Let Loose in San Juan

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Let Loose.

Boricuas love to party, with our without an excuse. We celebrate everything, from birthdays to our boxers’ victories (once, the government gave the day off the  Monday after Tito Trinidad won a match). So, when it’s time to let loose and get extremely drunk we like heading down to the places mentioned below. Be warned, these chinchorros aka dive bars to all you nuyorquinos don’t allow pretentiousness like some other locales like Shannan’s, or any of the overtly-faux bars down at SOFO (South Fortaleza Street, SOFOcking bullshit if u ask me) that are force-fed to beguiled visitors upon arrival in San Juan. Are you ready to black-out for under $20?

El Refugio
Calle Balseiro, Río Piedras
Tren Urbano to Universidad Station, AMA M-1 or A-3 to Río Piedras. My recommendation- drive or hitch a ride.

A favorite of UPR students, especially the artsy shmanzy crowd, plus your random Law and Physics students when they all want to take “academic breaks” between classes, or simply skip them. This quaint little bar in Rio Piedras is usually packed Wednesdays and Thursdays nights with everybody chugging their Medallas and taking turns ordering the bar’s signature $3 Kaneka de Chichaíto. After a mere good 15 minutes before you run to buy another bottle of the rum and anise concoction, but the hangover will last well into the next day. FYI- Chichaíto is meant to be shared, don’t fret if some cute guy or gal suddenly starts doing shots out of your bottle. On the bar’s 30th anniversary last April, the owners gave everybody free booze, t-shirts and cake. The place was so packed, people were piling in trying to get in the celebration.

El Boricua
Calle Brumbaugh, Río Piedras
3PM- til the last drunk guy leaves.
Tren Urbano to Río Piedras Station. My recommendation- drive or hitch a ride.

Back in 1935, the street in front of El Boricua was the location where the Río Piedras massacre, where four members of the Nationalist party and one police-man were killed, occurred. Today is another favorite bar of the down and dirty UPR crowd where we all congregate usually after El Refugio closes, on Fridays and Saturdays or for cheap drinks before heading up to Taller Cé to catch a show. Don’t forget to check-out Vik Ismo’s Graffiti and if you’re lucky you may run into live batucada, jazz or simply all of us raucous mid-twenties brats who refuse to grow up.

Taller Cé
Calle Robles, Río Piedras
Tren Urbano to Río Piedras Station. My recommendation- drive or hitch a ride.

Walk north from El Boricua, past the Funeral House (exciting, huh?) and go to Taller Cé to catch weekly music or theater shows from the hottest local bands that FM radio is too dumb to play. A few of the acts that have performed include Davila 666, Balún, Trapnel, Las Hermanas Colón, El Bosque and Lapdance.

Port O’ Call
651 Ponce de León Ave, Miramar

The crowd in Port O’Call is extremely bipolar. One day is packed with the right hipster/bohorican and wannabes; the next is full of up-and why should they be-coming yuppies. Anyways, the place is fun, air-conditioned, has a great jukebox, is steps from the Fine Arts cinema house and you might run into Fofé from Circo or Remezcla’s own Núria if she’s in town getting drunk [Editor’s note: I was only there once, six months ago, with my new-found, via Myspace, artsy friends who showed me the way. Y me hago llamar puertorriqueña!]. If you’re in the Santurce/Miramar area, stop by, have a couple of beers and then head out to Old San Juan or next door to Los Pinos for a late night arroz con habichuelas run. Speaking of munchies, the best in San Juan are the pastelillos de pizza (pizza turnovers) at 3am at Kruger’s in Viejo San Juan or  “un canto de pizza” from Fancy Pizza in Condado, open 24 hours.

271 Calle Sol, Old San Juan

Galería Comercial’s Tito Rovira took a NY Times writer to this gal bar in Old San Juan for some drinks, and she liked it so much, that it eventually was featured in the newspaper. This is one of the best unknown bars in Old San Juan, and we’d like to keep it this way, with an amazing jukebox filled with old school Salsa and La Lupe. All Cosmpolatinos must come to Marrero and hang-out with Nelly, the bar owner and her mom who is always there. Don’t forget to check-out the retro pin-ups of Medalla, Schaefer and Cindy Crawford.