McAllen has a lot of bars. Bars on 17th St., bars on Nolana, bars on Main, bars on 23rd, bars on Ware…So it might help if people knew which ones were actually worth the drive around.
To find the best bars in McAllen, we’ll need to take a few things into consideration before we grade them.
1. Variety: How deep does the bar’s selection go? Original drinks score more points.
2. Drinks: We’re not overthinking this one; are the mixed drinks good? If no mixed drinks available is their choice of selection good? (This portion would differ from variety; a bar could, in theory, have a wide selection of terrible product)
3. Atmosphere: Every bar is designed with a type of client in mind. From when you walk-in, to your first drink. From the tables, to the music; A bar owner knows the kind of feeling they want to emit. What bar is doing the best at building up the environment around you?
4. Waitstaff: Is the place adequately staffed? How long does it take before you actually get noticed?
5. Sanitation: Long bathroom wait? Do you feel like you’re gonna catch something?
The results of which are the best bars in McAllen:
10 Deloreans – Score: 6.4
80’s bar on 23rd. and Nolana. Great original concept for McAllen; successfully drove business by attracting both Generation X (who lived in the 80s) and Generation Y (who wish they did). But pushing the atmosphere is their only play. Lack of variety; no real original drinks with nothing really special about their mixes hurts their overall score.
9 Cigar Bar – Score: 6.45
Dive. They know who they market to and they know what kind of bar they are. Smokers are welcome, older crowd is welcome. Decent selection of shots along with cheap drinks make this a pretty ideal for a slower night out. It’s an everyday bar with everyday prices…so, you get what you pay for in terms of cocktails. Read that as a double edged sword.
8 From Grain To Glass – Score: 6.55
Mini Roosevelt’s. Crowded and the wait time for a drink can be RIDICULOUS due to the tiny bar. The micro-brew selection isn’t bad and they offer flights which make up for the wait time, a bit.
7 Roosevelt’s at 7 – Score: 6.85
Micro-brew heaven. Roosevelt’s is the first to offer a pretty wide selection of micros in the area. Indoor-outdoor, chill pace still works for them with the occasional musician playing. The art on the walls with the older wood benches tie everything together. Service has taken a noticeable significant dip in the last few years, and those bathrooms are tiny as hell, and are in eye-shot of the kitchen, which has always been weird.
6 Peacocks Shot Bar – Score: 7
In and Out. Peacocks built itself around being a quick drink and go kinda place. Find a shot on the wall, order, drink, move on. The chalkboard is kinda perfect for your random scribbles.
5 Suerte – Score: 7.45
Best atmosphere in McAllen. The lighting, the Dia de Los Muertos theme all around; it’s the detail that wins over people. The original drinks are theme based and well put together. Only problem is that they are always ALWAYS understaffed. Getting through to the bar is an adventure in it of itself, getting a bartender to even look your way is almost impossible.
4 Santa Fe Cantina – Score: 7.5
Bar that sits opposite of Santa Fe Steakhouse. Medium sized space with native New Mexican art around most of the bar. Smaller selection than what they should have, but the selection IS good. They brand their own cocktails and the live band is the best on this list.
3 Housewine – Score: 7.8
More restaurant than bar, but their blend of wine variety and ambiance is executed well. The wait staff are friendly enough to help guests new to wine and fairly knowledgeable for the more experienced.
2 The Centennial Club – Score: 8.15
Classic speakeasy on Austin. A huge change of pace from what you’ll typically find downtown. Inside is covered in beautiful wood accents, original cocktails and bartenders, when you DO get a hold of one, actually know what they’re doing (a luxury, no matter what city). This bar can legitimately rival any bar in the state; it’s only bested by the previous tenants of their current location.
1 El Divino – Score: 8.6
The best bar in McAllen and it’s not even close. From the enormous selection, amazing original cocktails and impeccable service, they’ve solidified themselves as the toast of McAllen.