Nick’s Bar

At least for those of us privileged with birth in a developed nation, there’s very little that making an effort to enjoy life can’t fix. That’s why when I was having a bit of a rough week after saying a final goodbye to a friend (still missing ya JT), I happily accepted an invitation from Dave, a writing client and overall great guy, to spend an afternoon tooling around town on one of his ATVs.

Having taken an ATV tour early in my Vallarta tenure, I already knew that revving a four-wheeler through the streets of the city was a great way to see the sights in this seaside Shangri-la, but this time around we’d be taking the trail up into the foothills of the Sierra Madre for scenic views, a few dirt donuts, and a stop at Nick’s Bar, a watering hole/event venue hidden in the heights.

The Vibes: I arrived at Dave’s place that afternoon wearing my best beach clothes, ready to rip up a rocky road and make a new load of laundry along the way. Time was made in the day’s agenda to check out some fantastic finishes in college football, then I forced a helmet down atop my mop of multicolored locs and giddily took to the streets of Fluvial for an afternoon of acceleration and adventure.

We got out onto the main roads and I got a chance to gun it down the Libramiento, topping 60kph (about 40 freedom units for you returning Yanks) according to the speedometer on the Italika 250. I took immense pleasure in blowing by taxis and the little toy cars instantly identifiable as Uber vehicles as the engine roared off the walls of the long tunnel. Riding one of mankind’s most enjoyable diversions through one of its’ most determined innovations, I felt engaged with a moment in time on a uniquely human level.

The Vices: Rolling through the cobblestone streets of Paso Ancho on the ATV was a natural transition to the roughness of the mountain trail. We weaved past the ditches created by the torrential rainfall of the past couple of weeks and splashed through small streams until the path led to the parking lot of Nick’s, which is home to several private party spaces featuring natural pools fed by the river as it cascades down toward the city.

There’s even a paintball battlefield onsite, which will certainly become useful for my other jobs as chief social coordinator, lead lifestyle scout, and job title inventor.

All this I took in over a cold Corona while seated at the bar, the customer-accessible Bluetooth speaker blasting the Chili Peppers as the ostensible business meeting unfolded. A few songs in, a small tour group arrived on their ATVs, visitors from the north who had also made all the right decisions that day. We chatted for a bit as another group kicked up dust in the parking lot with their visit, these arriving in a large van and prepared to split into teams and shoot each other.

Eventually I’d gone through as many bottles as I thought was wise, and as we started to saddle up to make our way back down to sea level I was given a sobriety test by the barkeep, which is totally a thing that happens because no one lies on the Internet. Overall, it was one of the better Saturdays I’ve had this year…and in this line of work, that’s saying something.

The Verdict: As a venue for special occasions–even if that occasion is just the weekend–Nick’s presents a compelling package of amenities. Secluded swimming holes, brews so cold I literally had to chip ice off the outside, and what has to be the only paintball course within half an hour of town…I only wish I had been more prepared to experience all it had to offer, but hey, you can’t plan for everything and I was having more than my share of good times anyway.

In any event, it’s a certainty that I’ll be back for one reason or another. Maybe I’ll catch you there.
Info: Av. Vallejo #120, Col. Paso Ancho.

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AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.