With its elegant white Spanish architecture and surrounding gardens, the Riviera del Pacifico has been one of Ensenada’s crowning jewels for nearly 100 years. The building has a rich history and still serves today as an important part of local culture.
Originally built as a hotel and casino, construction began on the what-was-then beachfront property in 1928. When the hotel opened in 1930 under the name The Playa Ensenada Hotel and Casino, it was one of the most prestigious hotels in all of Mexico. Many of Hollywood’s elite, including Bing Crosby and Rita Hayworth, spent time here during U.S. Prohibition. When Prohibition ended, the hotel declined in popularity and switched owners a number of times before eventually closing in the 1960s.
In the 1970s, the Mexican government reconstructed and reopened the defunct hotel as a cultural center, the Centro Social, Cívico y Cultural de Ensenada. Much of the original architecture, tile, and paintings have been preserved throughout the structure. The property is used for community classes and many of Ensenada’s best festivals and events.
Bar Andaluz and the Birthplace of the Margarita
The still-functioning cantina, Bar Andaluz, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists and a great way to enjoy the property. Visitors who want to learn more about the history of the building can go to Bar Andaluz and walk through the surrounding hallways to see old photographs of the building and admire the original architectural details like the wood ceilings and colorful tiles. The mural behind the bar was painted by Alfredo Ramos Martínez and is original to the building. You can also inquire at the bar about a tour of the property.
Bar Andaluz has a history as rich as the rest of the property and has a long-standing rivalry with Hussong’s Cantina in claiming to be the original home of the margarita. Bar Andaluz claims that the margarita was first served here by bartender David Negrete in 1948 and named after Margarita King, who was the owner of the Riviera during the 1940s. Bar Andaluz has a well-known 2-for-1 margarita night on Wednesday where you can enjoy the famous cocktail inside the bar or out in the courtyard if the weather is nice.
For more information, visit the Riviera del Pacifico website.