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Oaxaca Mezcaleria Guide: 8 Places to Drink Mezcal in Oaxaca

oaxaca mezcaleria guide

After visiting the city of Oaxaca for a collective total of about 9+months + now living here full-time, I've tried almost every Oaxaca mezcaleria in the Centro. I’ve narrowed down my list of favorites, each with their own vibe, depending on your mood.

I think mezcal is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. (I love mezcal so much, I did an intensive Oaxaca mezcal tour to visit some of the best and most traditional palenques & distilleries in the region.) And it’s also the most fun thing to sample because the variations are endless. The type of maguey, the fermenting methods, and the pots used to distill the spirit all add their own flavors.

Check out my list below of the best mezcal bars in Oaxaca. It also may be smart to start with in the order I present them - that way you can learn a bit about mezcal first, and you’ll enjoy each tasting more along the way.

oaxaca mezcaleria guide mezcal bottles

part of the fermentation method for mezcal

oaxaca mezcaleria guide



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8 Oaxaca Mezcalerias to Taste Mezcal

1. Mezcaloteca

mezcaloteca oaxaca mexico

I actually avoided this reservations-only Oaxaca mezcaleria on my first couple trips, assuming that it was a bit of a tourist trap. I was wrong!

I went to a tasting when a friend was in town, and really enjoyed it. Even though I consider myself well seasoned in the ways of mezcal (I already knew how it was made, the difference between espadin and wild varieties, etc), I still learned a bunch of new things.

For example, I learned that aged mezcal (reposado and añejo varieties) are not actually considered mezcal, and you can tell if the alcohol content is correct in a bottle of mezcal if you shake it and see bubbles.

mezcaloteca oaxaca tasting
oaxaca mezcaleria guide

So whether you’re a complete newbie or a bit of a mezcal connoisseur I recommend you start with a tasting at Mezcaloteca and round out your knowledge so you can appreciate all the other tastings.

Be sure to make reservations beforehand. And at the end, you can ask for a final taste of a mezcal of your choice. I recommend paying attention to the types of flavors that you enjoyed, and asking for more of that type of mezcal at the end. The tasting experts are super knowledgable and can find you something interesting and unique to enjoy.

Mezcaloteca
Reforma No. 506

2. In Situ Mezcaleria

In Situ is a tiny but great Oaxaca mezcaleria with lots varieties to sample. Head upstairs, and ask for recommendations. They source their mezcal from a variety of nearby farms.

Mezcaleria In SItu
José María Morelos 511

3. Sabina Sabe

By this time, you may be craving a cocktail. Sabina Sabe is an adorable bar with delicious mezcal cocktails.

There are lots of nooks and crannies in this mezcaleria, decorated in a shabby chic style with pretty tiled floors.

All the mezcal cocktails we tried were delicious and balanced.

Sabina Sabe
5 de Mayo 209

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4. Archivo Maguey

This fun bar is large and located upstairs in the bright red building on the corner of Murguia and Reforma. Sit in the moody interior, or head out to the back patio.

My favorite thing about this Oaxaca mezcaleria is their unique menu. Next to their extensive mezcal list, they include symbols next to each that represent the types of flavors for each mezcal. So if you like a mezcal with a mineral flavor, go to the bottom symbol key, find the symbol that matches that (for example- a triangle), and then you’ll see which mezcals in the list have that kind of flavor. It’s a great way to know what you’re getting without asking a ton of questions. And it’s really interesting to see which mezcals have a combination of flavors!

It’s also a great place to go on a weekend, with a lively crowd, and sometimes live music or a DJ.

Archivo Maguey
Murguía 218, Centro

5. La Mezcalerita

mezcalerita oaxaca

La Mezcalerita is one of my favorite Oaxaca mezcalerias because it’s just got a great casual atmosphere. There are 3 cozy rooms downstairs, and a big patio on the roof for warm weather nights.

Along with the extensive mezcal list, La Mezcalerita has about a zillion artisanal beers from Mexico. This is quite a feat, as the craft beer movement is still somewhat in its early stages in this country. This is a great place to try an interesting Mexican craft beer along with a local mezcal.

La Mezcalerita
Macedonio Alcalá 706

6. Santisima Flor de Lupulo


Santisima Flor de Lupulo is another great bar to sample craft beer and mezcal. The numbers of varieties available are much fewer, as they take a more targeted approach.

They make their own beer in house, so there are usually 5-6 varieties available. These can range from traditional craft beer types to fun varieties like mango.

They also have several varieties of mezcal to choose from.

The staff here is always super friendly and helpful.

This is a small space so can get quite crowded on weekends.

Santisima Flor de Lupulo
Ignacio Allende 215

7. Cuish

Cuish is an adorable little mezcaleria off the beaten path, south of the zocalo. It’s about 5 blocks south of the zocalo and a couple blocks west. I wouldn’t say this is a dangerous area, but I would still use caution as there are very few tourists on these streets. I’d recommend to take a taxi back if you’re heading home on the later side.

Because this Oaxaca mezcaleria is off the tourist path, it’s very local and authentic. I’ve only ever seen local Oaxacans here. It’s also super cute - with nice tile, and pretty minimalist decor. You can sit downstairs or on the upstairs terrace.

The mezcal here is high quality and they have some interesting varieties.

Cuish
712 Mexico, Díaz Ordaz


8. Txalaparta


Txalaparta is not exactly a mezcal bar (though they do have many varieties of mezcal) and more of a great bar/club. I think it’s a super fun place to hang out on the weekend and get a feeling for Oaxacan nightlife.

This bar is huge, with a front room that sometimes has live music, a few side rooms, a back bar area, and a huge roof with an open terrace. Even though this is a huge space it can get packed on weekends after midnight.

Pick one weekend night where you’d like to go out, and head here around 11pm. If there is a band playing in the front room, they’ll have a side entrance you can enter through to bypass the concert. Head up to the roof and grab a cold cerveza and maybe a mezcal. Enjoy the night air and don’t be surprised if a stranger asks you to dance. Music ranges from traditional music, to salsa, to club music.

Txalaparta
Mariano Matamoros 208


oaxaca mezcaleria guide

Mezcal is such a strong part of Oaxacan culture, that I think it’s essential to try. Even if you’re not a big drinker or if you don’t enjoy strong liquors, I think you should still get to know this cultural staple. Consider trying out the tasting at Mezcaloteca and then trying a cocktail at Sabina Sabe.

If you do like mezcal and/or are a foodie, take a tour of all the Oaxaca mezcalerias above and let me know which one you like best!

where to drink mezcal in oaxaca mezcaleria guide

oaxaca mezcaleria guide

Love this poster: "For all that's bad...mezcal, and for all that's good, as well! And for the hungover...as well!"

Where to Stay in Oaxaca

If you're looking for a great hotel in Oaxaca centro - I can't recommend Casa de las Bugambilias enough.

Casa de las Bugambilias  is in a great location (just 2 blocks from Santo Domingo), is beautifully decorated, full of modern amenities, and makes a gourmet complimentary breakfast every morning. I wrote a full hotel review here.

If you're on a smaller budget, check out Airbnb for other options. Click here to get $40 off your first Airbnb stay.



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15 Responses

  1. Juliann
    | Reply

    Such a rough job tasting all these different mezcals! 😉 we did a tequila tasting in Mexico and loved that. But after a few samples, we were finished. We never did master the art of pacing ourselves.

    • Susan Ripley
      | Reply

      haha, yes! It’s definitely important (but hard) to pace yourself during tastings 🙂 Luckily I’ve been here long enough to try so many of the mezcalerias over time so I don’t have to get smashed all at once! haha.

  2. Jenn and Ed Coleman
    | Reply

    Love the calacas poster for mescal in Oaxaca. Somehow that is so cliche it absolutely works. When in Rome.

    • Susan Ripley
      | Reply

      Hahaha, yes. I thought that poster was pretty charming. 🙂

  3. Allison Wong
    | Reply

    I’ve never hear of Mezcal spirit until reading your post and I want to try this. Need to learn more about south american spirits!

    • Susan Ripley
      | Reply

      It’s super unique! Hopefully you’ll have the chance to try some soon. 🙂

  4. Ivy
    | Reply

    Im really curious as to what mezcal tastes like! Is there a similar north american equivalent? BTW That picture of the horse reminds me of that scene from the Beauy and the Beast where Belle was doing laundry lol

    • Susan Ripley
      | Reply

      There really isn’t a good equivalent to compare the flavor of mezcal. It’s a cousin of tequila’s, since they are made from the same plant, but the flavor is super different. It’s very smoky because part of the production process involves roasting the agave “hearts” before fermenting them. It’s really something you have to try for yourself!

      Hahah, that’s so funny about the horse, I love it! 🙂

  5. Cat
    | Reply

    I haven’t tried Mezcal before so thanks for bringing this spirit to my attention! Mezcaloteca sounds like the perfect place to get started and have a tasting. Cuish seems like a great one to mingle with the locals 🙂

    • Susan Ripley
      | Reply

      Exactly! Mezcaloteca is a great place to get a base of knowledge before heading to other spots. Hope you are able to try some soon!

  6. Julie
    | Reply

    Great guide! So many places to check out Mezcal! I’ve never tried it before, but now its definitely on my radar!

  7. Frea
    | Reply

    Hi there, thanks for the great blog post. We are heading to Oaxaca next year in May and hoping to visit a distillery without going on a tour . one nearby distillery will be great, we are also not bothered by whether it is commercial or not – happy to go somewhere touristy to see the production of mezcal. Any suggestions of places to go without a tour?

    • Susan Ripley
      | Reply

      Hello! I’m sorry for my late reply. Thanks for your comment!

      I would say that the easiest mezcal distillery to drop in on is el Rey de Matatlan. It’s right on the main highway that runs from Oaxaca out east to El Tule, Teotitlan del Valle, Hierve el Agua, Mitla, etc, so it’s very easy to add as a stop on any day trip to visit those tourist sites. I believe they are open every day and they are happy to do an impromptu short tour and tasting in English. It is pretty commercial, and not my favorite mezcal distillery, but if you are looking for something easy but still informative, it’s a good option!

  8. […] is on a popular corner – right across the street from Boulenc, and around the corner from two of my favorite mezcalerias – In Situ and Archivo Maguey. You can easily make a whole night hopping from one spot to the […]

  9. […] corner for my Oaxaca food guide – right across the street from Boulenc, and around the corner from two of my favorite mezcalerias – In Situ and Archivo Maguey. You can easily make a whole night hopping from one spot to the […]

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