The Tequila and Mezcal Museum is on the famous and always lively Plaza Garibaldi. Dedicated not just to the two spirits, the museum also has a section dedicated especially to Mariachi music and the history of the Plaza Garibaldi. Exhibition space is mostly dedicated to the variety of spirits distilled from agave. With a restaurant and a big bright, gift shop, the museum operates the most lively bar of all Mexico City museums.
The museum also organizes guided tours along four different routes in the surrounding neighborhoods. These are a good way to get to know some of the tradition, culture, and folklore of a lesser-known side of the Historic Center.
Today, Plaza Garibaldi is world famous as a night spot. One of few places in the city where beer can be enjoyed pretty much out in the open, it’s a combination after-hours and “hire-your-own-musician” spot. The square’s long history goes back to the origins of the city itself. Technically, the neighborhood is la Lagunilla, the ancient lagoon between Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco.
Always the poorer side of the city, the lagoon was filled in. It likely became a crowded street market early in the colonial period. Called Plazuela de Jardín at first, by 1871 the name was changed to Plaza del Baratillo. This was for a used and refurbished goods market that flourished there during the latter 19th century. The market had been chased out of the Zocalo in 1795. The remnants of the same market are today the beloved Tianguis of La Lagunilla.
In 1921, the name was changed again to honor Giuseppe Garibaldi II, “Peppino.” He was the grandson of the Italian, Giuseppe the First, famed mostly for the Italian Unification, but who’d made a name for himself fighting in Brazil and Uruguay. Peppino, the grandson, had fought with the Madero army during the Mexican Revolution.
By 1923, the newly renamed plaza was hosting a famous cantina, Salón Tenampa. It’s still open today. Originally from Jalisco, the owner introduced the first Mariachis to the city. He also brought Jalisco food, and likely an inclination for tequila. The Plaza has been serenading the night ever since.
Tequila and Mezcal Museum hours:
Sundays through Wednesdays: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursdays through Saturdays: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.