La Factoria

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148 Calle San Sebastián, San Juan 00901

By Alicia Kennedy

When Leslie Cofresí and Roberto Berdecia opened La Factoría in 2013, they charted a new course for hospitality in San Juan. The approachable yet smart cocktail menu drew both the Old San Juan tourist crowd and serious drinkers to the low-lit, artfully dilapidated space.

They do an especially excellent job of showing off local rums Don Q and Ron del Barrilito in drinks such as the Iggy Popsicle and Peligroso, likely shaken up for you by someone who has the bar’s logo prominently tattooed on his forearm.

In the wake of La Factoría’s success, the city’s restaurants have started taking their bar programmes seriously and more cocktail spots have been popping up. La Factoría itself has expanded to now include four parts: the main area, wine-focused Vino, dancey Shing-a-Ling, and speakeasy El Final.

Each has a house cocktail list and vibe of its own, while remaining true to the laid-back essence that makes this a place where you can spend six hours without checking your phone. Here, life becomes all about whether you want to dance to live salsa or do another shot of Barrilito with the bartender. The best part is, you can do both.