Carrillo Puerto 8158, Baja
Pasaje Rodríguez totally changed my preconceptions of Tijuana about a year and a half ago, when I accidentally discovered the bustling arts-and-culture alleyway while searching for tacos one Friday night with Reader foodie Ian Pike. Built in the ’50s as a commercial arcade vending souvenirs to tourists, Pasaje Rodríguez was relaunched three years ago following nearly a decade of abandonment.
Now, every first Friday, you can browse 18 storefronts-gone-modern art gallery, bookstore, café, bike shop, or wine bar during the monthly art walk. During off days, you can head down the inconspicuous passage (located next to Caliente casino between Third and Fourth streets on the west side of Revolución), look for the crowd hanging out in front of Mamut Brewery Co., and strike up conversation with the alleyway’s resident artists, teachers, musicians, and regulars over a craft beer brewed in a space not much bigger than a one-car garage.
Taking their name from the Spanish word for wooly mammoth (and a corresponding label designed by local artists Michael Escalante and Teak), Mamut operates under the premise that craft beer should be available to everybody — an especially meaningful gesture in a country that is dominated by a duopoly of less-than-whelming foreign beer conglomerates. As such, the mom-and-pop brewery offers all of their beers at 15 pesos (roughly $1.18 USD) a bottle, or nearly half of what you’ll pay for a Tecate at most Revolución party bars. Though the operation relies on White Labs yeast and U.S. hops and barley, the soul and focus of Mamut is 100 percent local, which makes all the more sense when Sandra Flores — who runs the place with husband Juan Quezada Cerpa — explains, “The mammoth was the first resident of Baja.”
Only a few months into business, Mamut offers amber, brown, dry stout, American pale, and India pale ales, along with dry-hopping for an extra-floral nose. And you know what? They’re very good. Show up with a friend or two and split a 32-ounce bottle for 30 pesos ($2.36, seriously) or grab a big bottle in a gift bag to take home for 50 pesos (includes glass-return charge).
Choose from a new menu of hamburgers, bratwurst, wings, grilled chicken breast, and other beer-friendly fare, and you could easily pass your whole day here. Of course, you wouldn’t be the first to find yourself caught in Mamut’s intoxicating, aromatic tar pits.
- Attire: Ecstatic expat
- Hours: MON-THUR, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; FRI-SAT, 10 a.m.–1 a.M.; closed sunday
- Happy: always
- Price: ~$1.18 to $3.90 craft beers
- Food: Burgers, brats, wings
- Capacity: ~10 inside, 30 outside