The 13 Blog On The Road: El Tigre "Sport Bar" in Playa Del Carmen Mexico

Posted: February 7, 2010 in 13 Blog On The Road, Dive Bar, Playa del Carmen
Tags: , ,

Let me welcome you to the Special Series, “The 13 Blog On the Road!”  From time to time when I travel, you’ll get a look into where we went and what kind of bars we found.  In early December I got married to my then fiance and now wife.  Our honeymoon was delayed a bit, as I was convinced that going back to school to get all degreed up was a good idea, so our honeymoon, or luna de miel, was in early January.  The wife and I spent a week in sunny Mexico on the Yucatan Penninsula about 30 miles south of Cancun and right outside of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

In our first day of being out in town and my Spanish being tested for real….we were wandering around town, looking out of place as all get out I’m sure, and we came across this lovely establishment.  Now we all have ideas in our heads as to what a Mexican bar is like right?  Well, El Tigre wasn’t all that far off!  So, we went in and I got a beer.  The wife got a soda, as the mixed drinks were 100 pesos ($8.50) and Dox Equis Beers were only 25 pesos. ($2.12!) They also gave me a plate of limes and salt without my asking, so when in Rome right?

As all of my friends know, I don’t normally drink “fruit beers.”  Ya know…beers ya gotta put fruit into them to make them taste good?  Well, I’ll be damned but that wasn’t a tasty, tasty beer!

Now, whereas Playa is quickly becoming a touristy town like Cancun, El Tigre was on the locals side…it’s kind of segregated to the locals’ side and the tourists’ side.  Well, that didn’t stop me from eating in the locals’ taquerias or apparently drinking in their bar.  Now, this was a place they went to get away from the Americans and toss back a few…so I was a bit uncomfortable heading in there, but well, I really did want a beer!  As I may have mentioned I do speak fluent Spanish in the Mexican dialect.  They grew to like me pretty darned quickly!  Also the fact that I ordered Dos Equis seemed to delight the locals as well, as that’s what they were drinking.

A simple 5 peso tip got us all this in terms of appetizers!  Hell yes!! Go go 13’s Spanish!  The thing on the end, I had no idea what it was.  The middle plate was a nice, well I’d guess we’d call it a very thick salsa, and had a nice kick to it.  The near dish was a bean dip.  The wife ate that and I enjoyed the spicy dish.  Now, this wasn’t a place for non-locals so they had no Americanized Mexican food or appetizers for us.

Most places out in Playa had all of their signs in English and Spanish.  El Tigre “Sport Bar” was very much the opposite.  Everything was in Spanish.  This was their place and I felt a bit like I was intruding, like wandering into the teacher’s lounge when you were little you know?

I was wearing my Cardinals hat and in one of the visits here, my Cardinals shirt, and let me say, they love the Cardinals and Mark McGwire in Playa del Carmen!  This really  helped them warm up to me when they realized I speak Spanish and I like baseball.  I considered yelling “Vaya Vaya Chivas!”  However, we were really far from Guadalara where Chivas plays, so I thought that might be a bad idea.  For ‘sport,’ we were watching a Chelsea English Premier League match. On the second trip, they were watching Cindarella Man in
Spanish.  As I was enjoying my beers and appetizers there were all kinds of interesting characters coming in and out.  My favorite was during my second trip there, when the bartender recognized me and so nice, yeah, he was downright lovey dovey.

So, I’m stting at the bar on this trip, and the wife’s next to me.  I’m eating chicken wings that the bartender brought me, but not like you would know them.  They were like whole chicken wings cooked in some sauce, then cut up, bones and all.  So they weren’t exactly easy to eat, and came with this awesome hot sauce.

This guy walks in, and lights up a smoke. (The place was non-smoking and it said so all over.)  He signals to the bartender, who brings him an ashtray and two shooters of tequila.  He gloop gloops them both, and throws down a 200 peso note and walks out.  I mean, that’s hard to the core right there!  Have you ever walked into a bar and just downed a couple shots back to back and walked out? He has!  I just sat back and worked on my chicken wings some more.  I didn’t know what I was saying yes to this time, my Spanish isn’t perfect…but I wasn’t this hungry, and were I in the States I’d have just had a few, but Mexico’s a lot poorer than we are, so I did my best not to waste any.

All in all, aside from the bathroom situation, El Tigre “Sport Bar” was an awesome place to down a couple beers to get out of the heat and rest while we were in Playa del Carmen. I do recommend being able to speak Spanish before going in though. They really got like me then. Well, when I went to Mexico I wanted to be out with the people and haggle and speak in Spanish. In fact, I’m wearing my Chivas de Guadalajara kit that I bought that day.

As always comment or contact us thorugh The 13 Blog’s links: email, twitter, facebook, formspring.

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