A new generation of bartenders is transforming Puerto Rico into a premier cocktail destination. Building on the Island's established rum culture, these unique cocktails combine spices, tropical fruits, European bitters, and premium spirits, using techniques honed in international competitions and guest bartending gigs around the world.

Here's your guide to sampling Puerto Rico’s cocktail (and mocktail) scene in the Metro region. There’s also a bonus bar in case you’re headed to the west coast of the Island.

An expertly crafted cocktail from La Factoria.

El Peligroso cocktail at La Factoría in San Juan. 

La Factoría

Calle San Sebastián #148, Old San Juan

Voted one of the top 50 bars in the world four years in a row, La Factoría is an absolute must-visit for the cocktail aficionado. La Factoría is actually three bars in one. At Front Bar, you can sit by the open doorways, sip a Lavender Mule or Spiced Old Fashioned, and watch the people strolling through Calle San Sebastián. If you want a more low-key ambiance, go through the red door to Vino, a wine bar serving wine by the glass or the bottle as well as cocktails and plates to share. Looking for a party? Follow the sound of live salsa music to Shing-A-Ling, where you can dance into the wee hours of the morning.

Bonus Tip: The owners of La Factoría also run several other bars around San Juan, including La Cubanita and El Desvío right next door, Jungle Bird in La Placita de Santurce, and Caneca in Lote 23.

A craft cocktail sits on a balcony railing at The Mezzanine in Old San Juan.

Cocktails come with a view of Old San Juan at The Mezzanine.

The Mezzanine

156 Sol St. 2nd Floor, San Juan

Walking up the winding steps to The Mezzanine you’re transported to 1950s Old San Juan. You’ve just stepped into the home of Pedro Albizu Campos, leader of the Puerto Rican nationalist movement, which plotted to overthrow the U.S. government. Past the foyer and the living room, behind the bar next to the shelf stocked with pristine bottles of spirits, aperitifs, and bitters, a cement wall still sports bullet holes from when the FBI raided the place in October 1950. 

Framed photos and newspaper clippings tell the story of this place, transformed into a cocktail and tapas bar in 2012. The drinks are classically inspired and have a notably tropical twist, like the Guava Cosmo or the Patria Libre, a simple libation of aged rum served over coconut water ice cubes.

Bonus Tip: The first floor of the building is St. Germain Bistro, a popular brunch and lunch spot, and the third floor is Alfresco Rooftop Wine Bar.

Bargoers enjoy cocktails at La Barrita del Lado at Distrito T-Mobile

Enjoy craft cocktails at La Barrita del Lado in Distrito T-Mobile.

La Barrita del Lado

250 Convention Blvd., San Juan

Start your evening with an artisan cocktail at La Barrita del Lado. Located right at the heart of San Juan’s newest entertainment venue, Distrito T-Mobile, you can enjoy people-watching or catch what’s being projected on the giant screens of the main plaza while sipping on a signature cocktail. Talented mixologists have created a diverse menu that features local rum libations and tropical takes on classic cocktails like the Parada 10 Collins and the Mojito del Lado. From there you can bar- and restaurant-hop around Distrito T-Mobile, take in a movie (and another cocktail) at Caribbean Cinemas VIP, or stay for a concert at the Coca-Cola Music Hall.