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2 Of The Top Bars In North America Are In Tulum And Playa Del Carmen 

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Prestigious List Highlights The Quality Of Establishments On Show In Quintana Roo

Two Quintana Roo establishments have been named in the top fifty bars in North America. The two bars, Zapote in Playa del Carmen, and Arca in Tulum are high-end cocktail bars.

cheers with cocktails

The yearly list is announced as part of the prestigious “50 Best” organization that ranks the best restaurants and other types of establishments by region and then the world. Although both bars missed out on the top 100 world rankings, the achievement of being listed among the best in North America is massively commendable.

Zapote, based in Playa del Carmen just fell short of the top ten, landing in eleventh place behind a bar called Civil Liberties in Toronto. The bar is unique in that it celebrates the Yucatan region in its flavors and concepts, making it a truly local bar.

Named after a sacred Mayan tree symbolizing hospitality, Zopote utilizes local fruits, plants, and of course, liquor in the drinks it serves. According to the 50 Best website, the head bartender’s menu includes ingredients taken right from the jungle and turns classic cocktails in modern Mayan beverages.

A notable drink on the menu is the simple Margarita, named Wana Bana at Zapote. Instead of the typical ingredients, soursop- a local fruit- is included along with ever-present tequila. Other highlights include the Mamey, a rum milk punch, and a host of lighter daytime drinks.

green cocktail on bar

Zapote also features a full menu with middle-eastern inspired food, in the evenings to pair with the world-class cocktails. The bar also won a major newcomer award this year too, highlighting the class shown in the establishment.

Arca, the Tulum-based bar, managed to break into the list at number thirty-seven, an admirable placement when considering every bar in North America as a potential winner. The stunning bar is built into a piece of rainforest in Tulum, making for a unique atmosphere that could only be found in the Mexican Caribbean. The mystical promotional video on their website is enough to draw the attention of anyone, cocktail aficionado or not. 

While Zapote’s specialty is Mayan culture, Arca shows its skill with Mezcal, the Mexican agave-based spirit that’s currently exploding in popularity across the world. Also home to an exceptional restaurant that champions local produce, the hip bar team have created some unique house cocktails like Har Mar Superstar, a beautiful Mezcal concoction mixed with ginger, honey, lemon, and thyme. A sense of humor is present in the cocktail names, with puns like Mayami Nice and other brilliantly sharp titles like Naked in the Desert and Lone Palm.

man prepares cocktail

Bars like Zapote and Arca are an excellent addition to the Mexican Caribbean, At a time when Quintana Roo’s popularity is soaring, investments can come in all shapes and sizes. But finding quality establishments that put the culinary scene of the state on the world stage builds reputation.

Quintana has come under fire in recent months as growth appears to explode unchecked. Both of these bars champion the local produce that helps sustain the residents of the state and help keep the region unapologetically Mexican, even if it is a modern twist on the culture.

red cocktail on bar

Mexico City also features heavily on the list, showing the talent that Mexico has and its ability to be a truly world-class destination for foodies. It would do the state well to take heed of the attention that bars and restaurants like these receive and the reasons they are noticed. It goes well beyond just having good drinks.

bartender preparing drink

Hopefully, in years to come, Quintana Roo will be home to more bars and restaurants that feature on prestigious lists like this one, and maybe even cement itself as an area of gastronomical excellence like the capital city has done. 

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