Bartending on the Beach! We interview 4 Beach Bartenders to Find out if it’s as Dreamy as we think

Awww the dream of a beach bar! As city dwellers, we dream of what it would be like to live at the beach all of the time. Sandy floors. Juicy cocktails. The sound of the ocean. Bar swings. We recently spent a month in one of our most favourite places in the world: Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico. This town has everything from the beach to great food and drink to killer sunsets everyday. But just what does it look like to be a bartender in a beach town? We did quick interviews with bartenders working in Puerto Escondido and Playa Zipolite to find out.

Christopher of Palapita | Bartender Atlas

Christopher of Palapita Bar (Playa Zicatela)
How did you end up bartending in Puerto Escondido?
Just wanted to go outside of the city and wanted to come to the beach so here I am.

What is your favourite part of working at a beach bar?
It’s quiet. Being in a really quiet place.

What is the worst part of working at a beach bar?
There is nothing more, just beach.

What is the most popular drink ordered at your bar?
The Piña Colada. Always Piña Coladas.

What is the weirdest/worst drink ever ordered at your bar?
I once got an order for a Manhattan built inside a pineapple. Ha! It doesn’t sound good but it was cool.

What do you do on your day off?
Ride my motorcycle outside of town.

Carlos of La Sala Rosa | Bartender Atlas

Carlos of La Sala Rosa (La Punta)
How did you end up bartending in Puerto Escondido?
I am from Mexico City. I moved to Playa del Carmen first and I started working at bars. Then I heard about Puerto Escondido and I moved here. I started working in one bar down the street from here and then I saw a great opportunity to open my own bar here. Because it is a special place with a good community. It is a nice town.

What is your favourite part of working at a beach bar?
Feeling the vibe from the people. Here the people have a special vibe. Everyone here is chill and happy and not rushed. Everyone is on vacation so it is very relaxed here. That is why I like it. It is easy and chill and safe.

What is the worst part of working at a beach bar?
The worst part for me is that I need to work all day. The only problem with starting this business is that I have to spend most of my time here.

What is the most popular drink ordered at your bar?
Here? “Caribbean Mezcal”. It’s a cocktail that I created with rosemary, pineapple, a little sugar, lime, mezcal and topped with ginger. This is one of my special cocktails.

What is the weirdest/worst drink ever ordered at your bar?
I only have regular drinks here at La Sala Rosa. But I think that the worst drink for every bartender to make is a Miami Vice. Right?! Strawberry, coconut, piña, Ron… when you have just one blender. It’s a little complicated. It’s not bad. It’s just a little complicated.

What do you do on your day off?
Go to the beach or something like that. Just relax.

Dani of Mezcaleria Gota Gorda | Bartender Atlas

Dani of Mezcaleria Gota Gorda (Playa Zipolite)
How did you end up bartending in Zipolite?
Such a crazy long story but Cole’s Notes version of how I ended up here: Stars aligned. The stars aligned. Literally.

What is your favourite part of working at a beach bar?
It is super chill and peaceful. People are on vacation so they are in a good mood and I have not had a problem with guests. I am one person and am running a 10 seat bar by myself. Doing 3 to 5 turns a day. So it can get busy but I love being able to have unique people come through. I am focussed on what I serve. I am only serving mezcal, beer and one cocktail a night so it is manageable. People don’t come in here expecting anything more than what I serve here. It has been amazing.

What is the worst part of working at a beach bar?
Being isolated. It is a beautiful place to be isolated in so I can’t really complain about that but you don’t have access to a lot of things that you have access to in a city. I have access to a lot of fresh fruits but I don’t have a lot of access to anything besides – well I don’t focus on spirits outside of mezcal – but if I did, getting those spirits would be complicated.

What is the most popular drink ordered at your bar?
Mezcal Margarita. I do one cocktail per day. Right now I have a drink called The Madhatter which is Agua Jamaica, Jasmine, Mezcal infused with Guayaba with Orange bitters and a citrus blend which I bottle. I do  bottled cocktails so basically the most popular drink is anything that I have bottled that day!

What is the weirdest/worst drink ever ordered at your bar?
Zero. People come in here for mezcal. I have had amazing guests so far.

What do you do on your day off?
On my day off I watch the sunset. I do yoga. I try to go somewhere that I haven’t been before.

Erick of Chicama | Bartender Atlas

Erick of Chicama (La Punta)
How did you end up bartending in Puerto Escondido?
Well, in the beginning it was just me thinking about what I was going to do with my life. So I moved here to Puerto and left all my things in Peru. I came here and I just found this place that needed a Peruvian restaurant. Somewhere with more flavour and something more for the people.

What is your favourite part of working at a beach bar?
My favourite part is that you can surf on the same day that you can work. That the people are more relaxed so we are relaxed working too.

What is the worst part of working at a beach bar?
It is so hot! I think that this place is ruled by the waves. You can have the best wave of your life and two seconds after you can have the worst wipeout in your life. So this place rolls like that. You have to be very strong and patient to find a balance.

What is the most popular drink ordered at your bar?
Mezcal or Pisco Sour. People love it and they identify the restaurant for that. Some people come every night asking for one.

What is the weirdest/worst drink ever ordered at your bar?
I don’t like making Piña Coladas. I don’t know why I just don’t feel good when I make them. Maybe my bartending teacher in Peru felt that too so he passed that onto me. Maybe it is too much of a cliché.

What do you do on your day off?
Surfing. I find time to go horse riding. I find anything to do with my day off because here in the beach you have to find a balance (of working and time off). If not, you are losing out. So I mix work with going anywhere. Going to Agua Blanca to eat oysters. Just relaxing. But I always find something to do. If not, I’d go crazy.


Jessica Blaine Smith
Co-creator at Bartender Atlas
Jessica co-created Bartender Atlas with her bartender husband Josh Lindley. She is a full-time photographer based in Toronto, Canada. In her professional life, she documents the lives of others. Her camera has taken her all over this beautiful world from Cuba to Trinidad to France to New Zealand and Australia. While not a bartender herself, she definitely loves a strong cocktail, preferably one that is brown and/or smokey. She also loves poutine, pilates, other peoples' children and, of course, sitting at all of your bars.
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