Bars & Pubs

In high season, bars are often filled to the rafters with gringos hoisting cheap drinks and trading information on the Inca Trail or their latest jungle or rafting adventure (or just trying to pick up Peruvians or each other). Most bars are open from 11am or noon until 1 or 2am. Many have elastic happy hours offering half-price drinks, making it absurdly cheap to tie one on. (Travelers still adjusting to Cusco’s altitude, though, should take it easy on alcohol in their first days in the city. You’ve never had a hangover until you’ve had one above 3,000 meters.)

A handful of restaurants are excellent places to drop into for a cocktail or glass of wine. The mixologists at Limo can hold their own with any bartenders in the city, and the list of pisco cocktails, most with exotic fruit juices and other ingredients, is superb—a great place to begin or end the evening. Baco is an oenophile’s hangout, a good place to sample Chilean, Argentine, and Spanish wines in quiet, romantic environs. Its sister restaurant Cicciolina also has a very appealing wine and cocktail bar right up front, with tons of ambience. Gastón Acurio’s two eateries, Papacho’s and ChiCha, each have a great bar program with a long list of original and classic pisco cocktails, plus craft beers, as does Calle de Medio.

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The best cocktail bar in Cusco, however, is the Museo de Pisco, which isn’t a museum at all. The three-level bar specializes in Peruvian piscos, offering up a dizzying number of different bottles from some of Peru’s cult producers that you won’t find outside the country. Sip on them straight or as a flight, which allows you to notice the subtle differences in the grapes or regions where the pisco was produced. There’s also a long list of classic and original pisco cocktails, and there’s live music on some nights.

Los Perros ★, Tecsecocha 436 (tel. 084/241-447), is a laid-back but trendy lounge bar owned by an Australian–Peruvian couple. “The Dogs” has comfy sofas, good food and cocktails (including hot wine), and a hip soundtrack. The bar attracts an international crowd that takes advantage of the book exchange and magazines, and plenty of folks quickly become regulars, making it their spot for dining as well as just hanging out and drinking. The sedate and good-looking restaurant and cocktail lounge Marcelo Batata, Palacios 121 (tel. 084/224-424), has a coveted rooftop terrace with amazing rooftop and star views.

One of the best pubs in town is the Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar ★★, Portal de Confituria 233, 2nd floor (tel. 084/240-594), owned by a Lima craft brewery and featuring a long list of draft beers, including some from other Peruvian producers. Pub grub is available and there’s often live music. American-owned Norton Rat’s Tavern, Santa Catalina Angosta 116 (tel. 084/246-204), next door to the La Compañía church, is a rough-and-tumble bar, the type of biker-friendly place that you might find in any American Midwestern city. Nice balconies overlook the action below on the plaza. Paddy Irish Pub, Triunfo 124, Plaza de Armas (www.paddysirishbarcusco.com; tel. 084/247-719), claiming to be the world’s highest authentic Irish pub, is cozy, relaxed, and often crowded, with expats catching up on fútbol (soccer, of course) and rugby and downing Guinness on draft. El Duende Lounge Bar, Tecsecocha 429 (tel. 084/437-519), is a good place for drinks and meeting Peruvian young people.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.