13 Best Bars Near San Jose Costa Rica

The best places to learn about an area’s history are the museums, streets, and bars. San Jose is no exception. Most people will skip San Jose and escape to the beaches, wildlife, and mountains. But there is a rich culture and a great nightlife. There are plenty of exciting bars in and near San Jose. 

When I started going to Costa Rica for vacations, I heard so much about San Jose. The nightlife intrigued me the most, so I spent at least two days exploring San Jose every time I landed there. I have had some great times and met some interesting people in bars in San Jose. 

Key Takeaways

While you might not spend your whole vacation in San Jose, take a few days from your vacation and explore the city. There are great bars within and near San Jose. Here are my key takeaways on the best bars near San Jose. 

  • Most bars in Costa Rica serve meals, so there might be no need to visit a restaurant. However, you should first find out if their meals are okay to avoid sleeping hungry. 
  • If you will be leaving the bar late, I recommend only using an official taxi. Avoid walking around at night in San Jose, as it might be dangerous. 
  • Several bars in San Jose serve craft beer. The Artisan Brew Pub, Cervecería Calle Cimarrona, and Wilk Craft Beer have various local and international craft beers. 

13 Best Bars Near San Jose

International beers and liqueurs have long been on the Costa Rican scene. However, in 2010, the Craft Brewing Co. changed the beer scene in Costa Rica. After that, small breweries such as Volcano Brewing Co., Lake Arenal Brewery, and Treintaycinco introduced various craft beers. 

Hence, when you venture into most Costa Rican bars, you will likely find a mix of international and local craft beers. I have tasted some craft beers, and you should try them out. I highlight my recommendation of the 13 best bars in San Jose. 

Artisan Brew Pub

ARTISAN BREW PUB

Open: 4:30–11:00 PM (Monday–Friday) but extends to midnight on Friday. 

12:00 PM–12:00 AM (saturday and Sunday but closes at 8 PM on Sunday). 

Location: Santa Domingo, Heredia. 

It’s the best place to taste all types of beer worldwide. Artisan Brew Pub offers bar food such as pizzas, salads, and choripan. The beer selection is vast, and you can get it from the tap. 

At this pub, I tasted my first Belgian beer, the Kasteel Rouge, which was an exciting experience. 

Mil948

MIL948

Open: 4 PM to 12 AM (Tuesday to Sunday); open up to 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Location: Calle Negritos, Barrio Escalante.

Set in the former home of President Pepe Figueres, Mil948 is the first premier cocktail bar to open in Costa Rica. The house menu consists of 13 house drinks. Most bar patrons ask for La Bendita Calavera, a spicy cocktail that leaves you thirsty after the first taste. 

My favorite was American whiskey with cocoa and blackberry syrup. I added ice cubes to mellow the taste. Mil948 is a mixology center in San Jose. You can request any drink or let the mixologist develop a unique drink for you. 

Mil948 has a central bar, outdoor and indoor seating, and an outback space for parties. The outback area also has a pool table. 

Selvatica Social Club

Open: 4:00 p.m.–9 p.m. (Wednesday and Thursday), 12:00 p.m.–9 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). 

Location: Calle 21 Nortesa, El Carmen, San José. 

It’s a spacious cocktail lounge with a Miami vibe. Expect great music from the DJ on Friday nights, Saturday nights, and Sunday brunch time. Apart from your regular classics, Selvatica also has some fabulous custom creations. 

Try out the bar’s unique Artichoke Hold, a mixture of lemon, orgeat, spiced rum with artichoke, and elderflower liqueurs. 

La Vasconia 

Open: 9 AM to 1.30 AM (Monday to Friday), 11:00 AM to 1:30 AM (Saturday), 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM (Sunday). 

Location: El Carmen, San Jose. 

It’s a karaoke bar, but the most exciting thing is that with every shot (trago), you earn a small bar snack ( baco). Try shots like Old Parr, Bavaria beer, Centenario rum or the chiliguaro cocktail. 

Popular snacks at La Vasconia include yuca frita, chorizo, and ceviche. However, you can also order a full meal. La Vasconia has gallo pinto, casados, vigorón, and seafood. 

Wilk Craft Beer

Open: 3:00 PM–1:00 AM (Monday to Friday), 12:00 PM–2:00 AM (Saturday and Sunday but closes at 11 PM on Sunday). 

Location: Avenida La Luz (Barrio Escalante). 

Head to this exciting bar in Barrio Escalante to try different craft beers. The bar has tasting samplers and a great tap selection. I recommend the sampler board if you’re unsure which drink you want.  

Many locals also visit this bar. The man in charge of brewing is always ready to answer all customer questions. You can also get tacos, burgers, pizza, sweet potato fries, and ceviche. 

If you prefer international beers, Wilk has a great selection from all over the world. They have an outdoor seating area, which is a great place to observe what is going on in the central market across the road.  

Cothnejo-Fishy Cantina 

Open 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM Tuesday to Saturday. The bar closes at 11.45 PM on Friday and Saturday.  

Location: Calle 3A Ave., 11 Barrio Amon. 

Cothnejo-Fishy Cantina is the best bar for bar food. It serves large portions alongside great cocktails. It’s downstairs from the famous Restaurante Silvestre. If something on the menu differs from your taste, the bartender can make you a unique drink. 

It’s known as the “hipster cantina” of San Jose. The cocktails are interesting and unique. Some of the best cocktails at Cothnejo-Fishy Cantina include:. 

CocktailsIngredients
Great-grand TonicTanqueray Ten, citrus soda, tonic hibiscus, cloves, and lemon.
The Fresh PrinceTanqueray Ten, pineapple soda, cardamom, tonic, cucumber, tonic.
New Old FashionedI wai Mars whiskey, citrus, elderberry liquor, and bitters. 
NanciqueLemon, Guaro de Nance, egg white foam, cacique, and sugar.
Tijuana SunMezcal 7 mysteries, tamarind, lemon, sugar, and triple sec.
Tico MuleGinger ale, mint, and sweet tapa.

Buchón Cantina

Open: 5:00 p.m.–12:00 a.m. (Wednesday–Saturday). 

Location: Tomás Guardia, San José, Soledad. 

It’s also another great place, with excellent bar food and great cocktails. Buchón Cantina has a comfortable, upscale cocktail lounge. You can buy wine from their shop inside the bar. There are several intimate salons at the bar where you can have quiet parties. 

Buchón Cantina also offers excellent Costa Rican food. I liked their meatballs in tomato sauce with some fries. After my meal, I had the Aperol Spritz, a gin and tonic. 

Los Tres Perros

Open from 5 PM to 1 a.m., except on Mondays, when the closing time is 11 p.m. 

Location: Heredia, at the national stadium in La Sabana Park. 

It is one of the few cocktail bars in San Jose where you can get a meal late at night. Los Tres Perros is inside the Enboca Restaurant. My favorite drink was the Mariachi drink, but their mixologist, Kevin, does a great job serving a drink of your choice. 

A lot of fresh seafood options are on the menu at the restaurant. The bar has a great outdoor garden seating area where you can sit, especially during the dry Costa Rican months. 

Stiefel Pub

Open: 11:30 AM–2 PM & 6 PM–2 AM daily, apart from Sundays. 

Location: Barrio Otoya, Av. 7, Calle 11A. 

The pub is downtown. Once you enter the home, you will see a tiny courtyard with two tables holding different types of beers. There is a vast selection of draft and bottled craft beers. 

The second floor has several rooms, with one having low pallet sofas. The second room has tables with small tables and low music. If you want more action, venture to the third room with bar seating and a futsal. There are also two balconies but only with enough space for four people each. 

When it’s time to eat, the chefs prepare some great meals. My favorite were fried fish tacos and burgers. 

Hoplers

Open: 5:00 PM–12:00 AM but extends to 2 AM on Friday and Saturday. The bar is closed on Sunday. 

Location: Near San Pedro University, Central Los Angeles, San Jose. 

It has a pool table, and the dark inside gives an authentic beer experience. However, you can sit on the outside patio and listen to live music. The bar serves pizzas and burgers, as well as some craft beer. The menu has all types of beers from all over the world. Although most of my friends chose German beers, Costa Rican craft beers were plentiful. 

Behind the bar is a small garden where you can sit under the mango tree and have a pizza and your choice of beer. There is a lovely fountain that gives the whole place a nice vibe. You might also be in luck and go when there is some jazz live music. 

Cervecería Calle Cimarrona

They are open from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM (Wednesday to Friday) and 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Saturday). 

Location: In the downtown area near Plaza de la Cultura, Steinvorth Building. 

The small brewery is in a shopping mall, with tables in the courtyard. It’s a great place to try out some craft beers. You can also get international beers like the New England IPAs or the Stouts. The brewery is on the first floor, and a coffee and pastry shop is on the ground floor. 

Cervecería Calle Cimarrona also serves some delicious meals. Live music is in the courtyard every Friday from 5-7 p.m. 

D Bar

Open: 6:00 PM–11:45 PM (Tuesday to Saturday)

Location: Multi Plaza Mall garage. Go to the parking deck and head towards the staircase. Enter the large wooden door. 

Finding this place was an adventure in itself. It’s so well hidden in Multi Plaza Mall’s garage parking. You’ll love their exotic drinks and fabulous music more. The staff treat you like a VIP while you enjoy your drinks and appetizers. 

It’s a popular bar, and I recommend you make reservations. Some of their best cocktails include the following:. 

  • Wildfire cocktail
  • Chernobyl,
  • Banana old-fashioned (limited edition)
  • Plastic chaos
  • Ozona

Craic Irish Pub

Open: 6:00 PM–2:00 AM (Tuesday–Saturday), 4:45 PM–12:00 AM (Monday). 

Location: 100 meters south of the Nicaraguan embassy. 

Getting a seat on Patrick’s Day in this Irish pub in San Jose is hard. Its beers on draft are what attracts most tourists to the pub. They have excellent meals and delicious burgers and chips as snacks. The locals and the staff are friendly, and you’ll converse quickly. 

It is a great place to watch football with the other patrons cheering their favorite team. There were only a few Irish beers, but the other selections were good. There is good music, and you will have a great time as it closes late. If you are staying far away, please remember to get a taxi if you need a rental car. 

Conclusion

San Jose has an exciting nightlife. However, please remember to take extra precautions at night at bars or clubs. If you plan to drink, take an official taxi and avoid walking alone at night. Do not leave your drinks unattended if you are partying alone. 

What are your favorite bars near San Jose? Please share your experience. 

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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