The no-alcohol policy is one of the most surprising rules of the residence where I’m staying in Mexico City. When I arrived and read the house rules, I almost thought they were kidding. After having been here a few days, it appears the other residents at least are taking it seriously, so I’m not going to be the one to rock the boat. Luckily there are lot of places to drink just a short walk from the house.
Yesterday I decided to go out around 4 pm for my daily beer time, a little earlier than the first two nights, when I combined my beer with a dinner after dark. I walked down a nearby street and noticed a number of places had happy hour beer specials on Tuesdays and Wednesday, and some of them were dirt cheap. In particular, I ended up in a supposedly “Irish” pub where they were offering one-liter drafts of Dos Equis for 49 pesos. That’s about $2.65 U.S. at the current exchange rate. How can one go wrong?
The ambiance was weird. The first half-hour I spent there, the music was 80’s hard rock, but then suddenly switched to Mexican something or other. All the TVs had SkySports, which was showing men’s figure skating of all things. Four of the five taps were Dos Equis, and no Guinness to be seen anywhere. It wasn’t a typical Irish pub feel. Also, in most Irish pubs I’ve visited anywhere I’ve traveled, there are usually a substantial number of English speakers, including almost everyone behind the bar. In this place, no one was speaking English when I arrived. No problem. I got to practice a little Spanish ordering and mostly listening to others.
The thing about a ridiculously cheap beer is that it lowers the barrier to ordering another one. Which I did. After the second one, though, I knew I’d reached my limit. I settled the tab, which with a customary tip with still under $6 U.S., and walked back to the residence. When I got there, I made myself dinner, which after 48 hours of generally overeating was a cup of instant noodles. As a dessert, I ate a pingüino I’d bought earlier in the day at a supermarket bakery, after which I relaxed in our common area with a coffee.
While I was still finishing my coffee, about 8 pm, one of my housemates — another American, but quite a bit younger than me — walked through the common area, spotted me, and asked me if I wanted to go grab dinner with him. I told him I’d already eaten but that I’d join him and have a drink. I didn’t ask him where we were going, but after we were already partway there he said we were heading the same Irish pub I had just left a couple hours earlier. So what did I order? You guessed it, I got the happy hour special again. Apparently they consider it happy hour up until the kitchen closes.
Long story short, I had a good time chatting with a new friend, but this morning I paid the price of three liters of beer. As I was reminded today by a certain family member, this is what happens to 48-year-old men who decide to spend four weeks acting like they’re 30. Today I’m going to act my age, play it safe, and wait at least until sundown to start drinking.