Bartending at “Hooray for Lovers” Party in Mahahual

I have been meaning to write this article for quite awhile, things have been real busy here lately, so today there is not much going on here in Mahahual, so here goes.

Last month I saw where there was going to be a “Hooray for Lovers” party to be held on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14, 2015 in Mahahual. The all night disco and party was being put on by Mahahual Music, and Preston Ernest. Preston Ernest used to work with us in Mahahual until he moved to Playa del Carmen and made it big as a DJ there. I saw where he was looking for some help the night of the party and was looking for someone to bartend and help out.

I saw that and got to thinking, I have bartended in the USA a lot. I have bartended Greek weddings, in a strip club, discos, steak houses, sports bars, and just about every other kind of venue, but I thought to myself I have never bartended in Mexico, and this might be my chance. So I contacted Preston and told him I would help out, and let me know what I can do.

Me, behind bar.

Me, behind bar.

I did not know what to expect, so Preston told me I would have have to work all night until 5am or 6am in the morning. I said no problem and he told me to be there at 5pm. It was being held on the malecon south of town in the “Luv Shack” between Luna de Plata and Cabanas del Doctor, so I could walk there.

It was the fifth year of this event, and I had been to one in the past here. The event had numerous DJs from Playa del Carmen, and other places in Mexico performing, and was sponsered by Mahahual Music and Salt Tequila. There were other sponsers like Tropical Dandy T-Shirts, Highway 420, Prana Juice Spa, and several others. Also several hotels in Mahahual were offering discounts to people wanting rooms for the weekend. The party and music was also continued all day on Sunday at the YaYa Beach Club on the malecon in Mahahual.

I got there at about 5pm and everything was being set up, bar and decorations, and the place looked nice. There was plenty of beer, liqour, and Salt Tequila on hand. Salt Tequila was the main sponser and they had hats and other giveaways for all the people attending. Salt Tequila is naturally favored 100% Agave Tequila, and there were three flavors on hand that night, chocolate, strawberry, and lemon. There also was vodka, rum, whiskey and other liqours in the bar, plus a huge container of iced down beer. I thought to myself, these guys are ready for a party.

DJ booth.

DJ booth.

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I had not bartended in awhile, and I looked around and noticed that I was the oldest guy in the building, so I was curious on how all this would play out. Things started pretty slow untill about 7 or 8pm and then people started to trickle in. I was ready, and the first person that walks up to me orders a lager in Spanish. Now I know in the USA there are a lot of different lagers, but in Mexico when somebody orders a lager, they mean a Dos Equis. And that night I learned, Dos Equis is the most popular beer here, and we sold out of Dos Equis, I could not get it cold fast enough.

The next guy that walked up to the bar had a beard, baseball cap, and he looked like an American. He ordered a beer and then reached into his pocket and pulled out a can of Copenhagen and put a dip in his mouth and spit into his other bottle. I then said to him, “You are from Arkansas, and you are a fireman aren’t you”? He asked me how I knew that, and I told him I had heard a man and his wife had bought a house here in New Mahahual and they were from Arkansas. I also told him only a southern boy would put in a dip of tobacco while drinking beer in a Mexican bar, so he had to be the guy I had heard about, and introduced myself.

As the night got going on, I had people ordering drinks in all kinds of different languages. I had Italians, Germans, Mexicans, and a bunch of other people from all over ordering drinks in their own language. There were a lot of backpackers, and hippie looking people there also, with piercings, tattoos, and kinds of different clothes and haircuts. I really felt old, and out of place, but I was having a good time and staying busy.

The music started and played on and on, non-stop without a break, and was still playing at 5am when I left and walked home. I noticed almost everyone from Mahahual was there, and a bunch of people and DJs from Playa del Carmen also. I stayed real busy behind the bar, and even after not bartending in awhile, it came all back to me, and I was opening beers, and pouring shots of tequila just like the days of my youth.

The party got to going real good and people were dancing everywhere, and I got to thinking, this looks like a rave to me. (I have never been to rave, just heard of them). People were not dancing with each other, like in my days, but just kind of jumping around and dancing by themselves. I looked and about every nationality you could think of, was on the dance floor in Mahahual on Valentines’s Day. The whole place was packed by midnight, and everyone was having a good time, and drinking lots of beer and tequila.

I kept adding beer to the beer cooler of ice, and it kept going out as quick as I could get it cold. There were several kinds of beer, but people kept shouting lager at me all night. A couple of snobby Europeans came up and tried to order wine, and cognac, but I just yelled at them beer and tequila over the music. This crowd liked beer and shots of tequila, and not much else. The Salt Tequila flavored shots were very popular, and the chocolate was the most popular.
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I have been to a lot of parties and discos in my life, but this was my first forte into a Mexican all night disco and rave party. At about 1am I had to take a bathroom break, and went around back to where the bathrooms are, and at the woman’s bathroom there were about 5 or 6 women lined up against the wall with their skirts hiked up and squatting, and relieving themselves there because the bathroom line was so long. It was a funny sight, all these beautiful women in nice dresses, squatting to pee, but it is Mexico, what can I say. I just walked by and did not say a word, and went to the men’s bathroom.

Well this party went on and on, and I must say I had a good time bartending and having this experience. Everybody I saw kept asking me, “What are you doing here behind the bar?” I just told them I was helping out and I had bartended in the past. Everybody was having a good time, they kept changing DJs, and the music did not stop once. My hands were almost frozen by the end of the night because of all the digging in the beer cooler I had to do and open cold beers.

The party died down at about 4am and the crowd started to thin out, but some people were still going strong. The bar must have went though about 20 cases of beer, and numerous bottles of Salt Tequila. I left the party at about 5am and walked home tired and exhausted after bartending for 12 hours, but I had a good time, made some good tips, and got to experience a Mexican disco party from the other side of the bar for once. I tell you it was an unique experience. If you are a serious bartender and you have never bartended a Mexican disco, or rave, you are missing out, totally different from anything you will experience in the USA.

The night was a huge success, and I heard the party lasted long after I left and even continued all day and night Sunday at the YaYa Beach Club. I tell you one thing Mexican really know how to party. I have heard of parties here lasting 2 or 3 days non stop. I have even gone to a party on Friday night, went home slept, and came back next afternoon, and the party was still going on.

As long as I live, I will always remember the night I bartended an all night Mexican disco and DJ party in Mahauhual on Valentine’s Day. Mahahual Music, Preston Ernest and his crew really know how to throw a party.

Preston Ernest and Roberto Prado who planned and ran the party.

Preston Ernest and Roberto Prado who planned and ran the party.

Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

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