Mexico's Condesa and Roma neighborhoods are trending. // © 2018 Mindy Poder
Feature image (above): Visitors can grab a bite at Mercado Roma, in the Roma neighborhood. // © 2018 Mindy Poder
The word “hipster” these days has become synonymous with a new type of luxury — one where phrases like “small batch,” “craft” and “upcycled” are turn-ons, and anything with a vintage vibe is considered haute. Hipsters seeking this updated version of luxury need to look no further than Mexico City’s Condesa and Roma neighborhoods.
Long gone are the days of dingy Condesa and Roma, with sketchy pasts like that of New York City’s East Village circa 1989, or Brooklyn’s Williamsburg around 2000. The two adjacent neighborhoods are now havens for the bourgeois and the perpetually chic, where galleries, coffee shops and boutique hotels have pushed out the grit and grime.
Where to Eat and Drink
The first stop on any itinerary, for both a dose of flavors and a local vibe, should be Mercado Roma, in the Roma neighborhood. Part gourmet food hall, part collaborative workspace, part coffee shop and part rooftop beer garden, it’s the perfect spot for fresh cheese, Serrano ham, tacos, tortas, chocolate and more.
For fresh oysters and an industrial-chic vibe, visit La Docena Oyster Bar & Grill. It is a must for foodies and a major hub for millennials. In fact, the restaurant is so popular that chef Tomas Bermudez is opening a second location in the city’s posh Polanco neighborhood later this year.
By night, the vibe heats up at Poe, a poorly kept secret of a speakeasy, but still very much worth a visit. A dark, moody interior is decorated with illuminated Edgar Allen Poe quotes. Entry times are kept secret, but once inside, visitors are treated to seductive cocktails and live DJs.
What to Do
Remnants of the neighborhoods’ checkered pasts are scrawled across the streets in the form of gorgeous, eye-popping murals. Art is very much an integral part of Condesa and Roma’s identities. As such, there are several art galleries worth noting.Area Mexico is an art gallery that hosts exhibitions for both Mexican and foreign artists, with works that celebrate Latin American graphics.
Artists are invited to share their experience through workshops and courses, as well, highlighting both traditional and digital techniques.
House of Gaga is the brainchild of Fernando Mesta and Jose Rojas, who opened the gallery to celebrate artists who emerged in the 21st century. Its vision is to represent both local and international artists, with an open and changing structure that allows for artistic experimentation. The duo has also opened a second location in Los Angeles.
Where to Stay
One of the first hotels to open in Condesa, Grupo Habita’s Condesa DF is a design-forward hotel located within a neoclassical French-style building from 1928. Inside the completely remodeled structure is a modernist, minimalist vibe, with clean rooms, a Mexican-French fusion restaurant, a sushi bar and a lounge area complete with a DJ and spaces to work.
Another option for creative types is La Valise Mexico City in Roma (it also has locations in Tulum and San Miguel de Allende). The small, contemporary hotel is impeccably decorated and designed, blending Mexican and European accents.
On the Radar
Another upcoming hipster area of Mexico City is the Juarez neighborhood, according to Zachary Rabinor, CEO of Journey Mexico.
“There are new galleries, such as Galeria Breve and Galeria Karen Huber, as well as cool bars that offer special craft cocktails, such as Hotel Casa Awolly; the Casa Fusion concept house for unique fashion and objets d’art; the Mucho Mundo Chocolate Museo; and more,” he said. “For hotels, there is Stara Hamburgo, with its basic rooms yet art-filled public spaces and lively rooftop bar.”