Hussong’s Cantina is not just your average bar in Baja, California. It stands out from all of the other bars in downtown Ensenada practically as a historical landmark. Hussong’s Cantina was established in 1892 and is purportedly the site where the Margarita was created! Just down the street from a commercialized drinking spot Papas and Beer, Hussong’s offers patrons a more subdued and traditional drinking experience. In fact, famous celebrities have visited the cantina including John Wayne. Hussong’s serves both as an authentic and historical location in Ensenada with an incredible history of its foundation.
It was established by John Hussong; a German immigrant to the United States, who originally traversed to Ensenada in search of gold but ended up with so much more. One day in Baja, California, John’s friend was injured during an expedition. As John brought his friend to a local place in Ensenda called Miegg’s Bar to recover, drama and life altering events quickly ensued. A domestic dispute involving Miegg, the owner of the bar, and his wife erupted when Miegg attacked her with an axe. Miegg was sent to jail while his wife left for California all the while John Hussong and his friend remained in Ensenda. When Miegg returned from jail, he fled after his wife and asked John to watch the bar.
John maintained control of the bar for a year, but the couple never returned so he bought the building across the street and in time created Hussong’s Catina. The cantina remains in the same building today. A mix up of fate brought this fascinating and rich bar into existence and I was sure to not miss out on experiencing Hussong’s for myself.
As I walked into the famous bar, I could not help but notice the multitude of people who came to take pictures outside of the cantina. The run-down appearance on the outside of the bar, however, should not discourage individuals from entering inside. When I entered the cantina, a full blown mariachi band was playing around a family drinking Tecate beers. One member in the group of musicians was even playing the trumpet. A man was shining a patron’s shoe as he sat down at a table.
I ordered one of the famous margaritas and sat at the counter taking in the whole scene. Sawdust was scattered across the floorboards and curious artifacts adorned the building’s walls. A cabinet with money from all over the world displayed behind a large counter and a head of a deer embellished a different wall. The bar also had numerous pictures from the past as well as a menu showcasing the most popular drinks. The history of Hussong’s Cantina was pervasive throughout the atmosphere. The prices for drinks were not too bad, but they were not the best deals around either. However, the service was quality and the cold margaritas were impeccable.
When you find yourself in Ensenada, it is worth the short trip to Hussong’s Cantina. Order a margarita from the place where many believe it was invented, take a break from that hot Baja California sun, and drink up the rich history.
Hussong’s Cantina is located on: Ruiz 113 Zona Centro, 22800 Ensenada Municipality, Baja California, Mexico