Most of Ensenada’s evening entertainment takes place along Avenida López Mateos and Boulevard Costero between Calle Sanginés and Avenida Macheros. Some of the hotels and bars host live music, and there are a few discos, but it’s nothing compared to what you’ll find in Tijuana. Many places have closed in recent years due to the drop in tourism.
Ensenada’s best-known bar has been serving patrons since 1892. Opened by German immigrant Johan Hussong, Hussong’s Cantina (Ruiz 113, tel. 646/178-3210, www.cantinahussongs.com, 10 A.M.–1 A.M. daily) has been a gathering place for expats and locals ever since, and many veteran Baja travelers kick off each road trip down the peninsula with a Tecate, Bohemia, or Dos Equis (XX) beer here. Late afternoon is the best time to beat the rowdy crowds. Weekly specials include two-for-one beers on Tuesdays, two-for-one micheladas on Thursdays, and two-for-one margaritas on Saturdays.
Two-story Papas and Beer (Ruiz and López Mateos, tel. 646/174-0145, www.papasandbeer.com, noon–3 A.M. daily), across the street, has less character but is also a little mellower.
A few wine bar/restaurants offer an appealing alternative to the usual bar scene. Wine comes first at La Contra (Moctezuma 623 at Calle 6, tel. 646/178-8213, www.lacontravinos.com, mains US$7–15) which represents most of the best local labels and offers a menu of fresh salads, pizzas, and pasta.
La Casa del Arte (Moctezuma 479 btw Calles 4/5, tel. 646/175-7035, www.lacasadelarte.com.mx, 2 P.M.–midnight Mon.–Sat.) features jazz on Fridays starting at 8 P.M. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and a broad menu ranging from Serrano ham to spaghetti and meatballs and rib-eye steak.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition