November 12-16, 2014 were spent in Tulum, Mexico. There I discovered a bar I wish was in my neighborhood, Mateo's. They have everything you need for the ideal all day bar/lounge experience. Great coffee, beer, booze, fish tacos and wifi.
Located about 1.5 hours south of Cancun, Mateo's is an outdoor restaurant and bar found along 'small beach hotel row'. The wait staff is friendly and accommodating, the fish tacos delicious, tequila smooth and beer cold. Fajitas and other food are also great and reasonably priced.
Built like the ultimate tree fort, the base level has a dining area, stage, bar and grill. There is also another bar around the back that houses darts and a ping pong table. Up the stairs on the second level is another dining area covered by a thatched roof which enhances the tree house theme. On the 3rd level is a deck with a few hammocks that looks out over the jungle behind the bar. Above that is the 'Sunset Lounge' which may be the highest point in Tulum. From there you get a spectacular view of the ocean to the east and peninsula sunsets to the west.
What makes Mateo's special is the atmosphere. Unlike some of the other establishments along 'small beach hotel row' where the action is obscured behind walls, Mateo's open tree house motif welcomes passers by to sample the action inside and quickly join the fun. The smells coming off the grill, the friendly staff and always excellent music (mostly Latin jazz, Caribbean and blues) pumping through the sound system make it a place you want to come back to.
On Friday nights Mateo's stage features fantastic local musicians giving you live renditions of Latin infused jazz which you can't help but get up and dance to. Especially, after you have been sampling vast selection of Mexican beer and tequila.
After a night partying at Mateo's, I recommend returning for breakfast in the morning. The breakfast selection itself is nothing you couldn't get elsewhere. Omelettes, fruit, pancakes, etc. What makes Mateo's the ideal breakfast spot is that it's open at 8am, they have a solid wifi connection and great coffee.
As an American with a coffee addiction whose been referred to as a coffee snob, I cherish starting off each day with a good cup of java. After suffering with the light brown swill served at my hotel on my first morning in Tulum, finding good coffee became a priority. The next morning Mateo's delivered. There may be other places along small beach hotel row that serve good coffee, but I saw no reason to explore other options.
My stay in Tulum was relaxing and fun. Mateo's proved to be a great place to hangout in between the beach, snorkeling, spear fishing and bar hoping in downtown Tulum. Time spent at Mateo's was one of the highlights of the trip and one of the reasons I'll return to Tulum and 'small beach hotel row'.
Maybe one day this bar will be in my neighborhood...