Illegal drinking is on the rise as Tijuana’s die-hard partiers take to tippling into the wee hours at clandestine booze pads. Private homes are opening their doors to all-night revelers for a profit, skirting the city’s recently enacted drinking-establishment laws that require the closing of most bars by 2:00 a.m. and all by 3:00.
The deal is, when the legit joints close for the evening, one can get an invite to a prívate home operating as an after-hours speakeasy. The "house bars" are run like a regular bar, selling all manner of alcoholic beverages, only they have a cover charge of about 30 to 80 pesos (3 to 8 dollars)
The illegitimate joints have bouncers who collect the door fees and divert any curious cops who suspect illicit activity. The bouncers reportedly have just finished up their legit gig at a bar in the tourist areas.
City authorities say that not only are the house bars illegal, but they are dangerous because they have no emergency exits and no commitment to health regulations. Also, they attract minors, who enter pretty much at will.
Legit-bar owners are miffed that businessmen operating outside the law are pocketing revenue that they otherwise would be earning. Yet, the licensed-bar owners are not calling for a rescission of the after-hours prohibitions for the city’s bars.
According to Andres Mendez, coordinator for Ceturmex, a tourism business guild, what is needed are more inspectors to bust the clandestine party pads. Right now there are 30 inspectors for the thousands of food and beverage establishments that exist in Tijuana.