Requiem for Bar El Bufete

Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

TYT Original Reporting

By Stewart Mandy

MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – Bar El Bufete (“The Firm” – as in law firm) was founded in 1932, and for over 80 years stood on the corner of Calle 62 and Calle 65 in the center of Mérida, a silent witness to history.

It opened during the golden age of cantinas in the city, under its original owner, Antonio Vera Lixa. Ownership passed to Antonio Mezquita Valencia, known to all as “el Calvo” (the “bald one”), who became the most famous proprietor of the bar, owning it for almost 50 years until his death in 2007, when his son, also Antonio, took the helm.

Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Throughout its long history, El Bufete remained a traditional cantina; a unique place in the center of the Yucatán capital, a place where the customers were friends, and where at any time of the day, you could find someone you knew; all the more remarkable given the fact it was only a block from the Plaza Grande.

Its location near banks, government offices, newspapers and other businesses gave it a varied clientele, who appreciated the ice cold beer, mixed drinks, botanas, and friendly service. It was visited by celebrities such as actor Pedro Infante Torrentera, and well known reporters David Dominguez and Manuel Escalante, but remained a place for the people.

Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

It held a place in my own affections, since coincidentally it was the first cantina I visited during one of my early sojourns in Mérida. A number of years later, as a resident of the white city, I became a ‘regular’, spending many enjoyable hours in its unique ‘classic’ atmosphere.

Beer and botanas at Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Beer and botanas at Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

On February 4, 2015, it all came to an end, when, following a dispute between the old owners and new owners of the building, it was unexpectedly forced to close, and itself became part of history. It was a special place, and its many loyal customers will miss it. Hasta luego, Bar El Bufete.

Botanas at Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Another hard day at “The Firm” (Photo: Stewart Mandy)

Bar El Bufete was one of the cantinas featured in our September article “The Ultimate Guide to Mérida’s Cantinas”.

Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Bar El Bufete (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Another busy afternoon at the "Firm" (Photo: Stewart Mandy)
Another busy afternoon  (Photo: Stewart Mandy)












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Stewart Mandy thumbnailBorn in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years. His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go.

From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.

In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (, “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.He can be contacted by email at or

You can join him on Facebook at, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at or his blog at