, and I have made it my mission to try any Mexican place on the island. I was completely satisfied with this place for their Tex-Mex fare! The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was fun. I was here for an art show and really enjoyed the ambiance with live music. If you’re staying up in Isabela or just feel like making the drive, you won’t be disappointed.
148 Calle San Sebastián, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
Feel instantly cool when you slip through the unmarked wooden doors and enter La Factoria. Garden lights hang from the graffiti-covered walls (designed to look artsy-shabby with a stylish restraint), seductive music plays, and the liquor bottles behind the bar are lit from beneath to add to the glow. The flattering amber light in this neighborhood bar invites whispered conversations and lingering glances. La Factoria, which introduced San Juan to the craft cocktail when it opened in 2013, encourages experimentation. Take your time enjoying your drink of choice, but be sure to wander a bit further into the sprawling building where you’ll come upon separate spaces with different moods: a wine bar, a speakeasy, a dance floor.
Edmundo B Fernández Inc, PR-5, Bayamón, 00961, Puerto Rico
Much of what made Barrilito special back when it got its start in 1804 still applies today. The rum is still produced at the Santa Ana Plantation in Bayamon, in the same buildings, using the same tried-and-tested techniques right down to the oversized sherry barrels from Spain. They still don’t produce very much—only about 14,000 cases per year (versus 25 million for Bacardi)—and they still blend their rums before they age them, another factor that makes ‘em truly unique. (No formal tours are offered at Hacienda Santa Ana, but visitors will be welcomed with advanced notice.)
PR-4413, Rincón 00602, Puerto Rico
El Bohio is without a doubt one of the best places to mingle with all sorts of folks. This is the local spot. Popular with surfers in the afternoon, and travelers in the evening - this bar knows how to keep a good time rolling. Malorie, the owner, keeps the bar as a good vibes type place with unique twists on classic favorites. She adds fresh squeezed juices to her drinks (no mixes!), and offers some of the best burritos in town! Live music on the weekends during the season! If you want to experience a chill Rincon night life, then head to El Bohio where happy hour is all night (well, technically its 5-7pm, but at this place you can’t be anything BUT happy!).
396 Ave Noel Estrada
Need a break from the hot weather at the beach? Want to unwind and relax in the lap of luxury? Look no further than the beautiful cliff-side Royal Isabela resort. The fresh rum punch is delightful here. It’s one of my favorites on the island (each place has a distinct version). I didn’t ask for the recipe but I’d rather keep it a secret—to keep me coming back to this beautiful place. The resort has a breathtaking view, with private villas and a golf course. I come here to take in the beauty of the Caribbean away from all the crowds and parties. It’s serene and lush.
Cataño, Puerto Rico
Sugar cane and rum are big business on Puerto Rico. Locals love piña coladas, mojitos, coquitos (the Puerto Rican version of eggnog), and daiquiris—all of which are made with rum. Don Q and Bacardi both offer tours—complete with tastings—that will transport you back to the romance of early 1900s Puerto Rico. At Casa Bacardi in Cataño, just outside San Juan, you can watch a documentary about sugar cane, the rum-producing process, and the Bacardi family; study old letters and furniture; smell diverse rums in their barrels; and watch a mixing demonstration. Casa Don Q in Old San Juan invites you to read about the rum-making process, and listen to an explanation about different Don Q rums and how to mix them. Miller/Flickr.
Puerto Rico 115, Stella, Rincón 00677, Puerto Rico
Villa Cofresi in Rincon is well-known for its signature drink La Pirata, which translates to “the Pirate.” It’s a fresh green coconut whose water has been mixed with rum and cinnamon. It’s too much drink for even the coconut, so you always get a second cup with the remaining. Your first time in Rincon? Then you must stop here. Take your coconut to the outdoor patio and watch an amazing sunset by the beach. Snack on typical Puerto Rican food and maybe even stay the night. Forgot your bathing suit or coverup? They have you covered with a little boutique.
Campamento Piñones, Carolina, Loíza, Puerto Rico
Doña Olga* is a large kiosk in Piñones, from which the smell of fritters wafts all the way to the beach. I often find myself getting a large order of bacalaitos (round cod fritters), empanadillas (turnovers), alcapurrias (dough of plantains or yucca and filled with meat), and piononos (deep-fried sweet plantain balls stuffed with meat and cheese). Halfway through the meal, I start thinking my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but the flood of Puerto Rican flavors in my mouth makes me devour every last morsel in front of me. Of course, there’s no way I’d be able to handle all that without a refreshing drink on hand. My drink of choice is coconut water. (It’s completely natural; an employee will chop off the top of the coconut with a machete and bring it to you with a straw.) After you drink the water, you can scoop out coconut meat (the white stuff), which serves as a pleasantly light dessert. A swim in the nearby beach (two minutes away walking) and a nice nap will perfect your day. *Doña Olga is my first choice, but this whole road is bursting with beachside kiosks selling fritters and other Puerto Rican fare.
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