2303 Picheta rooftop Mérida catedrál by Boo BarnettIt’s the end of another magical day in Merida. Time to relax, have a refreshing drink, and enjoy the enchantment of a Mexican sunset. And the best place to do that? Head to the roof. Rooftop bars offering cocktails and contemporary Yucatecan cuisine provide front row seats to the evening’s most spectacular attraction: night falling over the White City.


Picheta’s rooftop bar perches high above the treetops of the Plaza Grande, where the evening breeze erases the day’s heat. Below, the parrots noisily roost in the leafy canopy above families enjoying the public square. Above you there is only sky, bordered by the massive face of Catedral de San Ildefonso.


In addition to their stellar staff, Picheta features visiting chefs to keep their offerings innovative, with a strong local accent. Besides cocktails, a variety of mezcal offerings are elegantly presented, as are the unmistakable signature Yucatecan liqueurs Xtabentun and Chan Antonio.


Picheta features regional highlights like smoked meats from Temozón and Valladolid, Melipona honey from tiny, stingless bees, and a variety of sauces, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs. You are going to want to taste your companion’s meal, so be ready to share! And leave room for frozen bitter orange mousse, from local fruit.


If sundown catches you closer to La Ermita, CIGNO Hotel has a delightful rooftop bar, more than ready for its Instagram close-up. This beautifully renovated building is now a boutique hotel, chic and art-filled, with their signature scent lightly perfuming the rooms. But make your way to the roof, for the evening stars await.


2303 CIGNO rooftop Mérida by Boo Barnett2303 CIGNO rooftop Mérida by Boo BarnettAn irresistible oval wicker settee near the top of the stairs dares you to pass without pausing for a selfie. A rooftop pool for hotel guests reflects the indigo sky. In addition to standard bar offerings, they have an in-house wine cave, downstairs in the old cistern. Quiet, stylish, intimate: this is a bar where you could propose, with confidence, or simply pass a memorable evening with friends.


The ambiance of the rooftop bar could make anything taste fabulous, but CIGNO’s chef exceeds expectations with the best of local and international treats, seasoned with the distinctive flavors of Yucatán. Their seafood dishes were particularly delectable, although a glance around the other tables revealed that every plate was scraped clean.


Up on Paseo de Montejo, the Sunday Biciruta cruises by the eye-catching Rosas & Xocolate. At this award-winning hotel and restaurant, diners on the bougainvillea pink Montejo Terrace relax under the umbrellas, enjoying live jazz. But as with so many spots in Mérida, there is a hidden gem at the heart: enter the quiet foyer and ascend the stairs to the Moon Lounge.


The bustling city just over the walls? That disappears in this private, open-air oasis of sophisticated jazz, cosmopolitan drinks, and luxe dining.


 2303 Rosas & Xocolate rooftop Mérida by Boo BarnettThere are so many alluring options at Rosas & Xocolate, but here’s one flawless opening move: the Rosewater Margarita. This tender pink concoction feels like love at first sip: Spicy, sweet, multilayered, intoxicating. A thoughtfully curated bar, with an emphasis on tequilas, as well as a deep wine list offer many other choices. But whatever you choose, drink in the beauty of the Mérida night as the stars wheel by overhead. Then decide which of the award-winning international entrees will accompany your special beverage.


From the roses and chocolates, to the suave music and the pink and cocoa palate throughout, Rosas & Xocolate is deeply romantic. It is perfect for that Big Night Out, yet it will also make even an ordinary Tuesday into a Big Night. You’ll find yourself whistling “La Vie En Rose” for weeks.


Are you in the mood for something contemporary and exhilarating? El Remate de Montejo brings the party to this premier location. Make your way upstairs to the rooftop. The stars in the sky sometimes play second fiddle to the stars in the crowd: artists, bon vivants, creatives. The teeming street scene below keeps you rooted in the urban vibe: this is no quiet, romantic hideaway. There’s a party going on ‘round here!


And, fair warning: spirited dancing may erupt at any moment.


Upstairs are El Gato, the noir mode cocktail and nibbles bar, and El Remate Terraza, where drinks come with a dazzling view. Seafood is the Terraza focus, while the ground level El Salon, whose glass walls open to bring in the night, specializes in a meatier menu. The fourth option is the highly acclaimed Pizza NEO.


But let’s stay up on the roof as long as we can, shall we?


Pride of place in the bars goes to the Agave family and friends: tequilas, of course, a couple less smoky Bacamora mezcals, and some Raicillas (“tequila’s older brother”). Standard cocktails are presented with style, as are raw bar specialties.


There’s something for everyone as the sun goes down. From sheer romance to a party scene, find your rooftop!


And wherever evening finds you, face west and raise a glass to eternal Merida…and all her secrets.


Boo Barnett bio


By Boo Barnett
A lifelong tour guide and writer, with degrees in literature, cultural anthropology, and design, I am always searching for the next, perfect Gulf Coast beach.



Photography by Boo Barnett and Picheta for use in Yucatán Today.


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