Vibes & Vices: Devil’s Bar Rio Cuale

The original Devil’s Bar on the seaside strollway known as the Malecón is a great place to enjoy a sunset and a Cielo Rojo, but the sunny little open air bartop had one significant limitation: approximately 5 seats in the entire establishment. That’s right, unless you were lucky enough to spy an empty barstool on a walk-by, you were…um, simply out of luck.

Enter Devil’s Bar Rio Cuale. Perched on Isla Cuale, the strip of land that unofficially divides the Centro and Old Town districts, this expansive new venue finally gives the bar’s concept room to breathe… and includes restrooms, which is always nice.

The Vibes: The exterior deck at this new Devil’s Bar outpost offers one of the more picturesque views in this rapidly developing concrete jungle.

Situated directly on the tributary as it opens into the Banderas Bay, it provides prime perspective for people-watching as tourists traverse the Malecón’s bridge segment as well as an ocean view that invites guests to consider just how fortunate they are to find themselves in this sunny city by the sea.

The interior features a large dining area with plenty of room for serving up a full menu of pub munchies including fresh fish tacos and fried jalapeño poppers, as well as enough space for people like me who enjoy these treats at an above-average level. There is even live music from local bands featured regularly, or at least whenever the residents of a nearby condo see fit not to phone in the fuzz at 4pm on a Monday. Yeah, I said it. Maybe come down and have a drink instead, you’ll nap even better afterwards.

The Vices: The new Devil’s Bar sits at the bottom of a stairway leading down from the Rio Cuale overpass, so the location of the establishment can be a less than intuitive find for a first time visitor. However, the place is worth seeking out for the pizza alone.

This pizza is the clear result of meticulous fine-tuning, the wood- fired oven creating a crust that strides that rare territory between crispy and chewy along with an ample application of a flavorful house made tomato sauce. The toppings are generous, and many, including the secret-recipe sausage, are made in the kitchen.

I feel confident in saying it’s the best damn pizza I’ve had during my 3 years living in PV, although I fully expect to be challenged on that. Your move, pie guys.

Devil’s Bar Rio Cuale also distinguishes itself among area bars by incorporating time-tested brew house games such as ping-pong and darts, because there are few things more entertaining than watching socially-enhanced leisure drinkers flail wildly at fast-moving objects and hurl sharp objects through the air and this has been proven over generations.

The Verdict: Where the original Devil’s Bar was a fun little pitstop on the Malecon, the new location is a destination in and of itself. Devil’s Bar Rio Cuale is essentially a big-budget remake of the original, placing the diverse signature drink menu along with the colorful cast of staff and regulars in a bold new vision. Maybe I’ll catch you there.

AJ Freeman on Email
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.