A hip hangout in the capital
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
SAN JUAN — There’s no sign. And you wouldn’t even notice it if you walked by during the day. But after dark, all roads lead to La Factoria, a speakeasy-style bar that’s become one of Old San Juan’s hottest hipster hangouts.
Hidden in plain sight at the intersection of Calle San Sebastian, Calle San Jose, and contemporary cool, the two-year-old tavern is a go-to for cocktails created with house-made ingredients and served with Puerto Rican flair.
Grab a seat at the bar and order a Lavender Mule (Ketel One, homemade ginger beer and lavender syrup, lemon juice) or the Spiced Rum Old-Fashioned (Don Q Gran Anejo, dry spice syrup and house-crafted bitters) as you admire the eclectically decorated space festively illuminated with strings of lights, its low windows flung open to the cobblestoned street.
But when its time for your second beverage (and we know you’ll want one), don’t linger. Migrate instead to a “secret” drinkery, accessed through an orange wooden door behind the bar.
Back here, it’s an intimate candlelit scene, with distressed walls embellished with sparkling mirrors and colorful local art and a menu featuring wine-based cocktails, none more than $11 a pop.
But wait, there’s more! La Factoria is actually a labyrinth of laidback cool, with two larger rooms in the rear that heave with dancers to deejay-spun salsa and pop on the weekends.
It’s a fashionable fiesta that no self-respecting San Juanero would dare miss but few visitors, unless they have a clued-in concierge or trendy contacts, even know exists. But, as they say, once you go, you know.
And now you do.