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Calle Sexta Bars

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#1 HK70


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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:40 PM

Worn street reborn as cool night spot
Young people make Tijuana’s calle Sexta the place to party

Por: Omar Millán 29 Diciembre 2010 @ 10:22 pm

TIJUANA.- An old, abandoned street has found new life as a hip gathering place for this city’s young people, who will converge there to celebrate the New Year.

For decades, Sixth Street in the downtown area has been home to the decaying Roble movie theater, old Estudillo hardware store, doctors’ offices and a few psychedelic murals painted on some walls.

This year, la calle Sexta became a cool nightlife spot, a carnival of sights and sounds in the two-block area bounded by Constitución, Revolución and Madero avenues.

It’s magnet for people of all ages, but especially for those under 30. The street – particularly on Friday and Saturday nights and holidays – is a metaphor for what’s happened in the city in recent years: people of distinct social classes, generations and lifestyles uniting in unexpected ways.

On calle Sexta they come together to party in the old bars and dance halls – which previously had drawn migrants from other parts of Mexico and working-class residents – and in the recently opened cantinas.

The music is the soundtrack of the street’s life. The music ranges from live deafening banda sinaloense, DJs playing electronic rhythms, salsa, eighties-era cumbias, boleros rancheros, Metalica tunes, norteño accordions, trova and even the melancholic voice of Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

This phenomenon was born around the time authorities urged residents not to leave their homes after 1,564 people were murdered in the city and another 488 kidnapped between 2008 and 2009.

Some area bar owners see the street’s rebirth as a return to a life before the recession in the United States, AH1N1, the bloody rise of organized crime, and the terrorists attacks of 9/11.

Other cantina owners, however, see it as something transitory, that won’t last long.

Inside the bars, some patrons say they come to this street to rediscover their city, others say that they are descending to Tijuana’s depths, to its legend of ruin. Others simply laugh and get drunk.

How did this phenomenon happen?

Rosa Aída de Escobedo is the 69-year-old owner of the Dandy del Sur bar on calle Sexta, and has lived 57 years in the city. She recalled that three years ago dozens of young people related to the arts started to come by. They read poetry, presented books and did other types of presentations.

The Nortec Collective composed a song that has the same name as the bar, she said, and soon another wave of young people came looking for it.

“The music began to vary a bit,” she added. “They wanted rock, but they also played classic rancheras on the jukebox. We were surprised that these young people became our clients and started to program our music.”

As the violence intensified and the U.S. housing crisis spread around the world, business plunged on avenida Revolución and the rest of the downtown. Places closed and signs for rent or sale went up.

José Luis Flores, 29, was laid off from a restaurant on calle Sexta that closed in 2007.

He went to work at La Estrella, a popular dance place with 30 years on the same street that mostly drew laborers, immigrants and domestic workers.

“La Estrella felt the crisis, like all the other businesses, but stayed open because it did not depend on tourism, rather on people from here.

“But this last year something curious happened, many young people started coming here and putting on their music. The old cumbias weren’t played any more, instead they play reggaeton and banda,” said Flores, who is now a bar manager.

As young people began flocking to the old bars and cantinas, entrepreneurs started opening pub bars and other type of bars.

“We were eleven people who had the same concern: We wanted to return people to the city’s streets, to create new entertainment options for Tijuanans,” said Mirza Muñoz, a 29-year-old artist.

She is owner of the Santa Leyenda bar, which opened in December of 2009 and serves only mezcal, a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant. She is a member of the artistic collective Numen 13.

In the same alley can be found the theme bars Indie Go, Kalimotxo 1972 and Bunker.

For Margarita Figueroa de Torres, 52, the owner of Ruben's Bar, a cantina with 42 years on Sixth Street, this phenomenon proves that the city doesn’t depend exclusively on tourism rather that it can survive with people who live there, with a local clientele.

However, Giuseppe Di Carlo, 79, believes that the boom on calle Sexta is fleeting.

He’s been the owner for 40 years of Tropic´s Bar, a cantina that in its golden era attracted U.S. sailors to party at the border.

“Most of current customers on calle Sexta are college students who only drink beer and go from place to place. They will graduate and won’t return. Some dress in outlandish fashion, they don’t seem serious. This is is just transitory.”

Bars on Tijuana’s calle Sexta
Here are some tips for the person who wants to visit calle Sexta for the first time:

If you want to listen to softer music and be able to chat, there are the traditional bars of Dandy del Sur, Tropic´s Bar and Ruben´s Bar, which draw a mature public and the city’s intellectuals.

If you want to dance there’s La Estrella and El Blanco y Negro that play tropical music and occasionally have live bands.

For young people there’s Callejón de la Sexta, El Urbano, Maderos, Sótano de la Sexta, Metrópolis, Circo and La Tasca; the latter which offers 151 beers from across the world.
And, if you want to top off the night with a quick bite, there are these eateries on the same street: Pop Dinner, La Faena taco shop, and La Sexta torta shop.

On New Year’s Eve there will be fireworks and a toast at every bar.



#2 libertythor


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Posted 04 October 2011 - 12:02 PM

The bars at Calle Sexta are much better and safer than the ones that were on Avenida Revolución for tourists. In a way the decline in tourism has actually helped Tijuana expand its local nightlife scene and remove some of the tacky image that it had.

Hopefully when tourism downtown rebounds things won't go back to the way they were.

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