Home NIGHTLIFE The Definitive Guide to Live Music in Playa del Carmen
The Definitive Guide to Live Music in Playa del Carmen
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The Definitive Guide to Live Music in Playa del Carmen

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(Last Updated On: March 29, 2017)

One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain.

Bob Marley

Live music rocks. No matter where you go in the world, it’s a universal truth.

There’s always something magical about seeing a live show. The raw talent, the energy of the crowd, the flow of inebriating drinks and the electric atmosphere. And in the case of Playa del Carmen, of course, you’ll have to add in a dose of palm trees, thatched roofs and the tropical surroundings to those rhythmic beats.

Today, as home to the BPM Festival, Corona Sunsets and DJ Fest, among many, many others, Playa del Carmen is known more for its electronic scene than anything else.

A musician on the congas at La Perla Pixan Restaraunt in Playa del Carmen

But as could be expected, there’s a little something for almost everyone in Playa del Carmen. From the mariachis wandering up and down 5th Avenue to country music at Fah’s Restaurant & Bar, there are a number of great venues that offer live music each and every night.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to live music in Playa del Carmen; to help you through this maze of venues and help you find that which you seek.

Drum roll, please.

To make things easier for you, we’ve divided the bars and restaurants into the following categories:

Rock

  • Kitxen
  • Santino Bar
  • PG’s Mexican Caribbean Bar & Grill
  • Fah Restaurant & Bar
  • La Choperia
  • McCarthy’s Irish Pub

Latin/Jazz

  • Salon Salsanera 
  • La Bodeguita del Medio
  • Lucky Luciano’s

Eclectic

  • La Perla Pixan
  • Caiman Tugurio
  • Wah Wah Beach Bar
  • The Public Space
  • Le Lotus Rouge
  • La Drinkería
  • Zenzi Beach Bar
  • Coco Playa Maya

Electronic

  • Diablito Cha Cha Cha
  • Gummo Art Bar
  • Club Cerouno
  • Patio 8

Playa del Carmen Bars for Rock Music

In comparison to numerous venues dedicated to electronic music, no other genre will ever be able to compete.

For those of us who are music lovers, that’s unfortunate.

However, there are several great places to catch live music not called trance, house or deep chill.

Here are the places where you can to turn in up to eleven for some good ‘ole rock-n-roll.

Kitxen

Live music and dance at Kitxen Playa del Carmen

This one should hold a special place in your heart if you consider yourself to be a rocker. Kitxen Playa del Carmen is owned by legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the iconic Mexican rock band Caifanes. Don’t expect to find any other genre but some genuine rock-n-roll from the talented local bands that call Playa del Carmen their home. This place is all about the atmosphere and music, meaning that you should eat before or after you go because all they’ll be serving up is some Brown Sugar and Candy Store Rock to go with those cold drinks.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Rock-n-Roll

Live music: Nightly

Address: 5th Avenue between Constituyentes and 20th


Santino Bar

santino

With all the Argentineans living in Playa del Carmen, whose country has a rich history in producing some of Latin America’s most iconic bands, it’s about time we have a Gaucho rock bar in Playa del Carmen. Santino Bar is exactly that, and in their short existence they have brought in a few top-notch bands from Argentina and Mexico.

Open: Mon.-Sat., 10:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Music style: Rock

Live music: Per event

Address: 5th Ave. btw. 4th & 6th Str


PG’s Mexican Caribe Bar & Grill

pg mexico caribe bar

Formerly known as Pinche Gringos, PG’s may have shortened its name but not its fame. Ideally located on 1st Avenue and 26th Street, it’s a great place to get rockin’ while you sip on some tasty cocktails in an open-air setting. Every Thursday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., local favorites Crazy Toy crank up the amps and pay tribute to the music dieties with some well-played covers and a dose of sass. Oh, and by the way, Happy Hour is every day from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Now that rocks!

Open: Mon.-Sun., 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Rock

Live music: Every Thursday & Saturday night

Address: 1st Avenue and 26th Street


Fah Restaurant & Bar

Fah Bar Playa del Carmen live music

One of the best things about this live music venue in Playa del Carmen is the fact that it’s a large, open air patio right on 5th Avenue. The food is pretty good, it’s definitely a fun ambiance, and there’s lively music nightly starting at 6 p.m. Yes, Fah Restaurant & Bar is worth a visit. And because everything goes down in the patio, you can stand around and listen to the music for a song or two before deciding if it’s what you’re up for or not.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Folk/Rock

Live music: Nightly

Address: 5th Avenue between 8th and 10th


La Choperia

A guitarist plays a riff at La Choperia in Playa del Carmen

La Choperia is a Mexican drinking chain that offers a fun atmosphere, decent prices and good service. The food is nothing to write home about, but it does make a good compliment to those liters of draft beer that you just can’t seem to get enough of. Wednesdays are to rock what Fridays are to tropical Latin music. Saturdays are for DJs.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Mostly rock and some Latin

Live music: Wednesdays & Saturdays

Address: 5th Avenue right off 28th (next door to Lucky Luciano’s)


McCarthys Irish Pub

A red-headed stepchild rocks out at McCarthy's Irish Pub in Playa del Carmen

We’re not sure how they do it, but every McCarthy’s Irish Pub in Mexico seems to be able to find red-headed lead singers to lead their house rock bands. That takes some talent. In spite of its Irish tribute, however, McCarthy’s has a very Americanized vibe. The food is hearty, burgers, wings and such, the beers are tall and the music is turned up to 11. It’s also a great place to watch sports, play pool or simply ponder how a place like this can pass for Irish. Either way, you’ll be rockin’.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 2:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Music style: Rock, country, folk

Live music: Nightly beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Address: 5th Avenue and corner of 28th


Playa del Carmen Bars for Latin Music & Jazz

Surprisingly, there is fewer places to go for this sort of music than you think.

That said, however, many of the venues mentioned in the following section always dedicate a night or two to the rhythms of salsa, cumbia, merengue, and bachata.

Salon Salsanera Raices

Salsa dancers shake a leg to live music at Salon Salsonera Raices in Playa del Carmen

If there’s one place on this entire list where you better be ready to dance, it’s Salon Salsanera Raices. A Latin dancehall that brings the vibes, be prepared to fall under the influence of some quality salsa, cumbia and merengue music as you move your body to the infectious rhythms of the nightly orchestra. There’s a cover of $150 pesos, and Salon Salsanera even offers free salsa dancing lessons each evening from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 21:30 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Music style: Latin

Live music: Nightly

Address: 12 Street & 10th Avenue


La Bodeguita del Medio

A somewhat Cuban looking man stands outside La Bodeguita del Medio in Playa del Carmen

No live music guide to Playa del Carmen would be complete without including La Bodeguita del Medio. Inspired in the club by the same name in La Habana, La Bodeguita del Medio is a Cuban transplant with a decidedly touristy feel. That said, however, the handwritten walls, revolutionary décor and some good food provide the backdrop for what are the true stars of this tropical oasis of Cuban kitsch: the musicians. Cuban musicians are some of the best-trained artists in the world, and the bands that play at La Bodeguita del Medio are a testament to that talent.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Latin

Live music: Nightly

Address: 5th Avenue between 34th and 36th


Lucky Luciano’s

Jazz musicians play at Lucky Luciano's in Playa del Carmen

Perhaps one genre seriously underrepresented in Playa del Carmen is jazz. Yes, in spite of its hip, international reputation, it appears the free flowing vibe of jazz has been drowned out by the insistent, monotone thump of electronic music. A shame indeed. However, one place does try and remedy that, even if it’s mostly sappy romantic music for couples who love those long, hard stares into each other’s eyes while listening to some sappy Kenny G in the background (Actually, we’re kidding. They do in fact have some talented musicians playing there, such as the highly recommended Footprints Jazz Quartet). The name: Lucky Luciano’s. Serving up tasty Italian fare with a touch of jazz on Thursday evenings. Extra bonus points get awarded because they also host Stand Up Comedy Nights on Wednesdays.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Jazz

Live music: Thursdays

Address: Corner of 5th Avenue and 28th


Playa del Carmen Bars for Eclectic Music

Some of the gems of the Playa del Carmen music scene can be found in this category.

A shout out goes to La Culpa, which has done a great job of bringing in some incredible bands from Mexico and abroad.

Put simply, they rock, even if they also put on rockabilly, dub step, reggae, and hip hop shows.

La Perla Pixan Cuisine & Mezcal Store

Live folk music at La Perla Pixan Restaurant in Playa del Carmen

Come for the food, stay for the authentic Mexican vibes and the live music. La Perla Pixan is first and foremost a quality restaurant serving up some pre-Hispanic and traditional culinary goodness. To wash it down they have a wide selection of different mezcals and something you should at least try once in your life: pulque (just take our advice and don’t mix it). This inviting atmosphere is made even more enjoyable in the evenings when the restaurant plays host to diverse local musicians.

Open: Tues.-Sun., 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Music style: Eclectic

Live music: Nightly beginning at 9:00 p.m.

Address: 34 Norte between 5th and 10th


Caiman Tugurio

caiman-turgurio

Caiman Tugurio is one of those great places that for some reason manages to go unobserved except by the select many who have discovered this gem just steps away from 5th Avenue. All you have to do is step away from the hustle and enter into the world of Caiman Tugurio, where a laid-back atmosphere, unassuming and friendy people, and cool vibes await. Plus, they have good food and drinks to boot.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Eclectic

Live music: Daily mix of DJs and/or live music

Address: 24th Str. btw. 1th & 5th Ave.


Wah Wah Beach Bar

Live music at Wah Wah Beach Club in Playa del Carmen

Imagine the sound that an electric guitar makes from a 1980’s MTV music clip. Now close your eyes and imagine the Expat of Playa del Carmen community’s favorite place to rock out in the sand. Meet the Wah Wah Beachbar. With a small stage set up right next to the restaurant and a large beachfront section filled with tables and beach chairs, Wah Wah’s Beach Bar is a great option for those looking for some American-style grub in a tropical atmosphere. The music here is general rock and is a great accompaniment to the awesome views and inviting ambience at Wah Wah’s.

Open: Mon.-Wed. 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m / Thurs.-Sun. 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Eclectic (mostly rock)

Live music: Daily

Address: 2nd Street and Beach


The Public Space

The Public Space Playa del Carmen

This one is actually a bit outside of downtown, close to the entrance to Playacar. The Public Space is a hip, happening pub frequented more by locals than the tourist crowd (although it has a nice mix of both). They claim to be the place for music, art, and cocktails, but they sell themselves too short. That’s because it’s an awesome venue for live music, and because their food is just as rockin’ as the joint itself. An off-the-beaten-path gem.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Eclectic

Live music: Nightly beginning at 10:00 p.m.

Address: Paseo de Coba


Le Lotus Rouge

Musicians play Brazilian music at Le Lotus Rouge in Playa del Carmen

You won’t find anything more fantastical than this anywhere in Playa del Carmen. Once you walk in it almost feels like you dropped acid and wound up in some parallel, Alice in Wonderland-esque universe. That, of course, is a testament to the unbridled creativity and love for art that permeates every corner of Le Lotus Rouge. From live music to karaoke to theater and even the occasional burlesque show, Lotus Rouge is the place to go to stimulate your senses and realize that there is much more to Playa del Carmen than just beaches, booze, and shopping. #KeepPlayaWeird

Open: Tues.-Sun., 5:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Music style: Eclectic

Live music: Varies


La Drinkeria by Henry Miller

Mask wrestlers play a live set at La Drinkeria by Henry Miller in Playa del Carmen

It’s not too often that tourists journey outside of downtown Playa del Carmen and explore the vast urban territory on the other side of the highway. But, in fact, that’s where most of us live. Luckily, not only is Playa del Carmen growing in terms of its population growth, but also in terms of its cultural scene. That’s where La Drinkeria by Henry Miller comes in. Located east of the highway about a ten-minute drive from downtown, La Drinkería offers up an excellent selection of Mexican dishes and pairs them with some quality cocktails.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Rock / DJs

Live music: Thursday through Saturday


Zenzi Beach Bar

Guests listen to live music at Zenzi Beach Bar in Playa del Carmen

An icon of the Playa del Carmen nightlife scene and a great place to enjoy a stylish atmosphere overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Zenzi Beach Bar offers live music every day of the week. With an array of different styles, they pretty much have something for all musical taste buds. And speaking of taste buds, the food’s pretty tasty, too! There are two bands every night, the first at 5:00 p.m. and the second at 9:00 p.m. Here’s their schedule:

  • Mondays: Rock / Salsa (free salsa lessons)
  • Tuesdays: 60’s & 70’s
  • Wednesdays: Reggae
  • Thursday: Rock / Salsa (free salsa lessons)
  • Fridays: Rock / Blues / Soul
  • Saturdays: Rock / Salsa (free salsa lessons)
  • Sundays: 80’s & 90’s / BrazilianOpen: Mon.-Sun., 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Open: Mon. – Sun., 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music Style: Diverse

Live music: Daily

Address: Calle 10 Norte and Beach


Coco Maya Playa

A live DJ set at Coco Maya Beach in Playa del Carmen

Coco Maya Playa has a privileged beachfront property right off 12th street and serves up an eclectic mix of food and music. With Mayan-inspired architecture, a spacious venue for larger concerts, a different genre each night and frequent special events, Coco Maya Playa is a great place to kick off the sandals and sway to the groove.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Eclectic

Live music: Special events

Address: 12th Street and 1st Avenue


Playa del Carmen Bars for Electronic Music

Yes, we even found room to mention the ravers.

Technically speaking, this isn’t even live music.

But to avoid any kind of public lynchings from the ever so passionate electronic music scene here in Playa, we best mention at least a few.

Or four.

The flat out best places to go into a trance with some world-class DJs.

Diablito Cha Cha Cha

Retro decor at Diablito Cha Cha Cha in Playa del Carmen

Located on 12th street between the beach and Quinta Avenida, Diablito Cha Cha Cha somehow manages to combine sushi with 50’s retro with a stylish bar/nightclub atmosphere under a thatched roof. You can’t go wrong with this place, especially if you’re looking for a chic place that oozes a hipster vibe. With live music and DJs to boot, you’ll be glad you added Diabilito Cha Cha Cha to your mighty list of been there, done that. Did we mention their gourmet cocktails?

Open: Wed.-Sun., 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. (3:00 a.m. Thurs.-Sat.)

Music style: Electronic

Live music: Mostly DJs

Address: 12th Street & 1st Avenue


Gummo Art Bar

gummo-art-bar

Gummo Art Bar comes to replace La Culpa Gastro Cantina. While it’s sad to see the demise of La Culpa, one of the few places around 5th Avenue to hear something other than 24-hour techno, but it seems that the good people at Gummo Art Bar are dedicated to bearing the torch of providing a space for alternative culture in Playa del Carmen, even if it is mostly focused on, ehm, electronic music.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 6:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.

Music style: Electronic

Live music: Electronic

Address: 12th Str. btw. 5th & 10th Ave.


Club Cerouno

club-01

The newcomer on the block for the Playa del Carmen club scene, Club Cerouno has thrown down the party gauntlet for the new place to see and be seen in Playa del Carmen. This is definitely the hippest venue on the scene following the unfortunate closing of La Santanera, and one that will have you electro lovers going back for more.

Open: Thurs.-Sat., 11:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Music style: Electronic

Live music: Nightly DJs

Address: 5th Avenue & 8th Str. (no map available)


Patio 8

Live DJs Patio 8

Patio 8 is yet another new Playa del Carmen nightclub dedicated to lovers of all things electro. The ambience of this place impresses from the moment you see it as you approach the venue from the north side of 5th Avenue. Large, majestic, and open-air, Patio 8 welcomes you in and keeps you moving to the beat until the wee hours of the morning. Yes, Playa del Carmen may no longer be home to La Santanera and Blue Parrot, but both Patio 8 and Club 01 look to fill that void.

Open: Mon.-Sun., 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Music style: Electronic

Live music: Nightly DJs

Address: 5th Avenue & 8th Str. (no map available)

Did we forget anybody? We’ll keep this guide updated regularly, so no live music venue nor closing will go unnoticed. Have a suggestion for other topics you’d like to read or write about? Let us know! And it goes without question, if you have any questions about anything and everything Playa del Carmen, just call our specialized, omniscient travel gurus toll-free at 1-888-537-9797.

Warren Allan Warren is the content curator and social media manager at PlayaDelCarmen.com. His travels have taken him through Europe, the U.S., South America and now Playa. A foodie at heart and belly to prove it, Warren enjoys sharing the local culture and hidden treasures with you. Have questions? He’s your man.

Comment(2)

  1. I can’t believe you didn’t mention Karen’s Seafood and Steakhouse on Fifth Avenue between 2nd and 4th streets. It’s been there for more than 20 years. They have live music from 1-4 pm and 7-10 pm. Mostly Andean music, but some rock and reggae. It’s one of the pioneer establishments in Playa.

    1. Hi Jill,

      Many thanks for helping us improve our content. Actually, I always considered Karen’s more of an ambiance music type of place rather than a venue to see live shows. However, your point is fair and well taken, so we will be adding Karen’s to the list where she belongs! Thanks!

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