San Miguel de Allende’s oldest and most chic cantina bar, El Manantial

By Paola Velasco 

To enter the Manantial and push open its wooden cantina-style doors is to enter a journey into the history of San Miguel de Allende. Founded in 1920, it preserves in its facade and walls the folklore of those times. For many years it served workers and producers who came to San Miguel to offer their merchandise, since it is located on the road that leads to the Ignacio Ramírez Municipal Market. 

In 1945 a married couple took over the canteen. Although it was a time when women were not allowed in the cantinas, the wife, Doña Manuela, was in charge of the place and was known for offering a special absinthe drink to her customers. It is located in one of the oldest neighborhoods of San Miguel, very close to the spring found in the Bajada del Chorro, that is where the cantina gets its name. At that time the neighborhood was called «Rebozeros» because many of its inhabitants were dedicated to the production of shawls; today it is known as El Barrio del Chorro. 

Today it is the most chic cantina bar in San Miguel, with a beautiful wooden bar that offers a very Mexican atmosphere, decorated walls where the stories of San Miguel, of Mexico are told, but also of the owner José Luis Viveros, who shared some details with us, «when opening El Manantial, I thought of offering a place with first class hospitality, that is, good food with a good atmosphere and at good prices».  

His menu offers dishes with ingredients from the sea, such as fish pastor tacos, octopus carpaccio with paprika, the famous seafood tostadas, among many options, we can also find the delicious artichoke, a classic of the place, chiles rellenos or chamorro tacos. To design the menu, they have counted with the participation of renowned chefs such as Marcela Bolaño, owner of Marsala restaurant, which guarantees a unique experience of Mexican flavors. 

Since the first week they opened the version we know, it has been a success for 18 years. A favorite of locals, a gastronomic experience for tourists, El Manantial is an experience not to be missed. Located at 78 Barranca Street, on Tuesdays they offer 2 for 1 on tostadas and Thursdays 2 for 1 on margaritas in many flavors, the ginger one is a must!