Anyone who’s sat down for an afternoon drink in Old San Juan has surely witnessed the zombie-apocalypse of cruise ship tourists that can take over the colonial center on any given day. For residents of the historic neighborhood, this swelling tide of flip flops and fanny packs can cause everything from indifference to desperation, but luckily there are still a handful of local spots where Sanjuaneros can seek refuge and kick back a refreshing cocktail or two.
And it just so happens that one of these refuges has been voted among the 50 best cocktail bars in the world. Situated at the intersection of la Calle San José and la Calle San Sebastían, La Factoría took over where the emblematic Hijos de Borinquen left off after it closed its doors at the same location a few few years back. Renowned for its meticulously elaborated rum cocktails, La Factoría maintains the space’s colonial charm and keeps its vibe low-key and unpretentious.
That’s probably why the magazine Drinks International has designated the bar as one of the world’s 50 best for the second year in a row. Drawing from the votes of 400 renowned industry writers, the annual list first picked up on La Factoría three years back, when it barely missed the final cut. A year later it made the 45 spot, and this year it’s expected to keep rising up the ranks.
Drinks International’s final list won’t be revealed until October 8th, so we can’t know exactly where La Factoría landed this time around, but the magazine has confirmed they made cut yet again. In the meantime, it’s probably safe to assume that Old San Juan’s bohemian local crowd will have to share the bar with one or two mixology-inclined tourists.