If you’ve never been here before, you may think of Cozumel as a touristy cruise port with neon yards of cold beer and amateur-hour day drinkers.
But among the people who live here, dive here, or just vacation here time and time again, the bar scene in Quintana Roo has grown more interesting by the year – and Cozumel is gaining on the pack.
This pretty and salt-of-the-earth little island is home to some great bars that might surprise you.
From Cozumel Island’s first microbrewery (that also serves top-notch wood-fired pizzas) to a handful of new sophisticated cocktail bars with organic ingredients and artisanal style, Cozumel Mexico is far from a honky-tonk tourist trap with giant frozen margaritas (not that there’s anything wrong with that…).
Cozumel has plenty of bars and lounges that are the perfect spot for any type of festive occasion – casual, formal, or somewhere in between. All around the island are fun, well-run bars serving fresh juicy cocktails, a good variety of beer, and quality wines at swim-up bars, thatched beach hideaways, and post-diving happy hours.
There are also great bars to sample local micro-brews, cool speakeasy-style places to hear the latest local bands, and a great new wave of decidedly stylish but UN-stuffy joints with better than average mixologists at the helm.
No matter what kind of nightlife (or day drinking…) you’re looking for, we’ve pretty much got it covered.
2021 Cozumel’s Best Bar Roundup
Best New Cozumel Cocktail Bars for Some Highbrow Highballs
Tropical vacations don’t have to be all neon “yards” and shooters. In fact, they can be quite classy if done right.
And in this case, I’m talking about highball drinks served up in charming settings with a few modern amenities, including more attention to seasonal and sustainable ingredients.
These aren’t your typical rum punches or daiquiris either. They’re made with quality spirits like tequila, mezcal, gin, vodka, bourbon, scotch, etc., mixed with premium juices and garnishes.
The best part?
If you don’t follow these drink masters on Instagram, you should start.
From fresh natural ingredients, a fun tiki-bar atmosphere, a refreshing inclusion of some non-alcoholic cocktails (just as pretty and swanky as those of the boozy variety), and a cool trend of visiting guest bartenders, this place should definitely make your list of bars to hit while you’re out on the town in Cozumel.
Housed in one of the older buildings on the island (lore has it that it was originally built in 1903), El Palomar is a pretty and stylish restaurant right on the waterfront.
And part of its waterfront welcome is the cool bar La Pescadora serving up some amazing craft cocktails with fine Mexican spirits.
They, too, have a trend-worthy Instragram feed with all the info that you should definitely follow.
Best Bar to Catch the Game
Sometimes it’s hard to miss the big game – even when your other option is to bask on a sunny Cozumel Beach in the Caribbean…
But hey, your team is your team, right?
More and more bars in Cozumel are here to help, by offering their own unique take on sports viewing parties.
Whether it’s the Super Bowl, the World Cup, or you want to watch football, US football, baseball, basketball, MMA, boxing, the Olympics, golf, or even ice-hockey – or maybe just settle a personal score with your own friendly game of cornhole or darts – you’ll likely be able to find just the right place to do it.
Here are some top picks for sports-minded spots where you can catch the action without having to leave the island.
Both are great places to drink, but I’d say the edge on sports-bar broadcasts (and some mean chiles rellenos) goes to Dicks.
Then again, Wet Wendy’s has the cornhole game to get active and burn off some of those HUGE frozen margaritas (I myself had a nearly 4-hour nail-biter of a cornhole grudge match one night…I won’t brag, but…)
Rising from a love of some of the best hand-made brats and italian sausages on the island, Tony now has his own bonafide bar, where you’re sure to find his signature departure from strictly all Mexican food (though some, of course…), with burgers, brats, buckets of cold beer, lots of fun – and of course the big games on the telly.
No Name Bar
(hint: don’t judget this book by its cover)
The No Name Bar is right in the heart of Centro, across the street from Mega, yet it often gets overlooked.
Probably because it allegedly has “no name” and the real joy of the place is hidden in the back.
Once you walk through a small dark bar (with – you guessed it – some sports game or another on the tube), you proceed to a backyard patio where its full character reveals itself.
The No Name Bar Beach Club Cozumel Mexico is actually the king of all backyards, with another bar, more TVs, a pool, swim-up bar stools, beach chairs, and even ocean beach access where you can go swimming or snorkeling.
I mean…come on. Try it out. And bring your suit and towel.
Best Bar for a Stellar Sunset
In all fairness, this is a nearly impossible list to narrow down, because as most fans of Cozumel Island know, if there’s one thing we can count on for about…362.3 days of the year, it’s a beautiful sunset at just about any local beach.
For newcomers, I’ll just try to narrow it down by picking ONLY one excellent watering hole in each of the 3 main hotel zones on Cozumel island, so there will be at least one close to where you’re likely staying.
(But really – there are just SO many to choose from…give them all a try as you are able).
Best Sunset Bar in Cozumel’s Northern Hotel Zone
Buccanos At Night
(as just slightly opposed to its equally delightful beach club, by day)
This place is a fantastic choice for water-side drinks with amazing views, but you truly must have at least one dinner here, as well.
Best Sunset Bar in Cozumel’s Centro Hotel Zone
Sereno Roof Bar and Restaurant (on the rooftop above the new Albatros Suites)
There are other cafes, bars and restaurants in this busy stretch of the main coastal road (Rafael E. Melgar Avenue), but Sereno is a hip and stylish new favorite – great for the foodie crowd, in particular – and that happens to have a very interesting cocktail menu.
Daily special drinks include local fruits and herbs, Mexican spirits, and other faves.
Fresh blueberry mojito’s, or dragonfruit and herb daiquiri anyone?
Plus, there’s always a great selection of wines and other typical bar drinks.
Sereno Roof Bar is also slightly north of the southern cruise piers, so in addition to some of the most sweeping ocean views I’ve seen at any Cozumel restaurant, the best sunsets won’t be marred by…lovely cruise ships. 😉
Best Sunset Bar in Cozumel’s Southern Hotel Zone
Cozumel’s Money Bar
Yes, this is a somewhat expected answer, but in addition to a huge, fun and stylish horseshoe bar, Cozumel’s very popular Money Bar is also a beach bar and restaurant, too.
Their 2-for-1 sunset happy hours, great snorkeling access, wonderful service, and frequent fun dance bands mean all are welcome, and you really can’t go wrong.
Best Beer Bars in Cozumel
As you can probably imagine, it’s pretty easy to get a nice cold beer at a bar in Cozumel. Take your pick!
But it’s not as easy if you’re a fan of trying local Mexican beers (beyond Tecate light…), or locally crafted microbrews created right here on Cozumel Island.
In another case – there’s a new bar and taco joint featuring locally crafted (though on the mainland) beers that are now served on tap at a specific brew bar here in Centro San Miguel.
For those who love their non-watery lagers, hoppy IPAs, wheats, and chocolatey stouts, here’s our best in category:
Cerveceria Punta Sur
Punta Sur Cerveceria is Cozumel’s first and only fully operational micro-brewery on the island, and it has been a smash hit from day one.
With a slightly rotating flight of special craft brews and growler service, Punta Sur also offers wine and other limited drinks AND an excellent, well-priced menu of fresh ceviches, hand-made empanadas, and their most famous crispy oven-fired pizzas.
Divers will rejoice with Punta Sur’s signature pie – featuring Lionfish, the locally invasive species of fish that is doing damage to our beloved reefs. Scuba divers into sustainable travel love having another local restaurant add lionfish to the menu to help us all fight the good eco-friendly fight simply by ordering a pizza. Always a good thing.
But be assured – Punta Sur’s lionfish pizza isn’t just a gimmick, or a do-gooder’s phone in. It. is. DELICIOUS. A must-try if you’re on the island, and especially if you’re a Cozumel scuba diver.
A newcomer to the scene is the Cerveseria Kusam, taking its namesake from Kusamil, the original Mayan name for Cozumel, or the island of the swallows.
Not (yet) as well known as Punta Sur, the guys at Kusam are enthusiastic about sharing more locally produced beers to the island and have a lot of cool-sounding brews on tap.
Add their cheerful interior dining space, clever merch, and a great staff, and hopefully, this place will be slinging lots of craft beer – and local tacos to wash it down – in no time.
Check out their very lively Facebook feed, and then check out the goods in the North end of Centro.
Best East Coast Bars in Cozumel
In Cozumel, most hotels, dive shops, and restaurants are located on the western coast. But it’s the East Coast of the island that’s known as the wild side.
Or just “the other side.”
The other side of Cozumel is a little like entering a remote coastal beach area – you just know when you’ve crossed that line. As the (leeward) side of the island, the east coast bears the brunt of winds from the west, making it both more difficult to navigate and more gloriously rugged and remote.
Best Cozumel Wild Side Bars
A drive to the “other side” is always a right of passage for newbies in Cozumel, and they usually need a cold drink once they take in all the beauty. That is certainly not a problem.
Most tours start with some of these favorite roadside oases. (Just make sure you have a cab lined up to get back!)
Coconuts Bar and Grill in Cozumel
Coconuts Bar and Grill really needs no introduction, but if you haven’t been there, you’re definitely missing out on a classic Cozumel experience.
Take the drive to the other side with the wild beaches, wind in your hair, and a fun, cliff-top bar with great drinks, a kooky atmosphere, awesome servers, and delicious bar food to perfectly complement the free-flowing drinks.
If you like kicking back to endless ocean views, lapping waves, icy drinks of any sort, and maybe some reggae music, beach chairs, and soft sand? I think Rastas (or its full name of “Rastas & Freedom in Paradise in Cozumel”) was made for you.
Welcome to Miami
Another favorite East coast beach bar in Cozumel is the quizzically named Welcome to Miami.
Billed as having the BEST mojitos in Cozumel, it for sure gets word-of-mouth love of its fresh fruit juice drinks, and paradise beach setting right along the wavy coast and soft white sand.
Welcome to Miami became so popular so fast, they now have a second downtown location, located just south of the Punta Langosta cruise port mall.
Best Cozumel Bar is Probably the Bar You Are At Right Now
No matter where you go to eat and drink on this beautiful island, you’ll have a great time.
Lists like these are dangerous, because they may cause some people to overlook all the other wonderful, family-run establishments that are just brimming with great food, cold drinks, and most importantly of all – warm, Cozumel charm. (Like another new crowd-pleaser, Hemingway’s, pictured here:)
As I mention in the full guide to a lot of great restaurants here on the island, if you see a place that looks good and that has mouth-watering smells emanating from that mom-and-pop kitchen?
Especially that little hole-in-the-wall taco joint that’s full of locals?
GO. Go NOW.
But in the meantime, use this as a guide to go out and explore around downtown Cozumel, and also all around its wild and wooly coastal parts.
You’ll love it, and understand all the great things Cozumel is known for, and why so many of the people who come just keep on coming back for more.