Growing up partly in Tijuana means many things to me, but for the purpose of this column, it means this especially: Bars and I are very old friends. My dad, a bit of a legend among his friends for many a wild night in decades past, used to slip doormen a few bucks to let me into their establishments when I was underage. Some kids got cash for good report cards; I was allowed access to nightclubs. Maybe he knew one day I would inherit his crown and make it my cause to share the fun that Tijuana nightlife has to offer.
On Saturday night, a few friends went to Tijuana for Turista Libre’s rollerskating party. After the wheeled fun, we headed to what’s become the epicenter of TJ nightlife—the area around Avenida Revolución and Calle Sexta. Nothing warms my heart like seeing the faces of Americans after they’ve been exposed to the buzz and happy chaos of this part of town. It makes me want to stitch a flag emblazoned with a zebra-painted donkey and wave it up and down the packed street like a mad, drunken Betsy Ross.
We partied it up at El Tinieblo, a small bar located on the corner of Calle Sexta and Madero in the back room of a restaurant called La Corriente Cevicheria. The walls are lined with red-velvet curtains, and taxidermied deer heads are dimly illuminated by small chandeliers. Cumbia music blasted, and I gulped down three martini glasses of the house specialty, a blended slushie of mezcal flavored with mango, lime or tamarind. If you venture here, go with tamarind.
My friends and I worked our hips to the cumbia beats until we could shake them no more. On the way out to the next bar, our waiter gave me a to-go cup so I could take what was left of my beer. I think I’ll add his face to that flag I’m going to stitch.