La Negrita was just a regular cantina when I lived here, which means it was the kind of place my university friends and I would go to after finishing afternoon class and spend the remainder of the day drinking cheap beer. They always insisted on walking me to the bathroom, and occasionally had to do so while stretching their palms out guarding the backs of wasted men always on the tip of falling off their chairs.
A few years ago it was remodeled, and while I have nothing against a typical cantina, the remodel is cool, without being pretentious. Typical cantinas are day drinking places, with cheap beers and free snacks. All those elements are there, it just feels a little more curated now. I’ve heard that some people love the remodel (mostly people who didn’t go before) and old regulars hate it, which is pretty much how it goes across the universe when dive bars are remodeled.
Flower-patterned oil clothes cover the tables, the old hand painted tiles line the floor, and art— a black and white mural of some kind of tribal queen, a scientific diagram of the body with parts labeled in Maya, and vintage mirrors—hang on the walls. There are party streamers over the doorways that lead into various rooms and out into the large patio. The light green saloon swinging doors are illuminated by the sun beating down on the centro. Old school Mexican romance ballads fill the room. It feels like the beginning of a party.
They have a number of craft beers on the menu, in addition to the regular suite of Mexican beers. There’s a small selection of mezcal (but larger than your typical bar in Mexico) and cocktails are nothing fancy, but made well and strong in pint-sized glasses. Daiquiris, mojitos, and cuba libres are two for one during the day, and happy hour is from 5-8 pm when most drinks cost $19 pesos, which is awesome and scary.
I ordered a beer and with it came a number of botanas: black beans, sikil pak (pumpkin seed dip, which is typical in Yucatan), cucumber and jicama in lime and chile, and pigs ears stewed with tomatoes and onions.
They have live music on some weekend nights, but are typically closed by 10 pm. Hopefully you’ve reached your two for one limit by then.
Calle 62 x 49, Centro
Also, a friend mentioned that his friend just opened Cantina El Cardenal, so it’s worth a look!