Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Border Bars

On our way north to Nogales we saw a place in Santa Ana that looked like a bar. The sign over the door said El Bar Co. We were in a hurry to get to El Regis saloon in Nogales so we kept driving, thinking maybe we'd stop at El Bar Co on the way home.

The only glitch on the ride north was at the military checkpoint where a couple trucks managed to block the automobile/bus/RV lane so we followed the other cars when they drove down the embankment to the dirt road in the median. It was a steep embankment. We were in my cargo van. Demo worried we would tip over. Coming out of the ditch was even scarier but we managed and were soon once again barreling north.

First stop: Ueta duty free shop on the U.S. side of the border - liter of Tangueray $18, same for a liter of Absolut Citron. As we waited for the security guard to escort us into Mexico Demo said, "look at all those gringos" as though we were somehow excluded from that demographic. We carried our booze into Mexico and headed straight for El Regis.

El Regis is my kind of bar - old, dark, lots of wood, stained glass. It's a Mexican bar but gringos go there too. Ramon was working and he was totally smitten with Demo. On the shelf over the cash register was a display of food items - spam, potted meat, vienna sausages, smoked oysters. We opted for the oysters.

Next stops: the bars in Rio Rico - Hilda's and the new bar I don't know the name of. After Hilda's we sat outside at the new bar I don't know the name of and watched the full moon rise over the Santa Rita Mountains. The air was cooling, softening. A typical southern Arizona evening. It's why I fell in love with the place.

A bottle of wine with our pizza dinner at Nonna Vivi's then after-dinner drinks at the bar at Esplendor resort where we met a nice man from France who came up to our room. We chatted for hours.

Needless to say we were quite hungover the next morning. Not pleasant when faced with hours of shopping followed by the 5-hour drive to Kino but we're troopers; as we neared Santa Ana we decided to stop at El Bar Co and check it out.

I pulled up and Demo went in. When she came out she said it was a restaurant only. She said it smelled good and it was cute, decorated like the interior of a boat. We looked at the sign: El Bar Co. Well, shit: El Barco. The Boat. That gap between bar and co is what threw us. We chuckled over our stupidity all the way home.


  1. HA! Ya think maybe they did that to draw a, um, certain clientele? :) Or was it just a Mexican case of the HOT L BALTIMORE?

  2. Ross, maybe they were trying to lure weary barfly travelers. I wish I'd taken a picture of the sign. It was handpainted and the words were in an arc. Maybe to get the arc just right they needed that bar co gap.